Q&A with Andy Payne, Get Real Health’s Manager of European Operations
Q: What is the single most important thing you learned about the Health IT industry (in the Middle East) after attending GITEX Technology Week?
AP: The Health IT landscape in the Middle East is very much the same as we find in North America and Europe. Even a lot of the healthcare providers in the region are the same – Cleveland Clinic, for example. There is a high regard for the big name healthcare providers from overseas and that means the experience we have with connecting InstantPHR with Health IT systems in the US is reusable locally.
Q: How was it working with one of Get Real Health’s newest partners, LINK Development?
AP: It was great to meet the team from LINK Development in person after all the remote interactions that we’d had up to this point. One thing I was particularly taken by was the passion that the team at LINK Development had for wanting to deliver solutions using InstantPHR that could improve health outcomes in the Gulf region. They certainly know their target markets and are looking to deploy to them quickly.
Q: What was the reaction when you demonstrated Get Real Health’s award-winning flagship product InstantPHR at the conference?
AP: We had a lot of interest in InstantPHR, especially when we presented the session on Patient Engagement in the UAE. We had a full auditorium of engaged attendees, which was great to see. From the discussions I had there were two main interests – the flexibility of the product and the extent of our existing client base with big name healthcare providers in North America and Europe who are already utilizing our technology. That was a surprise to a lot of the attendees I spoke with.
Q: Is there any differences in what Health IT customers were looking for in the Middle East compared to the U.S. or U.K.?
AP: It was reassuring that the problems that healthcare agencies in the Middle East are looking to solve are the same as those in North America, Europe and elsewhere around the globe – an increase in long term conditions; a shortage of qualified, certified healthcare providers in the region; and how to provide care for an aging population that’s living longer. One difference I did note was the specific focus on treating/managing Diabetes, which is a big problem in the region. Also, the appetite and focus on smartphone/tablet-optimized solutions (like those provided by our InstantPHR solution) was far more than I’ve found in other parts of the world.
Q: What was it like to see Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in person?
AP: It was really exciting to be present when His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum visited the stand right next to the LINK Development booth, so I had a great vantage point. It was also really informative to meet with Mr. Ali Mohammed Al Ali from the Abu Dhabi Health Authority and to learn about some of his challenges and focus points in providing healthcare services in the region.
Q: What made the biggest buzz at GITEX 2013?
AP: The biggest buzz was for smart services. Dubai in particular has given itself less than two years to make all services (government, healthcare, tourism, etc.) available through smartphone and tablet apps – the Dubai Smart City project. There’s a strong appetite for this across the region, and it was evident at the show that this was where the main focus would lie over the coming year.
Q: Fill in the blank – “If you ever get a chance to visit Dubai, you have to see…”
AP: It’s got to be the Burj Khalifa and the nearby Dubai Mall. The Burj Khalifa for its sheer scale and the Dubai Mall for the aquarium and the vast array of shop, cafés and restaurants from around the world. It was quite surreal – one day I’m buying lunch in Potbelly’s in Rockville, Maryland and the next I’m contemplating buying dinner in the same store in downtown Dubai. It certainly is a small world these days!
Watch Andy recap GITEX Technology Week 2013