Monday 27 March 2023

GCC hospitals to go ‘paperless' with digital transformation

DUBAI, May 13, 2015

Paperless hospitals in the GCC could become a reality as early as next year, an expert has said.

Offering better quality and safety measures, reduced errors, increased efficiency, improved practices and long-term cost savings, a paperless hospital will require changes across all levels, not just in technology terms, but in addressing every facet of how people work, said a statement.

Joe Hawayek, a digital business expert at PA Consulting Group, believed that the commitments made by hospitals such as Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Sidra Medical and Research Centre in Doha, Qatar indicate the region will lay claim to its first paperless healthcare facility by as early as next year.

“The eradication of paper medical records, the use of electronic data entry and retrieval of patient information in all care settings, specialisms and non-clinical areas is achievable by next year, especially in new healthcare systems, but a huge amount of work is still to be undertaken,” said Hawayek, one of the region’s foremost experts in healthcare technology.

A five-point strategy plan, prepared by Hawayek and other experts at PA Consulting Group, identified the potential pitfalls that the healthcare industry can avoid in its attempts to eradicate paper.  

“Healthcare providers can learn from other sectors which have already achieved entirely paperless environments, such as banking, manufacturing and aviation, and these five key lessons will go a long way in helping hospital management revolutionise its working practises,” he said.

The plan includes design the digital system around the user and avoid learning complex systems; remember: the right digital system is about the supplier and the product; standardised processes will become the norm; choose implementation partners wisely; and plan at least two steps ahead.

According to the most recent Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model study, an evaluation of 28 hospitals in Dubai revealed an average score of 2.5 out of seven, where zero is completely dependent on paper and seven is completely paperless.  

With 190 countries in the world featuring seven rankings, the Middle East has 12 hospitals scoring a six – eight in Abu Dhabi, one in Sharjah and three in Saudi Arabia.

The biggest challenges within the GCC and wider Middle East lie in the well-established, older and more traditional hospitals, where transferring patient data from paper to digital is time consuming and costly.  

“Fears are commonly centred on confidentiality, integrity and availability, otherwise known as CIA, and yet there are answers and solutions to all these concerns.  There are typical risks associated with adopting any new model of information and communications.  But what is not in question is the immense benefit to healthcare professionals and patients in achieving an electronic transformation to digital platforms,” Hawayek added. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Hospital | GCC | technology | Digital | Paperless |

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