With the fast-paced development of information and communication technology, world countries are in race to apply e-health systems, which promise better and improved healthcare services for individuals and communities. But what e-health is all about?
E-health simply means the application of the latest information and communication technologies in all health-related fields such as collecting, storing, restoring, analyzing and managing the information, unifying the electronic health records, disseminating and sharing medical information, surgeries and healthcare remotely, in addition to smart e-healthcare cards. The aim is to achieve stronger and more effective communication with patients and upgrade healthcare services and the entire healthcare sectors. It is all about digitizing healthcare systems and records.
In today’s world there is no more space for paperwork with world countries trying to move completely to the digital systems where they can share information and patients’ data online, more easily and more effectively, among physicians and medical institutions, as well as recording and updating every patients’ health history, reports, analyses and rays.
Maybe the concept is still young in our Arab world. But e-health generally has become a hot issue on the table of the bodies concerned in Arab countries.
Qatar believes it is important to raise public awareness about the necessity and benefits of moving to the digital system…for better performance and higher-quality services; an issue that does not have enough time to wait anymore.
On that issue, ictQATAR – shortcut for the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology, and the Supreme Council of Health are speaking the same tone. ictQATAR is supporting SCH’s efforts to help translate all such ideas and plans into actions. And every year more physicians, nurses and therapists are trained in how to use the electronic system.
But still, why e-health is important? E-health means everything will be doable and available online for patients and doctors and the full stop to tons and oceans of paperwork, such as records and files, which swallow a large space of medical centers. This means bigger returns to the country’s healthcare sector, which comes under the pressure of the must-to-do tasks: provide healthcare services, continue doing that all the time and try to make them better and affordable. E-health systems are the password for that to happen.
E-health has become a headline-grabbing topic in printed and online media and relevant conference and global activities drive so much attention worldwide, given the fact that these conferences and meetings provide a great opportunity to introduce governments and the bodies concerned to the newest e-health trends and technologies and a good platform to network and share information, expertise and stories of success on how ICT makes such dreams a reality. And the economic dimension is definitely a big point in all such activities.
In Qatar, 4 out of 12 hospitals have already fully integrated the digital system and are now the standard for all new hospitals countrywide; something we should laud actually although there is still a long way to go because we must not forget the challenges along the way, including the budgets put for e-health projects, the cadres and professionals who are able to apply and use e-health systems and the ICT infrastructure that must be there at all healthcare centers in order to unify work and make the cyberspace the only one hall for all.
A digital project that size needs budgets, tech-savvy cadres, training along the way in order to feed all medical and healthcare centers and ICT infrastructure in order to create an integrated, connected and organized e-healthcare system covering the entire nation at the end of the day.
Qatar is already moving forward with the project and more coordination and strategic planning will help achieve the aspired goals.