Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) recently hosted a TECHtalk seminar to address the latest trends and developments emerging in the healthcare technology sector.
The workshop was headlined by an expert panel of speakers comprising Dr Manar M Al Moneef, Director of Government Affairs and Policy Middle East at General Electric; Dr Justin Grantham, RASAD Chief Scientist; and Dr Esam Ali Masoud, Medical Manager at Daman Health Insurance Qatar.
In Qatar, with the total population expected to increase by about a third in the next decade, the rise in chronic diseases is already placing a heavy burden on the healthcare system and overall economy.
Dr Manar Al Moneef said, “The healthcare industry in the Middle East shares the same challenges that are being faced globally.The current model is not sustainable given demographic shifts and solutions must improve quality while lowering costs. However unless these solutions are focused on specific local needs, it will not be sufficient.”
Dr Justin Grantham commented that the use of information and communication technologies in healthcare has generated skepticism because this can be too technology-driven and may not always integrate well with the complexities of existing workflows in clinical practice.
He added, “Technology is only part of the solution in the long term management of disease. Disease management also comes down to the lifestyle choices that individuals make. Aside from the proper implementation, technology also needs to engage people to be more pro-active and involved in their health management and subsequently improve their quality of life”.
Dr Grantham has been working in collaboration with QSTP on the RASAD telehealth platform since 2009.
Dr Esam Masoud addressed the implications of technology on the health insurance sector.
“The biggest concern for everyone today is the increasing prevalence of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and coronary diseases. The only real effective way to reduce the burden of rising insurance pay outs in claims is to prevent the occurrences of these diseases in the first place. There is a need to explore how technology can help achieve this in the most cost effective way.”