Sunday, 20 August 2017 ehdf

Technology Is Transforming Health Care in the UAE

2016 saw GCC governments focusing on the healthcare sector with several initiatives that will fulfill their long and short term goals. There was a clear move towards strengthening the system which also saw the entry and consolidation of various global and local entities within the private sector who contribute in many areas including new hospitals, laboratories, etc. Simultaneously, the mandatory health insurance is propelling growth within the healthcare market.

Technology and Healthcare

Technology plays an important role in healthcare, and will impact the role of decision making for regulators as well as healthcare providers. With digitization of data, regulators are able to plan for the future while providers can streamline processes and build on their research and analytics. While there are significant budgets allocated for healthcare in the region, each country is also looking at cutting costs by moving to a Hosted Private Cloud platform.

Last year, many healthcare customers made huge investments and reaped the benefits of Cloud Infrastructure Services. There is a shift towards moving into the digital world and healthcare organizations are not far behind with large amounts of data collection. Simultaneously, with huge numbers and the sharing of large data files, Cloud provides the convenience and is a major contributor to minimize costs while boosting efficiency. At the same time, the flexibility and agility that the solution provides is also a key reason for Cloud adoption within the sector.

Key challenges for CIOs

With shrinking budgets, lack of skilled staff, rising need for data security, etc., healthcare CIOs are faced with the daunting task of implementing and managing a strong and robust IT infrastructure. Some of the key challenges and the ways to overcome them include:

Cyber Security: Considering the value of data contained in patient health records, healthcare is arguably the industry that stands to lose the most from a weak cybersecurity infrastructure. CIOs must invest in cyber security services or work with a Managed Security Services provider to ensure protection of critical data.

IT Infrastructure Optimization: With nearly every department within the healthcare sector now being enabled by advanced technologies, it is clear that while the expenses have been rising, CIOs must be in a strong position to maximize these spends. The new electronic health records must serve the supply chain which includes doctors, laboratories, pharmacies, insurance, etc. to be connected. Simultaneously, it must encourage patients to maximize access to information by using the available portals. Even billing systems which are managed electronically can be utilized to track expenses and streamline them for greater ROI.

Data Management: Data is critical, but knowing how to collect and analyze it has been a constant struggle for CIOs. Planning and implementing the right data management and analytics can have a positive impact on cost. It must be capable of providing strong business intelligence and a higher degree of clinical results.

Skills Shortage: Healthcare continues to digitize, but IT talent hasn’t kept pace. And with growing and emerging demands, IT leaders are strapped to find employees with the right skills and know-how. We suggest working with a Managed Services Provider and benefit from highly skilled resources.

Services and solutions

With the growth in the healthcare sector, most governments, regulatory boards, providers and patients are now reaping the benefits of advanced technology in patient care and record keeping. Large amounts of data storage and distribution, centralized data storage with anywhere, anytime information availability, and, high security, flexibility and scalable solutions are some of areas that the healthcare sector should look at. Some services and solutions the sector can look at include:

  • Co-location services allow healthcare organizations to move their critical IT infrastructure to data secured centres.
  • With Managed Co-location services, healthcare entities can opt for a mixed environment where specific services such as Backup, Security, Databases, and Monitoring are managed by the services provider, while they can retain the management of their hosted infrastructure and business applications.
  • Managed Hosting offers the convenience of leasing dedicated servers along with all the required hardware and software. More importantly, it is completely managed by the services provider.
  • Cloud Hosting frees the IT staff to focus on the clinical experience and patient care. It offers a critical building block for information-driven, patient-centered healthcare. By providing the flexibility and scalability that enables healthcare organizations to be more nimble in the face of constant change, Cloud Infrastructure Services can help speed and ease the transformation as other newer technologies are adopted.
  • Gathering, storing, analyzing and having patient data available at all times is important. This is where Disaster Recovery services come to play.
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