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September 29, 2007

Lands of Opportunity

Picture of the old fort at DubaiIt's two months since I last posted. Holiday, work pressure and, well, lack of inspiration are my excuses.

I attended the Information Technology in Healthcare congress in Abu Dhabi in early September 2007 and gave a workshop on Successfully Implementing Hospital Information Systems.

Now, I used to tour the Gulf regularly several years ago but the changes that have taken place are amazing. Dubai now has a commercial infrastructure set to rival Hong Kong. One of the delegates described the aspiration of Dubai Healthcare City to become a regional centre of excellence.

But even after a 7 hour flight to an entirely different culture some things don't change. Conference delegates described the challenges of implementing healthcare IT: clinician indifference, underperforming suppliers and the retention of skilled staff. Sound familiar?

But the Gulf countries do have advantages most countries in the Europe do not: fewer legacy IT systems and legacy notions of how healthcare should be conducted—which gives them a fantastic opportunity.