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Digitization of Healthcare

Digitization of Healthcare

Dr. Mohaymen Abdelghany, CEO, Fakeeh University Hospital

  1. When did you decide to adopt a digitized format? Was it an incremental process — and were there any challenges or skepticism?Fakeeh University Hospital is built on an integrated healthcare model, bringing to Dubai and the UAE the legacy of over four decades of compassionate care – drawn from the renowned Fakeeh Care group based in Saudi Arabia. We are the region’s first smart hospital and have been leveraging innovative technology to enhance patient care and operational efficiency since inception.  The decision to adopt a fully digitized format was a strategic evolution, building upon our existing technological infrastructure across Fakeeh Care in KSA. We believe that digitization, in healthcare, should be a steady, thoughtful, and reflective process.

Challenges naturally accompany such transformative endeavors. Implementing a comprehensive digital framework comes with its own set of challenges including the likelihood of its adoption at various levels, privacy, and security, cost, especially in the initial phase. However, we believe this investment has been integral to our mission of providing advanced healthcare.

Moreover, the human element cannot be overlooked. Any notable change encounters hesitance and skepticism. To address this, we prioritized comprehensive training programs to ensure all staff members were equipped with the necessary skills to seamlessly integrate and benefit from the new digital tools.

Another challenge we faced was the potential disruption in the delivery of care, during the transition phase. To mitigate this, we devised a meticulous phased implementation plan that allowed for a seamless shift from traditional to digital processes. This ensured that patient care remained uninterrupted, and staff had the time and support needed to adapt to the changes gradually. Clear communication and a robust change management strategy were pivotal in successfully overcoming all these challenges.

The impact of digital health on patient experience is huge but remains undermined. We have adopted the most advanced digital tools for surgical interventions, data-assisted clinical decision-making, a robotic pharmacy, drone delivery of medicines, a single unit – the command control centre that oversees safety of the entire hospital, patient follow-ups, home & virtual care, enabling patient entertainment in their rooms and more.

  1. In practical terms, can you provide examples of how the digitization efforts have directly impacted and improved the experience of patients within the hospital, emphasizing the shift toward a more patient-centric approach? One standout example of integration of technology in our care delivery model is the implementation of a robotic pharmacy at our hospital. The primary goal is to provide cutting-edge, patient centered, safe and effective care.

Our pharmacy is fully automated and integrated with our Electronic Medical Records and Pharmacy Information System. This not only minimizes the likelihood of human error in medication dispensing, but also expedites the entire process, allowing pharmacists to counsel/answer patients. Patients now experience more efficiency and accuracy, contributing significantly to overall satisfaction. Additionally, our inpatient wards and pharmacy are interlinked, equipped with automated dispensing cabinets, remotely controlled, and managed by the pharmacy, to ensure timely access and administration of medication.

Our pharmacy also offers digitized delivery of medication, where a patient can order their medication online through our FUH Care app and medication would be delivered to your doorstep via FUHBots. In a substantial leap forward in enhancing healthcare accessibility and achieving complete digitalization, as part of Dubai’s Drone delivery program, we recently conducted a successful trial of drone delivery of medication.

We have a range of other smart technologies within patient rooms including iPads that allow patients to access their medical records, communicate seamlessly with healthcare providers, and even customize their room environment. This level of connectivity ensures that patients are not just passive recipients of care, but active participants in their healthcare journey, fostering a sense of control and understanding.

Our commitment to cutting-edge technology also extends to robotic-assisted surgeries. These advanced surgical techniques exemplify our dedication to precision, leading to reduced recovery times and minimized risks of complications.

Beyond these examples, our digitization efforts extend to telemedicine services and electronic health records fostering streamlined information access and timely interventions. It is about harnessing technology to elevate every aspect of healthcare delivery.

  1. Considering the multifaceted goals of digitization, what key performance indicators (KPIs) or success metrics does the hospital use to gauge the effectiveness of digital technologies in terms of coordination, diagnoses, treatments, and overall patient outcomes?Our integrated approach, particularly through our Hospital Information and Integration System (HIIS), has led to significant success in areas such as streamlined integration, quicker diagnoses, treatments, and overall patient outcomes.

We continuously monitor the response time of healthcare teams to patient queries or coordinate care interventions, leveraging digital communication platforms. This has enhanced the speed of care delivery and seamless inter-departmental communication. Digitization of all patient records has significantly accelerated our diagnostic processes leading to more accurate results. It has streamlined hospital workflow, alleviating the administrative burden on clinical staff, allowing more focus more on patient care, leading to increased job satisfaction and improved overall efficiency.

The success of our digitization efforts is reflected in comprehensive patient outcomes, accessibility of information, personalized care plans, and more. It also further solidifies our position as a leader in the integration of care based on technology.

  1. As one of the pioneers in the region, how do you think the region is poised for digitization in healthcare? What are your personal thoughts?

I am exceptionally optimistic about the region's readiness for digitization. The entire world is now moving towards digitization and digitization of healthcare is an integral part of the framework that will completely transform care delivery. Wearables, telemedicine, mobile applications etc. can potentially improve and elevate healthcare standards.

The UAE stands as a beacon for technological innovation and has made significant strides in the sector.While the UAE has made substantial progress, ongoing challenges such as interoperability and standardization demand continuous attention. Nevertheless, the collective commitment from government, healthcare institutions, and the technologically adept population positions UAE at the forefront of healthcare digitization ready to embrace and lead the way for enhanced patient services.

Watch here Dr. Mohaymen Abdelghany, CEO Fakeeh University Hospital in conversation with MediWorld Middle East

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