Addressing complex healthcare challenges within the Middle East
The international medical tourism market is booming. With increased healthcare costs on a global scale, the focus on healthy living and ageing has never been so fierce. This has led vast numbers to look at receiving medical care which is cheaper and available in other countries than the one they presently reside.
“There have to be mechanisms, where we can find efficiencies in spend and how providers become acute in making the provision with not only quality in mind, but also cost,” explains Executive Vice President of Fakeeh Care, Sanjay Shah.
“This is a problem the US and UK have been facing. Healthcare providers have a real duty of care to try and seek out how we provide value-based care in order to ensure that healthcare costs do not continually rocket. I think it's welcoming to see some of the digital players coming to this market.”
With vast experience in the UK and GCC healthcare market, Shah noted that medical tourism will remain a focal area for the GCC, in order for the region to understand why patients are travelling abroad, rather than to look at avenues provided directly within the region.
“45% of patients travel for specialist care in areas such as oncology, cardiology, orthopaedics and neuro-surgery. Those areas and sub-specialties are not as well designed and taken care of in the region. This is an area where we have been focusing at addressing quickly, so that medical tourism away from the country is minimised as much as possible.
“We want care to be provided locally and we want it to be of international standard so patients don't feel the need to go elsewhere for their care. We have been investing in providing the latest diagnostic services, but with also nurses and physicians who know how to provide that sort of high-amplitude care.”
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The rise of lifestyle diseases in the Middle East, such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity, are also playing a significant role in reshaping the delivery of healthcare services in the country, leading providers to look at new ways to cater to these demands.
Nonetheless, the industry continues to face challenges in attracting and retaining talent across the Middle East, something of which has been highlighted within the country’s National Transformation Programme 2020 and Saudi Vision 2030.
“This is an important element. We’re investing to grow and train our own nurses and doctors of the future through our medical college,” explains Shah.
“I think for competitors this will become much more difficult. Legislation and regulatory requirements will mean that some of the other hospitals will find it is difficult to compete, and consolidation will be the obvious answer across the GCC. We are taking part in increasingly trying to secure assets under the privatisation programme.
“You will see the beginning of the stronger players and the survival of the fittest, where some of the minor players will probably fall away or be taken into much larger organisations,” he adds.
“The extension of healthcare insurance is also a positive thing for private-sector providers. The assets coming from the public sector to the private sector, in whatever form, will be an interesting transformation.”
Check Point: Securing the future of enterprise IT
Cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point was founded in 1993 with a mission to secure ‘everything,’ and that includes the cloud. Conscious that nothing remains static in the digital world, the company prides itself on an ability to integrate new technology with its solutions. Across almost three decades in operation, Check Point, with its team of over 3,500 experts, has become adept at protecting networks, endpoints, mobile, IoT, and cloud.
“The pandemic has been somewhat of an accelerator in the evolution of cyber risk,” explains Erez Yarkoni, Global VP for Cloud Business. “We had remote workers and cloud adoption a long time beforehand, but now the volume and surface area is far greater.” Formerly a CIO for several big-name telcos before joining Check Point in 2019, Yarkoni considers the cloud to be “part of [his] heritage” and one of modern IT’s most valuable tools.
Check Point has three important ‘product families’, Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, with each one providing another layer of holistic IT protection:
- Quantum: secures enterprise networks from sophisticated cyber attacks
- CloudGuard: acts as a scalable and unified cloud-native security platform for the protection of any cloud
- Harmony: protects remote users and devices from cyber threats that might compromise organisational data
However, more than just providing security, Yarkoni emphasises the need for software to be proactive and minimise the possibility of threats in the first instance. This is something Check Point assuredly delivers, “the industry recognises that preventing, not just detecting, is crucial. Check Point has one platform that gives customers the end-to-end cover they need; they don't have to go anywhere else. That level of threat prevention capability is core to our DNA and across all three product lines.”
In many ways, Check Point’s solutions’ capabilities have actually converged to meet the exact working requirements of contemporary enterprise IT. As more companies embark on their own digital transformation journeys in the wake of COVID-19, the inevitability of unforeseen threats increases, which also makes forming security-based partnerships essential. Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) sought out Check Point for this very reason when it was in the process of selecting Microsoft Azure as its cloud provider. “Let's be clear: Azure is a secure cloud, but when you operate in a cloud you need several layers of security and governance to prevent mistakes from becoming risks,” Yarkoni clarifies.
The partnership is a distinctly three-way split, with each bringing its own core expertise and competencies. More than that, Check Point, HOOPP and Microsoft are all invested in deepening their understanding of each other at an engineering and developmental level. “Both of our organisations (Check Point and Microsoft) are customer-obsessed: we look at the problem from the eyes of the customer and ask, ‘Are we creating value?’” That kind of focus is proving to be invaluable in the digital era, when the challenges and threats of tomorrow remain unpredictable. In this climate, only the best protected will survive and Check Point is standing by, ready to help.
“HOOPP is an amazing organisation,” concludes Yarkoni. “For us to be successful with a customer and be selected as a partner is actually a badge of honor. It says, ‘We passed a very intense and in-depth inspection by very smart people,’ and for me that’s the best thing about working with organisations like HOOPP.”