The health industry was one of the most affected ones during the pandemic. Not only because most hospitals worldwide were collapsed. But because most of their processes and procedures were not digitalized, making the possibility of working remotely seem impossible. However, as the pandemic keeps circulation limited, the healthcare industry continues to adapt. In UAE, more and more areas within the industry are shifting towards the remote work modality.
Thousands of companies had to shut down their offices and implement remote work because of COVID-19. Some of these industries, mainly those belonging to the IT sector or Marketing, could adapt quickly to the virtual environment.
However, the healthcare industry was one of the few that had to stick to its traditional on-site practices. Specific healthcare sectors that could work remotely struggled mostly because they were not familiar with remote work best practices.
Telemedicine in UEA
One of the main reasons why clinicians do not practice telemedicine is due to the lack of training. However, nowadays, with the advances in technology, telemedicine is increasingly becoming important.
In the UEA, Mediclinic Middle East was one of the first organizations to embrace telemedicine solutions to continue to support their patients virtually. And the health authorities and the providers in the region are developing more telemedicine solutions such as the Remote Healthcare Platform released by de Department of Health-Abu Dhabi.
The results? Better than anticipated. According to Dr. Rahul Goyal, the implementation of remote patient care practices, despite all odds, has been successful. As he mentioned in an interview:
‘’What my colleagues and I immediately noticed was that the telemedicine consultations surprisingly mean more face time with our patients. Firstly, because it is human nature to look at a camera rather than looking at a computer screen, which we tend to do more in physical consultations. Secondly, we are now spending more time preparing for our consultations prior to the start of the video call as we can’t physically assess patients, which means the consultation is an even better dialogue.’’Dr. Rahul Goyal
Remote Work & the Health Industry
With the advances in technology and new apps every day, many healthcare workers have started to support patients digitally. Many hospitals have started treating patients using live videos – for example, physicians can perform some of their work remotely, providing their patients with exercises to do from home.
Also, administrative staff and non-clinical healthcare positions such as IT, HR, and marketing, have started at a slow pace to transition to remote work.
Furthermore, the American Medical Association has started encouraging telemedicine to become a core competency of medical students. More and more sectors are beginning to digitalize their practices, and the health industry isn’t staying behind.