Digitization of Healthcare - in conversation with Niven Al-Khoury

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As the world goes through technological advancements at a rapid pace, the fear of the dehumanizing aspect of digitization is widespread, especially in the healthcare industry. However, adding modern technology to healthcare has not dehumanized it. Instead, it has helped healthcare meet people where they are, to effectively diagnose and treat all kinds of illnesses.

The digitization of healthcare has proven to be even more people-centric than we could have imagined. It has maintained and even intensified the human element of healthcare. With the pandemic pushing even more attention, and investments toward healthcare, we have found a sweet spot: finding technology that supports medical innovations, whilst ensuring that the human touch remains.

Niven Al-Khoury, a thought leader in reforming healthcare systems, and advocate for the rise of digital healthcare to combat disease management, shares her views on the digitization of healthcare.

The healthcare industry has had a golden opportunity to advance the progress made in digital health and virtual care since the onset of the pandemic. What are your views on digital healthcare — its advancement and effectiveness?

“The healthcare sector has witnessed a gradual influx of modern technology for almost a decade now. However, with the onset of the pandemic, the use of technology to enable remote healthcare has accelerated the process of digitization. We at healthcare companies are adopting robust and comprehensive digital structures that can satisfy the needs of patients. These changes ensure a promising future for healthcare, as all stakeholders are accepting the benefits of digital healthcare, prescriptions, and so on.

“This new era of digitization has revolutionized the way in which this industry functions. The way doctors and patients interact has changed, and a more proactive healthcare management approach has been adopted. In order to provide a quick, remote, and accurate diagnosis, healthcare practitioners are leveraging new-age technologies like analytics and big data. All this is allowing us to gain actionable insights to deliver better outcomes.

“The pandemic has accelerated what started years ago, rapidly and efficiently. We are now talking about telemedicine, teleconsultation, and more, as an industry in itself. It’s the new norm. But it’s important to remember why we are making this shift. The goal isn’t to become more tech-savvy, the goal is to be able to deliver care to patients efficiently and effectively. The digitization process and use of high-end technology are just a mean to an end. The purpose is not to be digitally advanced, the purpose is to help people the best way we can.

“Another consideration to keep in mind is how to implement this ‘new’ kind of healthcare in areas where people may not have access. A good example of this is how we have tackled the pandemic. How can people in remote areas make use of digital healthcare if they don’t have access to smartphones, the internet, or sometimes even electricity? So the understanding that digital healthcare is not viable everywhere is very important. In locations like this, a hybrid model needs to be adopted. Oftentimes the hybrid may consist of more in-person than online, but that’s okay. As long as patients are getting the help and support they need.”

Thanks for sharing, Niven.

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