The Emergence of Digital Healthcare in the Middle East

Digitalization can either completely replace human input or ease or aid a human in performing a task effortlessly and efficiently.

FREMONT, CA: Consumers avidly adopt digital services throughout the Middle East. Approximately 93 percent of people in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) use smartphones to access digitalized public services.

“Digitalization” is a commonly used term that applies digital technologies to a previously manual or conventional operation. Using a chatbot that auto-replies to people’s questions in a personalized manner and provides guidance to help them solve their problems is replacing traditional customer care call centers. Digitalization can either completely replace human input or ease or aid a human in performing a task effortlessly and efficiently.

What is digital health exactly?

The FDA defines digital health as applying computing platforms, networking, software, and sensors to health care and related sectors. The applications of these technologies range from general wellness to medical devices.

What is digital health’s scope?

The expansive scope of digital health encompasses such categories:

Telehealth: This includes remote clinical services (telemedicine) and non-clinical services such as HCP training, administrative meetings, and CME (continuing medical education).

Mobile health (mHealth): mHealth refers to medical and public health practices supported by mobile technology such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants, and other wireless equipment. It also includes wearable gadgets that can be integrated into clothing or worn as accessories, such as smart rings and wristbands, to monitor heart rate and activity for health and wellness purposes.

Online Pharmacy: E-prescriptions enable online buying and delivery of medicinal medicines through an online pharmacy. Health information technology involves the computerized processing, storage, and interchange of health information. Technology and digitalization have permeated all facets of healthcare to assist patients, caregivers, and average individuals who wish to improve their health and wellness.

Why should the Middle East implement digital health care?

The population of the Middle East exceeds 411 million, with 67.2 percent internet penetration, which is comparatively high compared to the global average of 62.5 percent. UAE has one of the greatest internet penetration rates in the world, with a rate of 99 percent and a smartphone penetration rate of 97.6 percent.

According to a recent analysis by McKinsey & Company, the digital health market in Saudi Arabia and the UAE will reach $4 billion by 2026. It demonstrated an increase in interest in and awareness of digital health technologies. They determined that the UAE and Saudi Arabia could leverage digital health technologies to benefit patients and enhance chronic illness management, diagnostics, and preventive care outcomes.

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