Healthcare in Qatar: Prepared for the future with digital solutions

Ghassan Kosta, Country Manager, Qatar

When it comes to Healthcare provision and advancement, Qatar is already a leader in the region. The Qatar National Vision 2030 underscored the delivery of effective, affordable and advanced healthcare for all residents as a key priority for the government, and the healthcare has seen huge progress since this was laid out in 2008.

That being said, our healthcare system has been far from immune to the effect of the the current Pandemic. With over 60,000 confirmed cases in the country, providers and staff have been under increased pressure, labs have been inundated with tests and protecting the vulnerable has become more challenging than ever.

Digital transformation in healthcare has played a key role in alleviating some of the burden on hospitals and clinics facing the virus. Telehealth, AI and secure infrastructures can support organizations to make hospitals more efficient, reducing human error and ultimately improving the safety of patients.

The rise of Telehealth

While the concept of Telehealth has been around for a while, it’s uptake has increased immensely in recent months. In March, the Ministry of Public Health activated remote channels to healthcare services in select hospitals, allowing patients to access virtual consultations, prescriptions and sick leave certificates from their own homes.

The impact of this has been great when it comes to protecting residents, particularly when it comes to vulnerable and elderly individuals. It also means those with non-life threatening symptoms or conditions can receive treatment without a trip to hospital, which may previously have been a motivation to delay a consultation.

Using AI for predictions and analysis

AI has enabled incredible advances in healthcare. It can be used to speed up DNA analysis from one sample taking 30 hours, to 96 samples being processed in one day. It’s been widely applied to imaging and radiology to provide insights about tumors and to help determine treatments. Also, when looking at big data, AI has been proven to discover trends and symptoms which may have never been detected by humans.

While AI has limitations in its use during the current pandemic, it can be a helpful tool for hospitals and governments when it comes to planning. Within hospitals, it’s possible to use AI to forecast the behavior of the virus in patients, and to pre-empt the needs of those in hospitals. Meanwhile, the government can make use of AI to predict the spread of the virus in the population and put measures in place to curb this.

Infrastructure with extra protection

According to IDC, 51% of security breaches are due to malware attacks. Unfortunately, healthcare providers make a lucrative target for cyber criminals as they are more likely to pay ransoms to access patient data and critical applications, especially with lives at stake. However Hybrid Cloud and security solutions can mitigate this risk, while enabling collaboration between staff members.

While the benefits of digital solutions in healthcare are countless, it’s crucial that organizations ensure their cloud infrastructures have built in security across all touchpoints to protect applications and sensitive data. Multi-Cloud solutions can also provide support with automated back-up and migration options to reduce the impact of a breach.

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