Bahrain, a fast-emerging regional data hub in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), has catalysed its shift to digital during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Healthcare is one area where the fruits of this transformation are particularly evident, with an increase in tech-based solutions and investment in state-of-the-art facilities offering new opportunities for investors and medical professionals alike. One major shift is the introduction of cloud technologies, presenting new opportunities for innovation, scalability and cost savings.
In the healthcare sector, cloud-based software offers a variety of benefits beyond efficient data storage. HealthCare IT News reports that 53% of experts believe that cloud computing will drive innovation in healthcare. From improving healthcare services to reducing costs, cloud computing is changing the industry.
Before the cloud, healthcare providers were often stuck with the burden of securely maintaining a high volume of hardware and paper-based records. When a system failed, the risk of losing data was significantly high. With off-site storage, cloud-based software guarantees the protection of sensitive records, diminishing the risk of damage control. As a result, key stakeholders will no longer exhaust their efforts on maintaining patient data, but instead can focus resources on the patients themselves.
Electronic health records are essential to store information, improve the quality and safety of medical services, and maintain patient privacy. Bahrain is progressively providing platforms to maintain electronic health records, such as Invent EMR. This provides a progress module that tracks the treatment journey of a patient, with dental clinics in the country becoming key users of the system.
In legacy systems, a high percentage of the IT budget is often used to maintain existing hardware, with no room left for investment in scalability or innovation. The cloud’s uniqueness stems from its subscription model. Healthcare providers can choose from an extensive list of resources at different price points – for example, data storage or speed – and quickly scale up as required. Consequently, IT costs are drastically reduced and healthcare providers are able to redistribute funds for more essential purposes.
The healthcare sector’s leap into the digital world with the use of electronic medical records, patient portals and mobile apps has produced an abundance of data – and all of it needs to be stored. Cloud computing provides instant access to critical information, whether it is patient data, video appointments, or electronic health records delivered digitally from another facility. Simply put, moving operations onto the cloud will allow healthcare facilities to streamline patient care.
Cloud computing technologies offer several advantages to the telemedicine sector. With the use of such services, patients are able to contact professionals from the comfort of their home – something that is particularly useful during the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic.
In Bahrain, several initiatives have demonstrated the benefits of the cloud for telehealth. One such example is Doctori, an online platform that connects patients with doctors through video calls for medical consultations. Among many other benefits, it gives patients a platform to store their medical information online, while doctors are able to keep track of the case’s progress through a comprehensive digital records system.
In an increasingly digital world, different sectors – including healthcare – are becoming increasingly reliant on cloud computing. Now, as businesses shift their operations from legacy systems to this new technology, Bahrain is an ideal location for healthtech. The Kingdom’s forward-thinking government is leading the way on cloud implementation, with the Ministries of Health and Education among the first to make use of this transformative technology. By integrating services with the cloud, the process of citizens approaching ministries will be completely revolutionised – with virtual e-services becoming the most common first-line point of contact over traditional channels such as phone calls or emails. These steps toward cloud innovation help increase efficiency and keep Bahrain at the forefront of development.
Bahrain hosts the MENA region’s first and only Amazon Web Services (AWS) Middle East Region, simplifying access to the many benefits of the cloud for start-ups and major corporations alike. AWS is the largest provider of these services, with other offerings globally including Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. The launch of the AWS Region in Bahrain has given start-ups, businesses, organisations and government entities easier access to cutting-edge technology that enables rapid digital change and keeps local transformation growing.
With its strategic location as the ‘Gateway to the Gulf’, Bahrain is at the very heart of the technological revolution. With its advanced digital infrastructure and a focus on healthcare, the Kingdom is enabling a new wave of businesses to shift to the cloud – with a silver lining.