Two-thirds of people in Middle East willing to replace doctors with AI

AI in the Middle East could contribute $320b to the economy and $59b to health and education in 2030

Dubai: People in the Middle East are ready to embrace the new world of Artificial intelligence (AI) when it comes to the health sector, said a speaker at first Dubai International Health Tourism Forum, on Tuesday.

“Two-thirds of Middle East respondents are willing to replace human doctors with AI and robots,” said Dr Tim Wilson, Middle East Health Industries Leader for PWC during the keynote speech at Madinat Jumeirah.

Referring to the ‘PWC: Middle East report’ and the potential impact of AI on the region, Wilson said AI in the MD could contribute $320 billion (Dh1.2 trillion) to the economy and $59 billion to health and education in 2030.

He discussed the various initiatives launched by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) such as the DHX website and app, which allows health tourists visiting Dubai to plan every detail of their trip starting from visa requirements and relevant destinations to medical quotes and services.

He also described the UAE as a country that “has ambitions to increase healthcare services, the will to use technology first, to get things done, and a country that is technologically advanced.”

“The UAE is a country whose rulers have the vision to appoint the first AI minister in the world — and when you combine that with the work being done by the DHA — I think that central spot of AI-enhanced tourist care is going to be taken and owned by the UAE and specifically by Dubai,” said Wilson.

Patients travelling for AI enhanced care would receive better quality of services and care including precision medicine and faster recovery, overall lower cost for better benefits, and a unique and personalised experience with technologically advanced services, added Wilson.

“Because AI can do things better, because it can do any time of the day and night, because its accessible, because its increasingly becoming empathetic, it’s going to give you a better patient experience, and more reliable quality,” said Wilson.

Focusing on the health sector, he explained that AI is capable of being used in patient data and risk analytics, lifestyle management, ER and surgery, hospital care management, as well as medical imaging and diagnosis, mental health, drug discovery and virtual assistants — which are areas witnessing an increase in the number of start-ups and investments.


While the public may be ready to embrace the new technology, several factors need to fall into place for AI to take precedence:

– Governments: Need to create quality standards and a regulatory framework, which are applicable to and obligatory for the entire healthcare sector. They also need to provide the appropriate incentives for adopting new approaches

– Healthcare professionals: Must understand how AI and robotics have the potential to work for and with them in a medical setting as well as throughout the healthcare ecosystem, and be open to change.

– Patients: Need to become more accustomed to AI and robots and discover its benefits for themselves

– Decision-makers at healthcare institutions: Develop an evidence base, measure the success and the effectiveness of new technology, phased implementation, prioritises and focus on what consumers want and need

– Private sector: Develop AI and robotics solutions

Source: PWC: Middle East report

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