With the massive number of people falling ill at the same time worldwide due to the corona virus disease (COVID-19) and new cases coming in nonstop, the public healthcare industry and its ability to handle the crisis of such a scale has been depleted. Even countries with advanced medical systems are facing enormous challenges and gigantic tasks as they race against time to fight and contain the new strain of coronavirus.

While the healthcare system is being consumed extensively at this point of time, strengths as well as opportunities for improvements have also come to light. One learning that we can take away from this ongoing health calamity is the need to further enhance our overall health infrastructure. This initiative will ensure the provision of world-class patient care services with higher successful outcomes. It will also build a structure capable of addressing and withstanding emergencies similar to the one we are seeing today while guaranteeing the safety and health of both the patients and our medical workers.

Technologies come into play in this regard. Investing in connected health technology solutions has become imperative more than ever in light of the present circumstances. Rolling out smart healthcare as a channel of diagnosing and treating patients helps bring about impactful transformation within the public healthcare system by paving the way for more innovative digital processes and procedures. They include remote patient monitoring, telemedicine, and mobile electronic health records, to name a few.

“Smart healthcare streamlines transactions closes gaps in the delivery of medical services for the benefit of the patients, who are the most important stakeholder, and assists in faster handling of serious medical cases. It integrates knowledge, resources, and expertise into a single digital platform for more cost-efficient and effective patient care solutions. By doing so, the medical staff members are timely informed when intervention is needed, while all assets and resources, including patient data, are utilized more efficiently and with higher accuracy.”

Take for instance the remote patient monitoring capability. Through this capacity, doctors and nurses can remotely monitor high-risk patients in near real-time. Specific diseases for remote monitoring can be identified depending on the condition and the need of the situation. The staff can register vital indicators within the digital system to facilitate remote monitoring of patients anytime, anywhere, while at the same time delivering a patient-centered treatment approach at every stage of the process.

Under a Smart Services Platform, the elements of higher connectivity, faster collaboration, and more cost-efficient access to healthcare services have been made possible. Diseases, especially the risky ones, are managed more effectively, the spread of illnesses are prevented, and better overall healthcare quality is ensured.

The value-added contributions of smart healthcare are immense. Amid restrictions and limitations that the current system presents, adopting this modern system is a strategic move that offers higher control and flexibility and can significantly impact the lives of the patients and medical personnel alike. It ensures the delivery of applications and a rapid time-to-market by breaking the silos found in typical application implementations today.

Furthermore, with world-class features to help quickly address and contain an illness, smart healthcare is the best alternative to bricks and structures. This is good news to a healthcare system already burdened by shortages in hospital beds and staff — a concern that has become more apparent during this outbreak.

In MENA, for example, the region, according to studies, has an average of 1.9 hospital beds per 1,000 population compared with an OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) average of 4.8 beds. Experts say that, to reach the OECD average, the region will need to add 470,000 more beds or build 3,130 new hospitals across five major MENA cities.

“Available anywhere and to anyone, smart healthcare tools are seen to help ease the pressure on the medical sector. Ongoing innovations and the introduction of smart healthcare within the segment will further enrich experiences and enhance results for the benefit of the entire global society.”

As more and more diseases such as COVID-19 become more threatening, we need to continue to innovate and be creative in our ways of providing medical care to our people. The time to maximize the benefits of available integrated smart healthcare tools is now.

Hani Obeid is a seasoned trusted advisor and transformation consultant with over 28 years of experience in digital for both the public and private sectors. Currently, Hani oversees all market development activities for the Emerging Market theatre in the capacity of General Manager as well as heads the Smart Healthcare Practice at NXN. He has an MBA from The Teller School of Management of the University of Ottawa and is a Certified Management Consultant from the International Council of Management Consulting.

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