Skip to main content
Skip to main navigation
Skip to footer

by Michael Schelper
Published on October 8, 2017

In an interview with Oxford Business Group, Michael Schelper, General Manager, Cerner Middle East talks about how technology is revolutionizing health care.

To what extent is digitization improving the provision of health care services in the UAE?
: If you look at the region, the UAE is leading the way in digitization of the health care space. The majority of institutions already have pretty effective systems in place and are working to expand them even further. For most institutions, establishing an administrative system that centralized all medical records on one database was the first step, and now many are branching out to encompass other specialties and processes, all the while ensuring that these new systems are seamlessly integrated and that information can flow unencumbered between each.

On a practical level, this frees up time for care providers and clinical practitioners, allowing them to focus on treating patients and helping them live a healthier lifestyle. Additionally, if a nurse or doctor is no longer required to manually collect and input patient vital signs, it allows them to concentrate more on delivering care to their patients.

The National Unified Medical Record (NUMR) that is being implemented in Dubai will expand this central database function, so that it can operate on a nationwide basis. This will make it easier for information to be shared not just within a single institution, but also with all institutions across the UAE. For instance, your general practitioner will be able to easily share information with a specialist at a hospital, who will then be able to share information with your physiotherapist – all without having to physically send the information to the other person. Streamlining processes in this way will allow health care providers to focus on patient needs.

How are health-focused applications and technologies facilitating better health care?
: There are many health applications, with a high number of them designed for the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases that are common in the region, such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension and asthma. More and more diabetes patients, for example, have a tracker at home that monitors their blood sugar levels and sends reports to doctors, allowing practitioners to proactively manage a patient’s health and provide guidance. While pilot programs like this have only been trialed in a few hospitals, they have shown positive results, so it is likely that similar programs will be rolled out more extensively across the country in the near future. Once NUMR is in place it will be easier to implement large-scale, population-wide initiatives for health management.

What role does the government play in promoting the adoption of new and innovative technologies in the health care sector?
The UAE, and by extension Dubai, has the potential to leapfrog many more-developed countries in the health care space, mostly as a result of the proactive initiatives currently being pushed by the country’s leadership. Already, public institutions such as Abu Dhabi Health Services Company are utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) in the oncology space, as it proved to be tremendously accurate in making diagnoses when trialed in other countries. AI is becoming increasingly sophisticated in diagnosing and prescribing treatments for diseases, allowing doctors to focus less on data collection and more on preventative care, as well as the coaching and guiding of their patients. Not only do such technologies free up time for practitioners, but they also promote knowledge sharing and more standardized recommendations and feedback, especially for routine ailments like the common cold. Essentially, it takes human error out of the treatment equation.

Technological advancements allow for greater data collection to take place before the patient even arrives at a medical facility. For example, there is a special type of clothing already being used, which can monitor blood pressure, temperature and other vital signs of the individual wearing it, with that information sent straight to primary care providers.

The UAE is committed to using technology to better the lives of its people. The country’s strategy of creating connected, digitized hospitals – alongside smart data-sharing initiatives – shows that the UAE is embracing innovative solutions.

Making integrated student health available to all

by Bakr Saadoon Ismail
September 18, 2018
Regular health check-ups as a child can have a positive impact as they grow into adults, as potential conditions can be spotted in their early years. Collecting the data for the whole of Abu Dhabi could prove a challenge, which is why we at SEHA worked with Cerner to implement a coordinated solution.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Vision 2030 represents a structural shift in the Saudi healthcare sector

by Alaa Adel
September 6, 2018
Healthcare is one of the main focus areas of the ambitious Saudi Vision 2030 and National Transformation Program 2020 (NTP) that seek to improve the quality of healthcare services and facilities across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The double-edged sword of AI and machine learning on healthcare data security

by Jim Massey
August 21, 2018
The UAE government is leading the way in establishing the necessary integrated and secure data ecosystem to expedite the implementation of future technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare, which use data from many disparate sources to produce unprecedented services that will transform all aspects of people's wellness and everyday life.

Re-imagining medicine

by Michael Pomerance
August 8, 2018
In many ways, you can judge the state of a civilization by the condition of its health care. A country’s ability to run or support an effective health care system, whether public or private, reflects not only on its technology, but its ability to provide a good quality of life for its citizens. However, as populations swell, the pressure on health care systems increases. Fortunately, technology is also developing quickly, and with it, Cerner has found a way to re-invent its approach to health care.