Interview with Ghassan Mamlouk, CEO, Advanced Technology Company, Kuwait

Technology has always played a crucial role in healthcare innovation, and this will be no different in the future, says Ghassan Mamlouk, CEO of Advanced Technology Company (ATC). He is a highly accomplished and globally experienced business leader who has worked with international healthcare solution providers and governments to provide state-of-the-art turnkey projects. After spending over two decades working on billion-dollar projects and growing the company, Mamlouk has truly learned what drives businesses forward and how to deliver value in the health system.

He shares: "The pace and focus of technology-enabled innovation is likely to change. Advances in digital technologies will create enormous new possibilities and opportunities. The wise will recognise and ride this trend. Those who ignore it will do so at their peril."

What do you think is currently driving the healthcare industry forward, both in the Middle East and Africa region, and globally?

Currently, I believe the biggest driving force in the healthcare industry has to be technology towards patient-centric care. We are seeing that with the world’s biggest tech companies throwing their hats in healthcare in one form or another.

Technology’s nonlinear pace of progress will almost certainly create substantial market disruption in healthcare, spawning wave after wave of opportunities for traditional healthcare organisations, and new startup companies alike. Being creative in addressing issues and trying to solve problems creatively by maximising patient and stakeholder utility is a large focus in the healthcare industry. It is important to always keep on top of mind that the medical industry is a very sensitive one as you are dealing with people’s lives.

What current trends do you see specifically in the UAE healthcare industry and what do you see as the growth areas going forward?

The UAE does a great job in not only keeping up with trends but also creating them. The UAE has a reputation for leading by example and being an early adopter and I see many of the modern trends in the healthcare industry here. As most of these trends have to do with technology, the UAE has displayed that it understands the impact of the tech industry and its impact on healthcare. Healthcare is at the verge of reaping unprecedented benefits from some of the technology innovations we’ve seen in development in the past few years, including 3D printing, personalised insurance products, blockchain, cross-sector collaborations, telehealth/homecare, and preventive care.

Moreover, the UAE is also planning on using technology to decrease the country’s carbon footprint and deal with sustainability issues. There are ambitious plans for the UAE to be the first paper-free country in the world. Another great example is Dubai’s approach to blockchain. The city is in the process of implementing blockchain across the entire emirate as it plans to be the first city in the world entirely run on blockchain by 2020.

What are the major healthcare market segments that are likely to expand and why is this so?

As I previously mentioned, healthcare is no longer only about treating illnesses but also how patient care is being delivered shifting focus towards preventive care and patient wellbeing.

This emphasises healthcare’s focus on implementing state-of-the-art technologies in delivering new variety of care to its patients. IT within the healthcare industry is gravely looked over and definitely one of the major areas in the industry that is guaranteed to expand. This lag may be due to the fact that implementing technologies in the healthcare industry is not a simple "plug and play" in comparison to other verticals. That may be due to the fact that in this industry we are dealing with people’s lives and behaviours and technologies can only start to be implemented once they are mature and safe enough.

Technology has always played a crucial role in healthcare innovation, and this will be no different in the future. However, the pace and focus of technology-enabled innovation is likely to change. Advances in digital technologies will create enormous new possibilities and opportunities. The aggressive rate of change facing healthcare calls for leaders who understand and possess this key competency and know how to instill it throughout their respective organisations.

What are some of the practical steps the region can take to improve their national health systems?

The way forward is digital care transformation towards a connected healthcare delivery model that connects patients, providers, payers and regulators.

While organisations have access to unprecedented amounts of healthcare information that can revolutionise treatment, getting the right data and turning it into personalised, actionable insights remains a challenge. Only through a combination of strategic approaches involving advancements in mobility, automation, intelligence, information sharing, and more will we be able to improve healthcare outcomes.

How important is innovation? What are the technological, medical, and strategic innovations that your company brings to the healthcare arena?

Over the past several decades, healthcare has experienced an explosion of innovations designed to improve life expectancy and quality of life. As healthcare organisations face unprecedented challenges to improve quality, reduce harm, improve access, increase efficiency, eliminate waste, and lower costs, innovation is becoming a major focus once again. Under our present system, just doing our best or working harder will not be enough. The healthcare industry is on the brink of massive change.

I cannot stress how important innovation is in healthcare. Unlike other industries, where if you fail to innovate, you may miss out on potential profits, in this industry, if you fail to innovate, you fail to provide proper and necessary care for your patients, which directly affects their health and quality of life.

My company puts patients at the forefront of any transaction. With a patient-centric mentality, we are able to deliver solutions that bridge the gap between user needs and hospital realities in the GCC region. The goal of a technology solution is not just to be installed and configured in a hospital, but to have 100 per cent adoption within its user base, adding value to every user, and providing a better service to the patients and the remaining hospital community.

The adoption of Hospital Management Systems continues to face extensive problems and constraints due to several reasons: a lack of knowledge about these systems as clinical tools rather than IT, lack of adoption of international standards and evidence based clinical content, a lack of qualified clinical informatics resources, a lack of integration between systems, but above all the usability of existing systems. With all of that in mind, what we offer is a Hospital Management System that is user-friendly and requires zero training, and completely adaptable to any hospital’s reality.

What new product will you be showcasing at Arab Health 2019?

The Sapphire© HMS. Sapphire© is a modern and complete solution that can be deployed and customised for any hospital or healthcare institution, providing patients with the service they expect to find in state-of-the-art medical institutions. Sapphire© comes with a customisable HL7 integration engine allowing fast and seamless integration with all hospital’s existing systems, such as EMR, LIS, RIS, PACS, or CDSS.

What is unique about the new product?

The version of Sapphire© HMS we are exhibiting this year is more mature than it’s ever been.

  • Sapphire© continues to bolster evidence based clinical content to assist and advise clinicians as they order or administer care to patients
  • Optimise hospital resources, personnel and financial
  • Get rid of duplicated patient data and files
  • Better quality of service
  • Take the most out of your specialty systems with the built-in HL7 Engine
  • Optimise the allocation of your resources: doctors, rooms and beds
  • Integrated with your specialty systems and extended to your reality

As a company closely associated with Arab Health for the past several years, how would you evaluate the impact of the event on the healthcare industry in the MENA region?

I see Arab Health as a melting pot where people from all over the world come to meet, network, do business, and exchange ideas. I know it is called Arab Health, however the number of different nationalities I encounter during the event are countless. I believe the Arab part of the name of the event, refers to Arab hospitality, as my team and I, and all of our partners always feel welcome there.

What, according to you, are the real benefits and opportunities available to healthcare andtrade professionals to attend Arab Health?

Whether you are exhibiting a product or service or simply visiting the show, I believe everyone has something to gain from Arab Health. There are countless opportunities to sell and buy, to find partners, strike deals, and even to expand business. Everything related to healthcare can be found there, all across the supply chain. At the end of the day, even for people working outside of the industry, I urge you to visit Arab health, simply for the hospitality and in order to stay informed with the latest trends in the healthcare industry as they affect every one of us.

27 - 30 January 2020