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UAE Prime for Telehealth Sector Development

Prof. George Crooks

Prof. George Crooks

Leading UK authority to address regional healthcare providers at HIMSS Middle East Integrated Health Innovations Conference on benefits of developing integrated telecommunications strategies to deliver key medical support services to communities.

The importance of adopting technological innovation to support the future health of both urban and remote communities will be the focus of a special session at the forthcoming HIMSS Middle East Integrated Health Innovations Conference, which will take place from 11-12 December 2013 at JW Marriott Marquis hotel, Dubai.

Leading UK authority Professor George Crooks, medical director for NHS 24, Scotland’s health information and self care advice service, will speak on the topic of aligning the continuum of care and global best practice in telehealth, using NHS 24 as an example, and drawing parallels with the UAE.

The presentation, on day one of the two-day Dubai Health Authority, Health AuthorityAbu Dhabi, SEHA and Dubai Healthcare City supported event, will challenge the status quo and invite delegates to rethink how they can reconfigure and deliver future health services, with the role of technology a key driver.

“We are living in an increasingly mobile age and this will impact the way that healthcare is delivered and managed in the future.

According to Internet World Stats’ latest report, the UAE currently has almost 5.9 million Internet users; that’s 70.9% of the population that has daily access to a wealth of information and advice,” said H. Stephen Lieber, CEO of HIMSS.

The popularity of video and voice services among the UAE’s users is also significantly higher than the world average, with the report putting this at up to 30% more than other global nations.

Similarly, smart phone ownership in the UAE has outstripped the global average by 30% as per the results of a survey by global research consultancy TNS Global, with 78% of UAE residents owning a device compared to the global average of just 42%.

“Online and smart phone or android connectivity has the power to transform the way that healthcare providers and patients interact, and when you look at somewhere like the UAE, which is similar to Scotland with its geographic diversity from high density urban hubs to remote communities and a large offshore populations, the country is primed for telehealth strategy development,” said Lieber.

Professor Crooks’ presentation will explore the different digital channels available to deliver health services to patients, families and carers, as Scotland’s telehealth and telecare services continue to expand towards a 2020 goal of a fully integrated health and social care system with a focus on anticipation, prevention and supported self management.
Scotland, which has been a test bed for telehealth innovation since 2006, currently has approximately 180,000 people signed up to its telecare services, delivered through 32 local partnerships.

It has been estimated that while the cost to the government has been around £10 million worth of funding, the indicative gross benefits are valued at an impressive £48 million (as at March 2010),” said Professor Crooks.

The NHS 24 programme also aims to position the country as a leader in research development, prototyping and the at scale delivery of the latest telehealth and telecare services, as well as creating new business and employment opportunities.

HIMSS Middle East Integrated Health Innovations Conference will be opened by HE Engineer Essa Al Haj Al Maidoor, Director General, Dubai Health Authority, who will deliver the welcome address, with other high profile speakers including Ali Mohamed Al Ali, IT Manager, Health Authority-Abu Dhabi; Dr Mohammed R Al Yemeni, Deputy Minister for Planning & Health, Saudi Arabia; Dr Greg Raglow, Abu Dhabi Health Services Co, SEHA; Dr Lawrence Garber, Medical Director for Informatics, Reliant Medical Group, Atria Health; and Dr Osama Alswailem, MD, MA, Director, Medical and Clinical Informatics Department, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Saudi Arabia.

As a finale to the two-day conference, the HIMSS Middle East Healthcare Innovations Award Ceremony will take place, recognizing excellence in innovative technology and care practice throughout the UAE and the wider region.

Registered delegates from healthcare and governmental organizations will evaluate each demonstration and the highest ranked application will receive the HIMSS Middle East Healthcare Innovation Award.


HIMSS Middle East is a cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT).

HIMSS leads global efforts to optimise health engagements and care outcomes using information technology.

HIMSS Middle East is a part of HIMSS WorldWide, a cause based global enterprise that produces health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world.

Founded in 1961, HIMSS WorldWide encompasses more than 52,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 600 corporations and 250 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share this cause.

HIMSS WorldWide, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

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