UAE prime for telehealth development

HIMSS Middle East Integrated Health Innovations Conference
By Dillan Yogendra
10:02 AM

Leading UK authority Professor George Crooks, medical director for NHS 24, Scotland's health information and self care advice service, will speak on the topic of aligning the continuum of care and global best practice in telehealth, using NHS 24 as an example, and drawing parallels with the UAE.

The presentation, on day one of the two-day Dubai Health Authority, Health Authority - Abu Dhabi, SEHA and Dubai Healthcare City supported event, will invite delegates to rethink how they can reconfigure and deliver future healthcare services, with the role of technology a key driver.

The popularity of video and voice services among UAE users is significantly higher than the world average, with the report putting this at up to 30% more than other global nations. Similarly, smart phone ownership in the UAE has outstripped the global average by 30% according to the results of a survey, with 78% of UAE residents owning a device compared with the global average of just 42%.

"Online and smart phone or android connectivity has the power to transform the way that healthcare providers and patients interact, and when you look at somewhere like the UAE, which is similar to Scotland with its geographic diversity from high density urban hubs to remote communities and a large offshore populations, the country is primed for telehealth strategy development," said H. Stephen Lieber, CEO of HIMSS.

Professor Crooks' presentation will explore the different digital channels that deliver healthcare services to patients, families and carers, as Scotland's telehealth and telecare services continue to expand towards a 2020 goal of a fully integrated health and social care system with a focus on anticipation, prevention and supported self management.

"Scotland, which has been a test bed for telehealth innovation since 2006, currently has approximately 180,000 people signed up to its telecare services, delivered through 32 local partnerships. It has been estimated that while the cost to the government has been around £10 million worth of funding, the indicative gross benefits are valued at an impressive £48 million (as at March 2010)," said Professor Crooks.

The NHS 24 programme also aims to position the country as a leader in research development, prototyping and the at scale delivery of the latest telehealth and telecare services, as well as creating new business and employment opportunities.

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