From a business point of view, how has the year 2018 been for RAK hospital?
It was quite a good year for us. RAK hospital has been designed as a premium healthcare and hospitality complex and achieved accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI). The hospital has been garnered with an array of renowned healthcare and brand awards.
In 2017, we rolled-out the Hospital Information System (HIS), but as it takes a year and a half, it was completed in mid-2018. In the Ras Al Khaimah, we are the only hospital in the private sector, other than the Al Qassimi hospital in the government sector.
Unlike Dubai which is a healthcare destination, things are not too fast in the Northern Emirate. We have 2,50,000 people in Ras Al Khaimah. Even though we are an ISO certified hospital, people from Dubai/Abu Dhabi seldom travel to RAK hospital for treatment. Majority of our patients are local or international countries. We have satellite offices in Nairobi and few other Western African countries. As they do not have good medical facilities available there, we do tele-interview with our doctors/ consultants there, then get the patient to RAK hospital for treatment for a much lesser cost. Our prime intention is that the people of Ras Al Khaimah should get the right and the best healthcare support.
How has the year 2019 started for you?
This year started on a very good note. We will be launching our Mobile App soon which is under final testing. Now-a-days, online services are very useful. Mobile App is a great tool to improve healthcare efficiency and they serve as a great management system. Mobile service is a great means to deal with medical records of a particular patient. Having such functionality health apps become so handy for both doctors and patients. Patients can also store all test results in one place. It is easy to keep data safe and to search for it whenever you need it.
It is easy for patients to book an appointment with their doctors and don’t need to wait in long queues. The mobile app provides patients with all important information on specialists in a particular medical establishment – doctors’ names, working hours, etc.
How do you think the Healthcare industry has evolved?
The healthcare industry has been doing good unlike other industries which are facing some issues. I came to UAE around 22 years ago. I started working in American Hospital which was one of the big hospitals during that time. Since then I have seen the healthcare evolution in this country. At that time, the American Hospital was one of the first hospitals which used bar code system and it was the first JCI accredited hospital in the Middle East. Today, around 80 – 85 hospitals in the country are JCI accredited. In such hospitals, patient confidentiality is highly maintained.
Now UAE especially Dubai has become a hub for healthcare. In the last 10-15 years, many huge hospitals have been constructed. UAE is turning into a medical tourism hub.
Artificial Intelligence is also transforming the healthcare sector. AI in healthcare has immense potential to improve costs. AI powered technologies will drive meaningful change across the entire patient journey. I am sure this technology will change the look and feel of healthcare industry in the next decade.
What are the challenges faced by a CIO in the healthcare sector?
We still have many challenges as the government is not completely open to some of the emerging technologies. For example, the government has approved digitization of files which is only more than 5 years old. And some of the new rules that are not implemented across UAE. We also face challenges in finding the right resources who are highly skilled in new technologies.
Budgeting is one of the other big challenge in healthcare. It becomes huge challenge to get our budgets approved by the management.
What are your top 3 priorities for this year?
- Mobile App
- Will look into telemedicine
- Complete digitization of our process