The advancement of private sector digital technologies and the creation of pro-investment legislative environments are vital to the modern-day healthcare industry, according to Altibbi CEO Jalil Labadi.
After the coronavirus pandemic experience, the importance of expanding investment in telemedicine has become evident, noted Labadi, adding that Arab governments need to work towards expediting relevant legislation.
“The Arab market is huge, and it needs to activate the role of modern technologies, such as medical platforms and health applications,” said Labadi, explaining that competition in the telehealth industry remains low compared to demand.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Labadi recommended that Arab governments reduce procedural and legal complications and shift towards accelerating the establishment of telemedicine projects.
Demand for digital healthcare has grown in recent years, with the coronavirus pandemic providing a significant boost as lockdowns forced people to depend on remote medical services.
During the pandemic, many governments and health ministries in Arab countries, such as Egypt and Jordan, worked closely together to help connect patients to healthcare providers. Giant call centers were established.
According to Labadi, telehealth projects’ most prominent challenges are talent scarcity and a lack of highly qualified cadres.
Combining the latest technologies, AI developments, big data, communication skills, and proper employment is vital to “solving yesterday’s problems with tomorrow’s ideas,” he noted.
Labadi stressed that facilitating telehealth projects will produce a leap in the primary health system in the region’s countries and help solve many problems facing the Arab health sector.
Saudi Arabia is heading toward significant transformation in its “primary care” project, noted Labadi, adding that the trend in the Kingdom will see lowering pressure on hospitals, shortening waiting queues, and swiftly connecting patients to high-quality general practitioners.
Founded in 2011, Altibbi is one of the region’s largest digital health companies. It offers around 4.5 million medical consultations each month.