Michael Pomerance

Michael Pomerance

Managing Director, Cerner Middle East & Africa
Özlem Fİdancı

Özlem Fİdancı

CEO, Philips Middle East & Turkey
Technology can improve accuracy and efficiency within the healthcare system, a benefit for both patients and budgets.

Healthcare spending in the region has been increasing in recent years. How do you expect this trend to develop going forward?

MICHAEL POMERANCE Governments cannot afford to pay for rising healthcare costs as most countries have a maximum budget and services are taken away when that maximum is reached. The market will move into a direction where the consumer gets a stipend from the government to cover their healthcare expenses. This will shift the financial burden of unhealthy lifestyles from the government to the individual. The consumer's control over personal data will allow individuals to design a personalized health system. The largest healthcare costs are because of lifestyle-related diseases, and once consumers are financially penalized or rewarded for their lifestyle, healthier lifestyle choices will prevail, and government spending will decrease. It is just a matter of time before such a system is developed.

ÖZLEM FİDANCI Prevention is extremely important in the vision of the UAE and the Ministry of Health and Prevention. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases are increasing in the region as a result of lifestyle-related challenges such as poor eating habits, stress, and inadequate physical activity. That creates a huge burden on the healthcare system. Building more hospitals and hiring more physicians will not be sufficient without dealing with the cause of these diseases, so that is an important area where we can help through our technologies. In order to increase the impact of technology, connectivity is extremely important. Prevention and connectivity are the main topics that we have to focus on in the UAE as well as in the region. There is already great infrastructure in place, though we can make it more connected and seamless with connected care technologies. If we can control chronic diseases through prevention, awareness, and education and link healthcare through connected care propositions, patient outcomes will significantly improve, and the financial burden will decrease.

What are the most important trends and developments in healthcare IT?

MP Previously, the market for healthcare IT was focused on hospitals and clinics, but now the majority of the providers have a system that has turned the market back to the consumer. The market started with Fitbit and step counters, but it is evolving fast. Diabetes can now be measured with skin patches; clothes will soon feature health sensors. The world is fast approaching a period where the healthcare system will be exposed to the patient's entire information. This mass amount of data will be uploaded to the doctor's office to create the best possible environment for the patient. Presently, a doctor has only 3-5% of a patient's health-related data but technology has already started to play a key role in this regard.

ÖF Philips is well positioned because we have excellent consumer and patient insights and the best technology. Even if we focus on prevention, it is unavoidable that some people get sick and need to go to hospitals. This is why first-time-right diagnosis is important, and Philips has state-of-the-art technology based on AI to support this. A patient's data can be compared with other patients' data in the cloud, leading to precise diagnosis and much more accurate treatment plans. This gives rise to better and quicker treatment and discharges patients from the hospital earlier. Together with Dubai Health Authority, we developed a program to promote and increase the number of women who undergo the screening of breast cancer in Dubai, using predictive analysis. First-time-right diagnosis can save many lives, because the later the diagnosis, the less effective the treatment. We also use predictive analysis and AI to help hospitals make better use of ICUs, which are the most expensive and critical part of hospitals. In order to support patient outcomes and increase efficiency, we are able to bring TeleICU, a remote command center that monitors all patient data and enables doctors to react faster to patient deterioration. Another front Philips is working on is digital pathology, in which we digitally analyze cancer tissue using AI. This greatly enhances diagnostic accuracy. When we bring this information together with other digitized information, such as from CT scans and MR scans, we create an oncology information system. With this IT tool we can improve the accuracy of diagnoses by 25%.