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Biography

Zaheer Abbas carries over 15 years of healthcare experience in the Middle East, where he learnt the implementation of technology from USA through his business associates in telemedicine. He runs one of the top few health imaging and IT portals and provides free courses and knowledge base to healthcare IT in the Middle East. He was the organizing committee member in the Africa TeleHealth Conference in 2010 held in Egypt. He has also pioneered in setting up Middle East Society of Telemedicine, MESOTEL and is working with several organizations in improving healthcare standards in the Middle East.

Abstract

Healthcare reforms are still in teething stage in the underdeveloped countries in the Middle East. Patient care and healthcare service availability in rural areas is far behind the urban areas. Healthcare professionals tend to go to cities for better career opportunities, hence leaving the rural population with limited choices when it comes to patient care. Purpose of this paper is to estimate the true value of telemedicine in implementation of healthcare services and patient care in rural areas by adopting new technology using teleradiology, teleconsulting and other set of telemedicine services that can increase patient care in the rural areas in the Middle East. Because of recent revolutions in the Middle East, traveling and patient movement to other cities has become more challenging than ever. On government level, several initiatives have been taken in introducing partial telemedicine for the patient care, but full fledge telecare is still far from reality. Egypt would be considered a model country to evaluate implementation of telemedicine services in this paper as it resembles most of the under developed countries in the Middle East and because most of the Egyptian physicians work in Gulf areas and can enhance telemedicine effectiveness through their experience. The study will show how much cost can be cut using telemedicine technology in providing the healthcare for governments and how much percentage patient care will increase using such technologies. Several existing initiatives will be studied thoroughly to get feedback and several key industry players in healthcare sector will be interviewed to assess the true potential of using technology in medical care.