The GCC’s Medcare Hospitals has come out on top in the healthcare category of the latest edition of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Digital Awards.
Known as a leading private healthcare provider in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Medcare won the award for “Best Use of Digital in Healthcare” for its smart chatbot, it announced in a statement.
According to the healthcare group, its bilingual (English and Arabic) conversational artificial intelligence (AI) agent is the “first chatbot of its kind in the healthcare industry that is able to perform end-to-end appointment management without the need for a human agent intervention”. The application – which automates appointment management, analyses patient symptoms, and automatically accesses doctors’ schedules – was created for Medcare by Dubai-based AI specialists Blue Logic Digital.
“Medcare always has the convenience of our patients as a key objective across all our growth plans, and this is even more significant in our digital transformation initiatives,” said Medcare Hospitals CEO, Andre Daoud. “While automating the appointment booking process, it was important for us that the chatbot conserved the relatable and engaging customer journey that our patients experience on their interaction with Medcare.
“The team at Blue Logic Digital delivered two bilingual communication agents – Leo and Mira – that aligned perfectly with our vision to introduce humanised avatars that supported our patients’ preference to book online in less than a minute.”
WHY IT MATTERS
The UAE is one of the region’s biggest adopters of AI, investing a total of $2.15 billion (£1.6bn) over the past ten years, it was revealed last year. According to the “AI Maturity Report in the Middle East and Africa (MEA)”, a 2019 study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by Ernst & Young, this makes the country the second highest investor of the technology in the region, the first being the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“When we examine companies with high AI maturity, it’s clear that the technology is driven directly by the CEOs themselves. This high level of involvement typically results in greater investment in AI, broader adoption and a greater number of successful implementations,” said Microsoft Gulf’s regional general manager, Sayed Hashish at the time.
According to PWC Middle East, the region is expected to account for 2% of the total global benefits of AI by 2030 – the equivalent to an estimated $320 billion (£241bn).
The report stated: “In absolute terms, the largest gains are expected to accrue to Saudi Arabia where AI is expected to contribute over $135.2 billion in 2030 to the economy, equivalent to 12.4% of GDP. In relative terms, the UAE is expected to see the largest impact of close to 14% of 2030 GDP [$96bn].”
It added that the rest of the GCC – or the “GCC4” of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar – would witness an AI contribution of $45.9 billion (£34.6bn) by 2030, which is 8.2% of GDP. Meanwhile, over in North Africa, Egypt is set to be the biggest investor, with AI contributing $42.7 billion (£32.2bn), or 7.7% of GDP.
ON THE RECORD
For Medcare Hospitals, since the launch of its chatbot in April 2019, “Leo and Mira” saw more than 85,000 transactions as well as a significant increase in call centre efficiency, it said, adding that “a few smarter digital solutions [are] on their way to maturity”.
Janak Sarda, CEO at Blue Logic, concluded: “Success is an explicit reflection of our efforts and passion; we are delighted that our digital work has been recognised, as every achievement inspires us to push past our limits in AI and machine learning.
“We are grateful to Medcare for trusting us and for giving us the opportunity to innovate.”