Tap IT to help cut costs and improve healthcare

DUBAI - Information Technology (IT) has a great potential to help control costs and improve medical care in the Middle East region, but the use of IT to improve healthcare delivery requires thoughtful monitoring and continued analysis, noted Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Education and Chancellor of UAE University.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 9 Apr 2005, 10:40 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:59 PM

Addressing the participants at the Second Middle East Conference on Healthcare Informatics 'MECHCI 2005' which opened at the Dubai Knowledge Village, Shaikh Nahyan pointed out that the development and implementation of electronic health records, availability of electrical clinical decision support, and the building of other electronic health information infrastructures can all contribute to a more efficient and effective healthcare system in the region.

However, despite the great achievements in this sector so far, there were still important challenges ahead in promoting and implementing Healthcare Informatics throughout the medical world.

'Success requires major organisational changes. It requires new thinking and innovative ways of operating by hospitals and physicians. It also requires the careful monitoring of results and attitudes,' he said.

He stressed the need for active partnerships between hospitals, physicians, IT developers and suppliers, and Colleges and Universities so that they can work together to build the necessary infrastructure, set the industry standards, and provide the training and research required for success.

Inauguratedon Saturdayby Shaikh Nahyan, the two-day event is being organised by the UAE University and Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSE) with the support of the Department of Health and Medical Services, Dubai (Dohms), the World Health Organisation (WHO), Ministry of Health, Dubai Healthcare City, University of Bath, Knowledge Village, Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), Zayed University (ZU), International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA), British Council, Harvard Medical School, Dubai Centre and British University in Dubai.

Also present at the inaugural session were Dr Hadef Bin Jouaan Al Daheri, Vice-Chancellor of the UAE University, John Hawkins, British Consul-General, and Iain Ledingham, Professor Emeritus of Medical Education, Honorary Consultant, Middle East Affairs, Faculty of Health Informatics, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

The keynote address was delivered by Richard Granger, Director-General, NHS National Programme for IT, UK. He spoke on 'Digitising the National Health Service'. Granger spoke about the success of deploying IT in the healthcare sector in England and how digitising the NHS in England has proved successful in reaching out to a large segment of the population. A board has been created in England and within 18 months they are able to digitise computer data on healthcare.

The opening day of the conference saw other internationally renowned experts recounting their experiences and sharing their expertise with the delegates in the modalities associated during the adoption and implementation of state-of-the-art information technology in healthcare.

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