IoT is emerging as a catalyst for rapid innovation in GCC healthcare and, in some usage scenarios and application areas, the market for IoT is maturing and rapidly becoming mainstream. The tip of the iceberg is already visible, and the growing convergence of mobile, Big Data, social media, and IoT will play an unparalleled role in the digital transformation of GCC healthcare systems, accelerating innovation and enabling the region-wide drive toward gold-standard healthcare models as envisioned by the long-term development plans set by GCC governments.
The health care systems of GCC countries are struggling to keep pace with the local economic, demographic, and epidemiological transitions taking place. Various factors — including urbanisation and a rise in health risk factors such as smoking, low physical activity, and obesity — have resulted in high rates of morbidity and mortality caused by chronic diseases.
To address these challenges, GCC governments have defined health care as one of the key focus areas for the coming years. And immense investments are being made to build and upgrade hospitals and clinics, roll out mandatory health insurance schemes, and encourage private sector investments in health care. GCC countries have a unique opportunity to address their health care challenges and build gold-standard innovative systems for health care administration and delivery by absorbing and putting into practice the best available resources and technologies. Indeed, GCC states have already made plans to do so: innovation and excellence is a major theme of the health care development strategies of GCC member states. And the UAE is at the forefront of such developments, with the UAE National Agenda (under the UAE Vision 2021) aiming to create “a world-class health care system.”
In the realization of these ambitious health care goals, health care industries across the GCC states are expected to post double-digit annual growth rates over the coming years. And in the context of the growing local health needs and the prevailing focus on chronic diseases, GCC health care systems are also expected to undergo a major transformation going forward.
Inevitably, technology transformation will remain at the heart of the health care developments being undertaken in the GCC, as it is a key enabler for the achievement of the ambitious goals and visions for top-class health care. In fact, ICT has been explicitly recognised as a major factor that will support the achievement of various health care objectives, both in the short and long term.
For example, one of the 15 strategic objectives set for the Saudi Ministry of Health under the Saudi National Transformation Program 2020 is to “improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care sector through the use of IT and digital transformation.” The program has allocated SAR5.9 billion from government sources for “electronic health” initiatives over the next five years.
ICT will be crucial in supporting the transformation of GCC health care systems and achieving nearly all of the region-wide strategic health care objectives, including those related to building workforce capacity, fighting lifestyle-related diseases, and improving access to health care services. IoT, in particular, will be one of the key technologies to play a central role in this transformation. IoT-enabled solutions will support health care objectives such as improving timely access to medical care, ensuring patient safety, and assuring the quality and efficiency of medical care at all levels in the GCC region.
Coupled with mobile and analytic technologies, IoT will play an unparalleled role in driving the digital transformation of GCC health care systems, accelerating innovation and supporting the push toward gold-standard health care delivery models.
Current epidemiological trends and systemic gaps in GCC health care markets provide good reasons for trying IoT in virtually any area of health care delivery and administration, from point-of-care to environmental monitoring, inventory management, and cost optimization. In fact, IoT has already passed the "why" stage and moved onto the "how" stage in many of the areas of possible use in GCC markets. The benefits of using IoT-enabled technologies is no longer questioned by healthcare stakeholders. However, resources need to be found and ways of implementation need to be clarified, particularly given the concerns around privacy and security.
For more insights, see IDC Health Insights’ Perspective: CEMA IoT Market Highlights 2016: IoT Soon to Become Mainstream in GCC Healthcare - CEMA41805816 http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=CEMA41805816 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.