Previously on The Arab Health 2023 Saga, we discussed the conferences that opened essential discussions that will change and redefine medicine in the MENA region. Our interest in this article lies within the various meaningful, transformative healthcare discussions on which their fantastic line-up of speakers touched. Attendees heard from global visionaries making valuable evolutions in the healthcare industry. In fact, they got a first look into their latest insights, discoveries, and future predictions.
Out of all the transformative healthcare discussions, the HIV cure was the issue that grabbed the most attention. Professor Sharon Lewis, Director of Doherty Institute in Melbourne and President of the International AIDS Society (IAS), among a long list of achievements, opened this year’s Healthcare Transformative Talks with the keynote “Can we achieve a cure for HIV?”
The leading infectious diseases expert revealed that researchers are on the brink of discovering a potential treatment for HIV. She pointed out that recent research has modified the understanding of HIV latency (the clinically latent infection stage, also known as asymptomatic HIV infection). She then explains that the strategies looked into revolve around three major elements:
- Latency Reversal
- Gene Therapy
The IAS president further affirms that even though a single-shot HIV cure is far from being available to patients, this is the direction in which the research is heading.
Unfortunately, HIV and, by extension, AIDS are highly stigmatized, regardless of who is infected with the virus. And historically, the MENA region (plus the rest of the world) did not take too kindly to those infected. So, this direct and unapologetic involvement with that historically marginalized community is awe-inspiring and a point of pride for the MENA population.
One of the constant transformative healthcare discussions throughout the four-day event was Artificial Intelligence (AI). In fact, experts pointed out that with the increasing collection of biodata, there needs to be a shift in healthcare delivery. Additionally, the numbers showed a growing number of hospitals turning to AI. These discussions centered around four essential talking points:
Appointments from Home
According to Dr. Alan Kennedy, founder of PulseAI, a medical technology company concerned with AI-enabled software products, AI technology has the potential to free up hospital waiting rooms. The ultimate goal, in this case, is monitoring patients in their own homes. He further explains that the existing AI software needs to be more advanced for accurate and concise analysis despite the already-ready technology (wearable biometric devices, watches, and rings that collect data).
PulseAI is an AI-based software integrated into everyday wearable devices to help individuals understand their hearts. During the research phase, the company evaluated more than a million electrocardiograms from seven countries, each annotated by a cardiologist or emergency physician, to compare results with those analyzed by its AI algorithm. If a doctor is unsure whether the results indicate an abnormality, they will mark the test as inconclusive and ask the patient to return for another. The software reduced the number of inconclusive reports from around 20 percent to 1 percent. Advanced AI algorithms can provide users with a more accurate reading of their risk from heart disease, particularly if they are facing a heart attack or an irregular heartbeat.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, all healthcare providers are overworked and overwhelmed. The showcased AI-based software from PulseAI could be the answer to light the mental and physical workload of healthcare providers. The UAE is using this powerful platform to offer technological solutions to combat our healthcare workers’ chronic state of fatigue. This fact alone is, quite frankly, impressive as they show their understanding and compassion toward the brains that lead the MENA region’s medical field. But we must never forget that AI only complements the doctors’ and nurses’ work.
As it stands now, the metaverse is no longer a buzzword. It’s an honest and valid option in the medical field to the point that developers worldwide and programming extended-reality-compatible programs for virtual medical check-ups and the like. At the Arab Health 2023, one of the most prominent transformative healthcare discussions was the metaverse.
in 2020, Dr. Timothy F. Witham, a neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, performed the first spinal surgery using AR. He could see a digital enhancement of a CT scan performed earlier using a portable headset.
At another Arab Health event, Future Health Summit 2023, Dr. Witham led a discussion on AR’s opportunities for the healthcare sector, outlining the tools at his disposal. He claims that while traditional surgical techniques are equally safe, research is still needed to compare the two approaches’ efficacy and efficiency.
This event was well thought through and indicated a shift in moderators for the global medtech talk. The transformative healthcare discussions, the CME-accredited conferences, and the other event features were terrific, educational, and eye-opening. The UAE, through these events, has cemented itself as a pillar in medtech. Not to mention, it contributed to the de-stigmatization of certain marginalized groups. Additionally, it helped fine-tune what the healthcare providers can provide their patients, all while taking care of their mental health.
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