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Middle East consumers ready to embrace AI and robots for their healthcare needs

The Middle East – A unique platform to adopt New Health; AI & robotics

Countries in the Middle East sit in the middle of our survey results. These countries have a longer history with universal coverage and spend two to three times more per capita on healthcare than other emerging markets, but are affected by workforce issues and capacity constraints.

A combination of clinical workforce shortages and a young, digitally savvy population in the Middle East means the region could leapfrog other countries in AI and robotics in healthcare.

Trust in the technology is vital for wider use and adoption; the ‘human touch’ remains a key component of the healthcare experience.

‘The message is clear; the public is ready and willing to substitute AI and robotics for humans’

Service Preference in the Middle East

Monitor my heart condition (e.g. pulse, blood pressure, ECG etc., take note of my symptoms and advise on heart condition treatment 41% 44% 38%
Administer a test that checks my heartbeat's rhythm and make recommendations based on the results 32% 40% 31%
Provide customised advice for fitness and health based on my personal preferences and health conditions 36% 46% 33%
Take and test a blood sample and provide me with results 31% 42% 30%

“AI and robotics are the future of healthcare, and the Middle East is poised to take advantage. Access to quality, affordable healthcare, and good health for everyone are the ultimate goals of all health systems, including the Middle East. And when you combine clinical workforce shortages in the Middle East, with more positive factors like a young, digitally minded population that, is willing to adopt AI and robotics - PwC thinks the Middle East could leapfrog other countries in these technologies. We would like to see the Middle East invest and become a global centre of excellence for AI and robotics in healthcare, bringing benefits locally and becoming a place that other countries look to for healthcare innovation.”

Dr. Tim Wilson

The top advantages of using AI and robotics were identified as:


Healthcare would be easier and quicker for more people to acces


Advanced compotures/robots with AI can make a diagnosis faster and more accurately


Advanced computers/robots with AI will make better treatment recommendations


Like having your own healthcare specialist, available at any time (e.g. via a smartphone, tablet, computer etc.)

The public is ready to embrace this new world of healthcare - a few things need to happen beforehand:

For governments

For governments: create quality standards and a regulatory framework which are applicable to and obligatory for the entire healthcare sector, as well as the appropriate incentives for adopting new approaches.

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For healthcare professionals

For healthcare professionals: understand how AI and robotics have the potential to work for and with them in a medical setting as well as throughout the healthcare eco-system, and be open to change. If clinicians will not be as good at monitoring, diagnosis, decision making or surgery, then what is the unique role for the human, and how can they prepare for it?

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For patients

For patients and the general public: become more accustomed to artificial intelligence and robots and discover its benefits for themselves.

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For decision-makers

For decision-makers at healthcare institutions: develop an evidence base, measure the success and the effectiveness of the new technology; phased implementation, prioritise and focus on what consumers want and need.

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For private sector

For the private sector developing AI and robotics solutions: In essence, by providing AI and robotic driven solutions, the private sector  has the opportunity to disrupt healthcare for the good.

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Survey Methodology

EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)

In November 2016, we asked YouGov Research to conduct a survey of the general public across Europe, the Middle East and Africa to understand 3 things:

  • if there was the appetite to engage with artificial intelligence (AI) and robots for healthcare;
  • the circumstances under which there would be greater or lesser willingness to do so; and,
  • the perceived advantages and disadvantages of using AI and robots in healthcare.

We surveyed over 11,000 people across 12 countries and the evidence strongly indicates that there is a growing enthusiasm among consumers to engage in new ways with new technology for their health and wellness needs.

Middle East

In December 2016, we hosted 3 roundtables in the UAE, KSA and Qatar to gain insights and more qualitative data on the introduction of AI/ robotics.

In January 2017, an event was hosted alongside Arab health which added more insights from customers and SMEs across the region.

Contact us

Hamish Clark

Health Industries Partner, Health System Transformation, PwC Middle East

Eyad Al-Musa

Health Industries Partner, Digital Health Transformation, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 52 839 8930

David Suarez

Health Industries Partner, People & Organisation Leader, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 4 304 3981

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