Leading healthcare experts and technology providers will soon convene in Abu Dhabi to discuss the advances in infornation and telecommunication technologies and their potential to change the face of the Middle East healthcare industry. The 5th Annual Middle East Healthcare Expansion Summit, powered by the GCC Health Minister's Council, will take place on 10-11 October 2012, at Hotel Park Rotana, Abu Dhabi -UAE
Through effective implementation of various schemes, the GCC is trying to improve its healthcare delivery systems. But how far has it come in making this vision a reality? Abdul Rahman Al-Tauqi, Director General – Information Technology at the Ministry of Health – Oman, who has joined the speaker panel for the 5th Annual Middle East Healthcare Expansion Summit explains his views on the subject.
“When we talk about the Middle East and specifically the GCC, it is not an easy achievement due to the fact that each individual country has envisioned and embarked on the e-Health initiative without either consulting others or thinking on the fundamental perquisites, such as e-Health standards, and e-Health legislations. These fundamental prerequisites are the ones that will ensure appropriate exchange of medical information in a define security framework and without ambiguity. For instance, nobody has thought about standardizing medical vocabulary and terminology in coordination with the others. Even though there are established international e-Health standards. Very often these standards are duplicated and often under completion. There are not off the shelf, ready to use standards; they need to be customized and completed with what are missing. Take the example of the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD): there is a WHO version, the American modification (ICD CM), the Australian Modification (ICD AM) which may vary substantially from the WHO original version. This is just a small example that illustrates the complexity of the International e-Health Standards.”
Al Tauqi describes the key challenges of the sector as, “Setting up an appropriate, workable and sustainable e-Health Vision by itself is a challenge, the example of UK is a testimony to that, after spending several billions the UK still do not having a viable e-Health environment. The cost of e-Health is also an obstacle; even though it has been proven that e-Health helps improve the healthcare system and at the same time reduce its cost; the e-Health implementation cost is still not affordable to many countries in the Middle East.” He also identifies the lack of common standards across different countries and slow decision making tendencies as impediments in the process.
At the 5th Middle East Healthcare Expansion Summit, Mr. Al Tauqi will be joined by veterans from the GCC Health Minister's Council, Joint Commission International – UAE, Health Authority Abu Dhabi, Dubai Health Authority and other reputed institutions. The event is officially supported by the GCC Health Minister's Council, the Saudi Association of Health Informatics and the Indian Association of Medical Informatics.
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