Qatar’s healthcare sector expanded to telehealth & telemedicine with COVID-19; Report

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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The healthcare sector of Qatar has been rapidly diversifying and expanding by incorporating telehealth and telemedicine services for urgent and emergency care, researcher ValuStrat said in a report.

The report further adds that the country’s telehealth and telemedicine services have also been diversified and expanded for chronic care, pediatric care, mental health, elderly care and home delivery of medications.

Telehealth is a fast-growing segment within the healthcare market, increasing on account of changing preferences and the emergence of 5G, the biggest enabler in automating invasive medical procedures going forward.

The public healthcare sector in Qatar accounted for $5 billion in 2019, accounting for 2.6 percent of its GDP. Government sector contributions to healthcare expenditure are quite high amongst GCC countries, ValuStrat noted.

“We expect to see increased consolidation through merger and acquisition (M&A) activity within the regional healthcare sectors, as smaller private healthcare groups increasingly face liquidity challenges caused by the downturn in revenue streams because of this pandemic,” the report noted.

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for cosmetic and non-essential medical treatments fell drastically. On the contrary, pandemic-related infections were fast diverting excess medical resources to contain the virus.

Even though the overall healthcare expenditure may have declined in some GCC countries, the sector has experienced a “positive transformation” during the COVID-19.

In the UAE, Dubai and Abu Dhabi can benefit from an increase in demand for “vaccine tourism” as vaccination rates in many markets around the world remain low, the report further noted.

Saudi Arabia’s government and private sectors have developed and launched approximately 19 apps and platforms that have served public health functions and provided online healthcare services, ValuStrat said.

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