Day 3 of Arab Health showcased two pivotal themes - the importance of quality management in healthcare and the growing interest of European healthcare businesses in expanding their footprint in the Middle East. Against this backdrop, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) launched their ground-breaking 'Permit to Practice' initiative and the transformative role of technology and AI once again took center stage. Julia Ofer, a member of our specialist healthcare team, provides an overview of these key themes and the impact they’ll have on the market moving forwards.
Quality management in healthcare
Quality management emerged as a central theme during day 3 of Arab Health, once again emphasizing the region’s commitment to providing first-rate healthcare services. The spotlight was on maintaining standards during disaster and crisis situations, such as the COVID19 pandemic and natural disasters. The need for well-trained medical professionals, supported by a robust legal and regulatory system during these times was also highlighted. New technologies, such as AI and telemedicine, are expected to play a pivotal role in those ongoing improvements. When healthcare systems are under pressure because of unprecedented crisis situations, such as those that lead to an abnormally high number of patients, the limitation of accessibility to care and/or a shortage in well-trained healthcare practitioners, then alternative methods such as new technologies, become invaluable. Those at Arab Health appear very much committed to developing those new technologies and innovative solutions to improve quality management, both in times of crisis and not.
Expansion of European business in the Middle East
A noteworthy aspect of Arab Health was the substantial interest from European exhibitors in expanding their presence in the Middle East. The UAE in particular presents as an attractive market for European healthcare businesses given its rapidly growing population, increased demand for high-quality healthcare services, and a commitment by the government to develop world-class healthcare infrastructure. Additionally, the UAE's strategic location as a global business hub provides European companies with a gateway to the broader Middle East and North Africa region. The country's robust regulatory framework, political stability, and a population with a high standard of living further contribute to the appeal for European healthcare investments, fostering partnerships and collaborations between the two regions. This keen interest in investing into the region’s healthcare system was palpable during the conference.
DHA’s Permit to Practice initiative
An exciting development during day 3 of the conference was the DHA’s announcement of their 'Permit to Practice' initiative, developed to streamline the process for medical professionals from abroad to work in Dubai temporarily. The initiative aims to address the shortage of well-qualified healthcare professionals by providing a flexible and accessible option for temporary practice. The information provided during the launch suggests that the permit, valid for three months, allows professionals to familiarize themselves with regulations and standards, facilitating the subsequent application for a professional license. As the demand for well-qualified healthcare professionals continues to rise globally, this comes as good news in order to ensure the UAE remains proactive in attracting talent and specialist physicians.
The role of technology and AI
As mentioned in our previous insight articles, technological advancements, including AI, are transforming healthcare globally. And that was still a central focus during day 3. The integration of digital solutions not only enhances diagnostic capabilities but also opens up new avenues for patient care, such as digital twin and virtual reality solutions for simulations. These technologies prove invaluable in reaching patients in rural areas and improving the overall efficiency of healthcare delivery. Telemedicine, in particular, is expanding, making specialist consultations accessible thereby bridging the gap for those in remote areas.
As the curtain falls on Day 3 of the Arab Health, the landscape of healthcare innovation continues to unfold, revealing two key themes that are shaping the industry's trajectory. The unwavering commitment to quality management, especially in times of crisis, underscores the region's dedication to providing exceptional healthcare services. Concurrently, the increasing number of European healthcare businesses expanding into the region coupled with the DHA's ground-breaking 'Permit to Practice' initiative, highlights the region's emergence as a global healthcare hub. We look forward to seeing what day 4 brings!