Health Informatics Opportunities and Challenges: Preliminary Study in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf
Health informatics can be broadly described as a multidisciplinary field seeking to enhance the utilizations of information and communication technology in manipulating medical data and knowledge in order to increase the quality and safety of the delivery of medical services by healthcare professionals. The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, namely Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, are newcomers in the area of heath informatics and are deficient in many areas recognized as necessary in coping with advanced practices in this regard. In order to address the gap in knowledge in terms of the opportunities and challenges facing health informatics in such countries, a qualitative approach has been carried out. For this preliminary study, only three countries have been selected to form as a starting point; these include Bahrain, UAE and SA. In this regards, various related documentation and studies undertaken in these countries have been reviewed, and one key person in the area of health informatics in each country have been interviewed. Main opportunities include the development of sustainable healthcare systems through the utilization of advanced medical technologies, and the control of epidemic diseases and chronic. The key challenges include the interoperability and the lack of coordination and cooperation and authority of regulation; more important are the ethical issues surrounding the privacy and confidentiality of medical information. The results of this preliminary study can be used by authorities in the respective countries to create effective interventions to enhance advanced practices in health informatics.
Health informatics; Gulf Cooperation Council; Drivers; Initiatives; Opportunities; Challenges.