— nuviun (@Nuviun) March 17, 2015
The proliferation in smartphones and mobile devices is unlocking a new era in telemedicine and telecare. Damian Radcliffe explores how one proponent of this evolution is unlocking these benefits in the Middle East.
Last month a leading Dubai health official argued that half of the money being spent on healthcare in the Arab World was not being properly utilised.
“I don’t think we need to pump more money into the health system,” Haider Al Yousuf, head of funding at the Dubai Health Authority said. “We just need to use that money more efficiently and ensure that it goes to the right place.”
It’s a view that Raouf Khalil, Chief Executive Officer of Mobile Doctors 24/7, agrees with.
“There’s plenty of money out there,” he told us, “it’s just that there’s so much over zealous [medical] activity.”
As an example he noted how some doctors are being paid commission—or set targets—for certain types of procedures. This can create a vicious circle, whereby patients may be prescribed services or treatments that they do not need, with the result that every year their premiums go up.
“This,” Khalil says, “is not just a financial problem, it’s a clinical issue as well,” highlighting how the overuse of antibiotics has diminished their effect.
A serial health entrepreneur, Khalil established the Mobile Doctors 24/7 service to address some of these issues. Their doctors, he told nuviun, are “not affiliated to any clinic or hospitals.” “In other words,” he says, “they are not incentivized to refer any patient or do anything unless it’s based on evidence based medicine.”