Top 6 innovations disrupting the region's healthcare space 
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Top 6 innovations disrupting the region’s healthcare space 

Top 6 innovations disrupting the region’s healthcare space 

Dr Osama Alswailem, chief information officer at King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre shares some recent trends

Divsha Bhat

What new innovations is driving the healthcare industry in the Middle East? Share some recent trends.
The healthcare industry in the Middle East is experiencing a wave of innovation driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its emerging technologies:
1. Virtual health: the use of conferencing and information technologies to provide remote medical services, health education and all healthcare related services. It enables patients to consult with doctors online, receive virtual medical advice, monitor their health status; clinicians the ability to leverage organisational services, medical education and access to employee services all remotely.
2. Artificial intelligence (AI): AI is used in the Middle East healthcare industry to improve diagnosis and treatment, reduce medical errors, and enhance the patient experience. AI-powered chatbots, robotic surgery, and predictive analytics have become the most common applications.
3. Wearables and IoMT (Internet of Medical Thing): It can track vital signs, monitor patient movements, and send alerts to healthcare providers when necessary. They are used in patient care, chronic disease management, and remote patient monitoring.
4. Blockchain: The use of blockchain technology is growing in the Middle East healthcare industry, particularly in medical record, wellness and supply chain management.
5. 3D printing: It is used in the Middle East to produce custom prosthetics, dental implants, and surgical tools. It reduces costs and time to build and allows for personalised treatment.
6. Personalised medicine: Healthcare providers in the Middle East increasingly use genetic testing and other technologies to develop customised treatment plans for patients.

How has the role of a CIO changed over the years in the healthcare industry?
Not only has the role changed but the pandemic has redefined the title from chief information officer (CIO) to a digital officer. Healthcare organisations now increasingly rely on data-driven decision-making, and CIOs have moved from strategic and operational planning to driving applied innovation in areas such as population health management, virtual health, blockchain and AI.

They are now relied on more to ensure data security and privacy, comply with evolving regulatory requirements around the use of emerging technology while collaborating with other stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem, such as researchers, care-givers while maintaining interoperability throughout.

How have you implemented some of the emerging technologies at King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre? Share some examples of technologies presented at Leap.
At KFSH&RC, we have been utilising innovative AI-driven systems to optimise operations and empower staff to manage and cater to patient needs efficiently. The AI systems were created to improve resource management, decrease patient wait times, and promote operation room efficiency though a unified command center. We also use a virtual reality programme to aid children with autism in developing essential life skills. Additionally, we are exploring a Metaverse adoption to remove healthcare walls & borders and enhance staff training and blockchain application as a hospital wellness and reward system for KFSH&RC’s patients and staff.

At Leap23, we showcased a medical 3D printer that can be used for clinical and research purposes, the technology we use at KFSH&RRC allows the specialist to pass a scan of the limb that needs replacement or orthotics; stores data in a computer that is transferred directly to an auto control and manufacturing device, making a three-dimensional mold resembling the prosthesis or orthotic needed.

What new innovations can we look forward to from KFSH&RC?
We will continue to expand on adapting AI and emerging technologies as tools for supporting evidence-based medicine and their respective applications in various sectors while collaborating with innovation partners to help develop and share best practices of safe and cutting-edge technologies.

What are your top priorities for the year ahead?
For this year, we will focus on advancing smart methods to improve the quality and timeliness of care and develop strategic and seamless integration with the digital ecosystem to use extended intelligence and extended reality to enhance patient and staff experience. Our goal is to bring technologies that will drive the healthcare sector forward under the three main pillars: operational excellence, patient experience, and quality of care.

Read: Five ways how healthcare technology is influencing modern medical care

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