One or the other

Middle East enterprises can become either global trend-setters, or continue to try and achieve productivity in their individual organisations. The choice is theirs.

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By  Sathya Ashok Published  September 24, 2008

There are end-user organisations, and there are end-user organisations.

Most enterprises in the Middle East are driven to use information technology for their own benefit. They want to get available technology to perform the tasks that need to be performed; they invest in them because their peers are doing the same, and manage them in as efficient a fashion as possible, and count themselves successful when they achieve productivity, however small, for their organisations, from the technology.

And then, there is a small minority of enterprises that have the vision to see what the technology available today, and the solutions of tomorrow, can help them achieve, not just for their own organisation, but for their immediate environment, and even an entire nation.

King Fahd Medical City (KFMC) is definitely one of the latter. One of the biggest medical institutions in the Middle East, the KSA-based organisation, has been selecting and implementing technology with the aim of ultimately becoming paperless. The plan is to be paperless not just in an administrative sense, but to rid themselves of hard copies related to everything from pathology reports, to doctor’s dictation, diagnosis-related documents, and even the patient referral process.

Ambitious as that might sound, this is nowhere near the end of what the institution is planning to do with the capabilities that come with modern-day networks. KFMC is linking to the interior ministry’s records, in order to do away with the possibility of duplicate or fake medical records for all patients – nationals or expats – that might use the institution’s four hospitals and competency centres.

Moreover, it is integrating with other major hospitals and the health ministry in KSA, to share information on patients, and create a unified national health registry. As spokespeople at KFMC rightly point out, this integration will improve patient services several-fold in the Kingdom, while bringing more operational efficiency to hospitals. With this project, KFMC and KSA have the potential to set the trend for other similar institutions around the Middle East, and change the face of the health sector across the region. (To know more about how KFMC is working on achieving these goals, read the October issue of NME.)

One can’t help but wonder why more enterprises in the region do not think beyond their immediate needs and use technology to empower their entire environment. With the capabilities of the network growing everyday, and the supporting software and solutions easily available, every enterprise in every market segment has the ability to change the way things have been done for years. This will aid them in achieving new heights that are far-reaching and transforms the way people communicate, work and react in their immediate environs and beyond. All it takes is vision, belief and effort (apart from all the resources that are necessary).

Enterprises like KFMC demonstrate that regional firms can open new paths and use technology in ways that can prove to be an eye-opener to their counterparts, even in more developed markets. Organisations here can become either global trend-setters, or be satisfied with achieving small efficiencies in their worlds. So which one would they choose to be?

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