Potential of eHealth

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The GCC Taskforce on Workforce Development in Digital Healthcare envision a sustainable digital health ecosystem through a skilled and empowered local eHealth workforce. We can achieve this by improving the eHealth skills and competencies of national human resources in the fields of Health Information Management, Health Information Technology and Health Informatics, through continuous training and the development of career pathways.



Healthcare has moved to a Skill Economy; a system built on the individual skills we possess, work and life experiences, accomplishments, and personal networking. Technology (eHealth, EHR, etc), changing regulatory and legislative policies, global and population health, value-based health outcomes, personalized medicine, virtual care, and patient-centric care models dependent on inter-professional teams have changed the skill set necessary to practice medicine.

Role requirements, competencies, and skill profiles are being redefined. Studies suggest that academic training in the areas of leadership, professional employability skills (e.g., teamwork), and business acumen (e.g., Lean Six Sigma) are not sufficient to meet the practical skills the healthcare industry demands.

In the GCC region, overall demand for healthcare is anticipated by McKinsey to increase by 240% over the next 20 years. Due to the immense need to increase efficiency and improve both service quality and patient safety, digital transformation of the healthcare system has become an imperative and not an option. However, the beating heart of any successful healthcare ecosystem is its workforce. 

The changing ecosystem requires a robust and sustainable supply of highly skilled professionals, who are proficient not only in their specialty or domain but also in eHealth/health IT, to use, operate and optimize the digital services. Additionally, GCC countries are also witnessing a huge shift towards Universal Health Coverage and Value-based Care, which entails creating thousands of jobs to operate and maintain the required insurance information intensive systems.

The GCC countries are facing a healthcare workforce and ecosystem sustainability challenge at the same time as the demands from its professionals are being redefined and training requires new approaches.



The digital transformation and expanding healthcare ecosystem presents an opportunity for the GCC region to ride the waves of change and leapfrog the USA and other nations, not only in terms of the access to and quality of service and care, but also by offering their next generation sustainable career opportunities.

eHealth jobs cover a wide spectrum of professional roles starting from front-facing care providers such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other caregivers, who need "eSkills" to achieve and sustain success in their work; and newly created supporting professional roles such as clinical informaticists, health information staff, biomedical engineers and researchers.

Given the shift to a skilled economy and need to map and create sustainable careers in eHealth, the Taskforce suggests the adoption of a "Career Pathway Skills Model", a model emphasizing precision skills strengthening, competency-based assessment, experiential learning, life-long learning, and career progression based on continuous evaluation.

For example, below are 3 different career pathways from the USA with mean salary, education and skill levels:

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 health information management career pathway.jpg

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The three career pathways shown here demonstrate continual salary advancement with the development of specific skills, experience and credentials. Utilizing this approach, roles and competency-based career development:

  • Ensures offerings are employer validated for today's careers and the roles of the future;

  • Identifies opportunities for training the future workforce, as well as upskilling and training for the working learner;

  • Offers the opportunity to develop evidence-based training programs with stackable, latticed, and portable certifications and credentials.


Achieving this model requires:

  • Identification¬†- Identify and define skills, competencies, knowledge, and abilities for specific occupational roles.

  • Standardization¬†- Develop a common language to allow for standardization skills, competencies, knowledge, and abilities.

  • Calibration¬†- Calibrate skills and competencies with occupational roles and titles through certificate development.

By all stakeholders, such as education institutions, healthcare service providers, eHealth solution and service providers, and HR service providers, coming together and working with relevant government bodies, the healthcare ecosystem can be positioned to meet the demands and challenges of today and sustained through tomorrow.

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The GCC Taskforce on Workforce Development in Digital Healthcare (ZIMAM) was established in February 2016 to highlight and promote the importance of developing a regional framework for eHealth Workforce Development. The Taskforce brings together Healthcare providers, government healthcare strategists, and educational institutions to actively participate in realizing such a framework. As a kick-off measure, the task force decided to design and implement a comprehensive survey to understand the status, trends, and needs of the eHealth workforce in the GCC region and to highlight existing gaps.

The survey was conducted between December 2018 and January 2019. The questionnaire was designed as a cross-sectional study of the GCC current and future eHealth. There were two main versions of the questionnaire: one directed at representatives from healthcare organizations and a second directed at individual respondents. Targeted organizations included related ministries, healthcare regulatory bodies, academic institutions, vendors, and healthcare providers. The individual respondents were recruited from the following groups: Students; future and current healthcare workers including clinicians, administrative, technical, and revenue cycle management/medical coding staff, and educators.

eHWDC 2019

The GCC eHealth Workforce Development Conference will present the findings from the Workforce Survey and the resulting whitepaper. eHWDC 2019 will provide an open discussion forum for all the involved stakeholders to converge and develop a framework for standards and professional development in eHealth, as well as workshops and training sessions for medical and IT professionals.


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    in your network

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  • Contact the Taskforce and let's see how we can work together (see below)

  • Fill in the Workforce Survey (when released) and/or share it with others

  • Submit an abstract to the conference ‚Ästclick here

  • Attend eHWDC 2019 in Dubai, 02-03 November 2019.



To learn more, become an actor of change and to get involved, please contact us now.

1 Interprofessional Healthcare Workforce Institute, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. Preparing Healthcare Workforce for a Skill Economy 
2 World Economic Forum. The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills, and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Jan 2016. 
3 Crosson, F.; Leu, J.; Roemer, B.; and Ross, M. Gaps In Residency Training Should Be Addressed To Better Prepare Doctors For A Twenty-First-Century Delivery System. Health Affairs. 2011 
4 Gonzalo, J.; Dekhtyar, M.; Starr, S.; Borkan, J.; Brunett, P.; Fancher, T.; Green, J.; Grethlein, S.; Lai, C.; Lawson, L.; Monrad, S.; O'Sullivan, P.; Schwartz, M.; Skochelak, S. Health Systems Science Curricula in Undergraduate Medical Education: Identifying and Defining a Potential Curricular Framework. Acad Med. January 2017; 92(1) 123-131. 
5 https://www.thenational.ae/uae/health/gcc-countries-to-suffer-from-healthcare-professional-shortages-1.311852
6 https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/html/10.1055/s-0039-1677896?device=mobile&innerWidth=393&offsetWidth=393