GE ranks UAE global innovation leader

Dubai - Healthcare is seen as the top industry to make significant progress in the past six months


Sandhya D'Mello

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The UAE executives value the societal impact of innovation and are increasingly drawn to Artificial Intelligence (AI) to propel it forward. — AP
The UAE executives value the societal impact of innovation and are increasingly drawn to Artificial Intelligence (AI) to propel it forward. — AP

Published: Wed 16 Dec 2020, 2:03 PM

Last updated: Wed 16 Dec 2020, 6:45 PM

The UAE’s healthcare sector was certainly challenged to deliver its best on all fronts, from services to processes in 2020.

The nation earned applause globally for having adopted strategies that were in the best interest of society and its well being during the outbreak of Covid-19. The country’s healthcare sector has been witnessing huge digital transformation, paving the way for a surge in smart services.

Dr Azad Moopen, founder, chairman and managing director, Aster DM Healthcare, said: “The UAE has been one of the countries that adopted innovation quite early. The visionary rulers of this oasis of peace and prosperity in the middle of the desert, pro-actively took many measures to bring the UAE to the top of the league. The rolling out of digitalisation in all the government transactions is one among the most innovative steps being taken initially.”

Aster DM Healthcare has started the XHealth Innovation Incubation Centre to onboard good startup innovations and is in discussions with hospitals in Israel to associate in many areas of healthcare innovation. “Healthcare is one area where a lot of innovation is happening with the focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI). We have been actively involved in this area — during the Covid pandemic, when there was a shortage of intensivists, we connected our ICU with specialist sitting in a single location to help remote monitoring. With many like us trying to live up to the vision of the leadership in the UAE, I hope that the country will be at the center stage of innovation in the world soon,” added Moopen.

The UAE is making global strides in innovation and this is proved by a latest survey — 2020 GE Global Innovation Barometer — released by GE Gulf, where the business executives have ranked the nation as a global leader in creating an ‘innovation-conducive environment’. The UAE’s business leaders rate their country as the innovation champion (25 per cent) ahead of the US (22 per cent), Japan (16 per cent) and China (14 per cent). More than half (56 per cent) believe the Covid-19 pandemic has led to the pace of innovation to increase or stay the same, while only a third (34 per cent) say there has been a positive impact on the ability of their business to innovate.

“Healthcare technology advancements have contributed greatly to transforming the lifestyle of an individual. In saying so, healthcare is up for a revolution post pandemic, where health and wellness needs are met by present day remote monitoring technologies and connecting specialists to patients from the comfort of their homes. The opportunities have been banked on, and changes made at lightning speed. As a service industry, the healthcare sector has set good examples of how complicated processes can be made easy at the click of button. Convenience and experience at every touch point is all an individual expects and technology has enabled that today to a great extent in medical services and this will only improve over the years,” said Taher Shams, managing director of Zulekha Healthcare Group.

This year, the Global Innovation Barometer surveyed over 3,400 business executives in 22 countries, including the UAE, in two separate studies; one concluding in February 2020 and another pulse in September 2020. The second study was conducted to understand any changes in global sentiment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dalya Al Muthanna, president and chief of GE Gulf, said: “With UAE businesses viewing innovation as a strategic priority, especially in the midst of the pandemic, it is important to promote governmental and industry collaboration to drive localised innovation. The UAE executive value the societal impact of innovation and are increasingly drawn to Artificial Intelligence (AI) to propel it forward. This is a strong testament to the successful vision of the UAE in creating an environment conducive to innovation, especially by harnessing the possibilities of advanced technologies.”

Innovation to drive societal benefits

Business executives in the UAE voiced their admiration for the healthcare industry’s ingenuity during the pandemic, with 79 per cent in the UAE saying it has outperformed all other sectors with respect to innovation progress and has set a great example for others to follow on speeding up innovation. A vast majority (85 per cent) cited innovation’s vital role in protecting people’s health and well-being.

Dr Raza Siddiqui, executive director, RAK Hospital, said: “The incredible progress that the country has made in the areas of telemedine, 3D modelling, robotic pharmacy, digitisation of medical information, health apps, robotic surgery, AI and blockchain are some of the advancements which have driven innovation in healthcare.”

The UAE’s leadership has played a key role in driving innovation across industries and especially in healthcare. With the structured, practical, and assertive approach that UAE took in dealing with the pandemic has set an example for the rest of the world. Aggressive screening, combined by stringent SOP protocols set the ball rolling, with approximately 80,000 to 100,000 people being screened across the UAE on daily basis, informed Siddiqui.

Healthcare is seen as the top industry to make significant progress in the past six months, and even more so by UAE business executives (62 per cent) compared with 52 per cent globally. The other sectors that the nation’s business leaders feel have made innovation progress following the pandemic are high-tech and IT (48 per cent), telecoms (44 per cent) and communications, and media and culture (39 per cent).

Gopinath S, chief strategic officer at Canadian Specialist Hospital, said: “The UAE’s healthcare emerged as the innovation champion when this nation has demonstrated remarkable success in the world when it comes to containing the Covid-19 pandemic and bringing life back to normal. Medical technology is changing by the minute and innovations in the field continued changing the healthcare sector amid the pandemic. The outstanding vision of this nation’s leaders at this special time placed priority on health innovation. These innovations are promising to impact the lives of millions of people and ensure their wellbeing. Amid several challenges, we pride ourselves on being innovative in the UAE’s healthcare sector. Healthcare is the crucial sector for protecting the health of residents and the nation’s wealth.”


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