Healthcare sector pushes for technological advancements in service delivery

February 12, 2014 7:48 am

The healthcare panel at the second Government Summit underlined the importance of adopting digitally enhanced means to keep up with rapid technological advancements in healthcare service delivery yesterday (Monday, February 10).

Dr Allen Wai-Lun Cheung, director of Hong Kong Hospital Authority in China, says adopting technology must be integrated with proper training. “Training all personnel to utilise technology is time consuming, which underlines the importance of planning ahead. However, with [good] preparation in place, it is possible to considerably reduce the actual time involved to embrace technology in the delivery of medical services,” he adds.

Dr Catherine Mohr, director of medical research at Intuitive Surgical in the US, highlights the significance of human resources, even with the advent of technology. “While robotics have come to dominate medical procedures, especially in the area of surgery, the human aspect is still relevant in making technologies work. High-quality training is, therefore, still relevant, in spite of advances in technology.”

Panelists discussed the many benefits of technology, of which cost reduction was on the top of the list. They noted that it can be truly achieved through constant evaluation of what each service lacks and needs. “In order to be cost effective, there should be a proper evidence-based assessment of what you need to provide to a community,” explains Dr Cheung.

Nevertheless, technology often faces several obstacles in terms of regulatory barriers, therefore, it is imperative for the UAE government to plan ahead and align its goals with what technology can offer them.

Dr Mohr, meanwhile, adds that technology must now move to the next level, by adopting efficiencies, such as the ability to smell out cancer, utilising the ability of human immune system to heal itself and achieving fluorescent vision to detect symptoms of diseases. “The way forward for technology is [to find out] whether it can give us [a form of] medical superpower,” she concludes.