Arab Health Review
Innovative devices for the
The 38th Arab Health Exhibition and Congress
was held in Dubai from 28-31 January
2013. The event provides a platform for the
world’s medical device and equipment manufacturers
and medical service providers to
showcase their products to a wide network
of interested stakeholders and to meet the
medical community in the Middle East.
Middle East Health was at the event. This
year’s expo was clearly bigger than the previous
year – a healthy sign that the industry
in the region remains robust. There
were literally thousands of exhibitors. We
spoke to some of them.
Masimo’s rainbow technology
We spoke to Joe Kiani, the CEO of Masimo.
Remarkably Kiani started his business,
which focuses on developing non-invasive
patient monitoring technologies including
medical devices and a wide array of sensors,
in his garage in 1989 and has built it into a
publically traded company with a turnover
in excess of US$500 million. Masimo is
responsible for the invention of award-winning
Masimo SET pulse oximetry (which
resolved the problems of low perfusion and
motion in pulse oximetry), Masimo rainbow
Pulse CO-Oximetry and new Masimo noninvasive
and continuous total hemoglobin
(SpHb) monitoring technology.
Masimo rainbow technology allows clinicians
to non-invasively measure multiple
blood, fluid, and ventilation parameters that
previously required invasive or complicated
procedures, including SpHb oxygen content
(SpOC), carboxyhemoglobin (SpCO),
methemoglobin (SpMet), PVI, and RRa,
along with Masimo SET Measure-Through
Motion and low perfusion pulse oximetry
for oxygen saturation (SpO2), pulse rate,
and perfusion index (PI). With touch, drag,
and drop functionality, clinicians can move, expand, or collapse any parameter
for real-time analysis.
Among several new products that the
company was showcasing, was the Masimo
Pronto-7 – a new palm-sized handheld
device designed for quick and easy noninvasive
spot-checking of haemoglobin
(SpHb), SpO2, pulse rate, and perfusion
index at the point-of-care.
The device offers a breakthrough new
solution for measuring haemoglobin in
less than one minute – without needles,
time-consuming laboratory analysis, blood
contamination, hazardous medical waste,
and patient discomfort associated with traditional
Kiani pointed out that the Pronto-7
“Puts the power of accurate non-invasive
haemoglobin spot-check measurements
into any clinician’s hands, in virtually any
“This product can be used away from the clinical setting and will greatly
to healthcare. Maternal mortality is high
due to anaemia in areas with little or no access
This portable technology
will enable the patient to be easily monitored,”
he explained to Middle East Health.
With dimensions of just 13 cm x 7.2
cm x 2.5 cm and weight of 296 grams,
Pronto-7 is lightweight and convenient.
It is fast and accurate, and with embedded
802.11 b/g and Bluetooth communication
capabilities it makes wireless printing and
emailing of test results quick and easy.
Masimo’s iSpO2 pulse oximeter cable and
sensor with Measure-Through Motion and
Low Perfusion Masimo SET® technology
is a consumer pulse oximeter for use with
Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
iSpO2 uses the same technology found in Masimo’s breakthrough line of pulse oximeters
and Pulse CO-Oximeters – the standard-
of-care pulse oximetry technology at
work in leading hospitals around the world
– providing accurate measurements, even
during challenging conditions of motion
and low perfusion.
GE unveils new Silent Scan MR
At Arab Health 2013, GE Healthcare unveiled
a new [510(k) pending] Silent Scan
MR, a technology designed to address one
of the most significant impediments to
patient comfort – excessive acoustic noise
generated during an MR scan. Conventional
MR scanners can generate noise in excess
of 110 decibels levels, roughly equivalent to
rock concerts, and requiring ear protection.
GE’s pending Silent Scan technology is designed
to reduce MR scanner noise to near
background sound levels and thus improve
a patient’s MR exam experience.
“Silent Scan promises to be a huge breakthrough
for the MR industry and for patients
everywhere,” said Maher Abouzeid,
GE Healthcare’s new President & Chief
Executive Officer for the Middle East and
Pakistan. “It reflects our focus on humanizing
healthcare technologies. Excessive
acoustic noise is a major cause of patient
discomfort during MR scans and GE is addressing
that with Silent Scan, a major innovation
in the healthcare industry.”
Historically, acoustic noise mitigation
techniques have focused on insulating
components and muffling sound as opposed
to treating the noise at the source.
With Silent Scan, acoustic noise is essentially
eliminated by employing a new advanced
3D acquisition and reconstruction
technique called Silenz, in combination
with GE Healthcare’s proprietary design of
the high-fidelity MR gradient and RF system
electronics. Silent Scan is designed to
eliminate the noise at its source; with Silent
Scan, patients will experience a more
relaxing scanning environment.
Speaking at the unveiling, Tom Gentile,
President and CEO, GE Healthcare Systems
remarked that the Middle East region was
“growing tremendously” for the company.
“We’re seeing an explosion of mobility
and connectivity,” he said.
Cancer patients in the region
As part of its US$1 billion oncology commitment
and marking World Cancer Day,
GE Healthcare showcased its range of
leading oncology solutions at Arab Health
2013, highlighting the benefits of GE’s established
portfolio for patients across the
Middle East. Among the solutions highlighted
were the SenoBright Contrast Enhanced Spectral Mammography (CESM)
and FlightPlan for Liver, that have the
potential to help healthcare providers improve
outcomes in breast and liver cancer
for the region’s anticipated 140 million
and 12 million cases respectively, across
the Middle East (according to stats from
Brainlab launches Buzz Digital OR
For the second year in a row, Brainlab, the
German provider of software-driven medical
technology that supports targeted, lessinvasive
treatment, chose Dubai’s Arab
Health to reveal its new system in the Middle
East. Buzz Digital OR was launched in
the presence of Stefan Vilsmeier, President
and CEO of Brainlab.
Buzz Digital OR is a centralized information
hub with a full HD 42” display
featuring a multi-touch control interface.
This computer- and IP-based system allows
for the effective handling of information
relevant in the OR. The control
interface streamlines and enables intuitive
management of medical images and other
patient information. With the flexibility to
manage video images from endoscope, microscope,
etc., communication with other
medical equipment, and documentation of
patient treatment, Buzz simplifies effective
management of increasingly complex operating room data requirements.
“Buzz Digital OR is a highly advanced
surgical device, tailored to meet the specific
needs of the surgical environment,” said Stefan Vilsmeier, “We understand and embrace
the trend of fusing medical equipment and IT
systems inside healthcare facilities, as this allows
for intelligent, scalable, and flexible OR
integration solutions; we expect that hospitals
and surgeons are going to reap benefits by installing
Buzz systems, and will offer new possibilities
in data flow and patient care.”
Buzz Digital OR effectively manages advanced
OR workflow – facilitating planning,
navigation and intraoperative imaging connectivity.
The newly designed control concept
for Buzz also enables intuitive management
of data sources and displays with drag
and drop functionality. Fast and easy access
to medical image data is provided through
the integrated interactive DICOM viewer.
Procedures can be conveniently documented
with screenshots or dual channel recording.
A system that can run data across the
hospital IT network, Buzz Digital OR has
already attracted attention in the Gulf region,
with King Fahd Hospital Jeddah to
be the first in the Middle East to purchase
it, along with Brainlab latest technologies,
and thus taking steps towards creating
state-of-the-art, integrated operating
suites with Brainlab solutions.
Mecomed – working for the benefit of the
medical technology manufacturing industry
Middle East Health spoke to Craig McLaren,
the Chairman of Mecomed, about the association
which represents medical technology
manufacturing companies – mostly multinationals
– active in the MENA region.
McLaren, who is also the Regional Managing
Director, MD&D, Johnson & Johnson
for Middle East, Egypt and Pakistan,
explained that the association took effect
in 2007 and keeps growing each year as
new companies join.
“Currently we represent 18 organisations
and we expect it to grow to about 22 by the
end of this year – which will represent about
80% of the industry,” he said.
“We have five steering groups of activity,”
“Each organisation can participate
in these steering groups.”
These cover regulatory activity, healthcare
compliance, diagnosis related groups,
industry data analysis, and a marketing
He said that perhaps the most important
of these – or where they have had the most
traction – is the group dealing with regulatory
“As markets around the region become
increasingly regulated, Mecomed has set up
this group to better understand the needs
and challenges that are being faced in each
country – not just us as a technology association,
but also to see if there is a way we
can collaborate and assist the authorities to
smooth the path for them in setting up a
“Because we represent global companies
we can draw on our experiences in Europe,
the US and other emerging markets to assist
local authorities in terms of reference points.”
He explained that with rapidly evolving
regulations the association also assists their
members to gain clarity on new regulations.
“We act as a single point of contact for our
members and the authorities,” he said. Another important part of their work is
to help members with business integrity or
“We live in a part of the world where
the corruption index is still fairly high.
We represent companies who are increasingly
having more of a presence in these
markets, but at the same time rely on
distributors as a third party intermediary.
So what we are trying to do is establish a
common code of ethics within the region
and within our industry to stop behaviour
that is unacceptable. In this way we
can cut out wastage in the system which
will ultimately benefit the patient.”
He mentioned as an example healthcare
practitioners going for a meeting in a
beach resort. “This used to happen regularly
in this region, but this for us would
not be viewed as acceptable as this sort of
meeting should not be considered a holiday.
It should be a serious meeting with scientific
content, so the value of these meetings
will ultimately benefit the patient.”
Another area of their work has to do
with ‘diagnosis related groups’ or DRGs. This steering group is looking at
in a healthcare system.
been recently introduced by the Health
Authority in Abu Dhabi and other regions
in the Gulf are considering it.
This is reimbursement for a procedure,
for example, paid for by the funder, whether
it be a health insurance company or a
“The challenge is to get reimbursement
set at the right levels so you get an efficient
system, but you don’t compromise on quality
for the patient,”
He said they were also doing work internal
to the industry and noted the lack
of good data available to their members,
for example, determining benchmarks for
rewarding people who work in the industry.
This is available from research done
for the pharmaceutical industry, but there
is very little data on this in the medical
“One of the things we have been able to
do is work within our own membership and
work with an external organisation to provide
our members classified data so they in
turn can provide the industry with a common
set of data points.
So, for example, they
can say the average salary for a sales manager
in Saudi Arabia is X and in the UAE it is Y.
“In this way we can add value for our
The fifth group has to do with marketing
Mecomed in the short and long term.
He concluded by saying they have seen
substantial change in the medical industry
in the past two years, but he believed this
was just the tip of the iceberg.
markets look set to experience massive
change in the next five years, the work of Mecomed will become increasingly important
– and increasingly large. And hopefully
we will start to have more collaborative
work with the authorities.”
Super hygiene qualities of Nora rubber
flooring systems make it ideal for healthcare
We spoke to Martin Koch and Steven Mc-
Fadden of Nora Systems, a specialist manufacturer
of customised rubber flooring solutions
tailored to the healthcare industry.
Koch is the Chief Communication Officer
for the company and McFadden is the regional
manager for the Middle East.
Germany-based company Nora Systems
develops, manufactures and markets highquality,
resilient floor coverings. With a
market share of over 80% in Germany and
more than 50% worldwide, nora systems is
the global market leader in the market for
rubber floor coverings. The main focus of
its business activities lies in the market segments
of health care, education, transportation,
industry and public buildings, as well as
commerce and services.
The company opened a subsidiary office
for the Middle East region in May 2011.
Koch explained that Nora floor coverings
are based on high-quality natural and
industrial rubber, which is mixed with
naturally occurring minerals and other
components such as environmentally
compatible colour pigments, drawn into
blanks, pressed and then vulcanised under
heat and high pressure. “This process gives
the coverings their permanently resilient
qualities and resistant surface. Nora floor
coverings are practically indestructible,
displaying scarcely any signs of wear even
after years of intensive use.”
With more than 300 shades of colour,
different surface structures and inlays for
innumerable composition possibilities, the
standard Nora assortment gives architects,
planners and building developers a wide array
of options for creative interior design.
Key to Nora’s flooring is its capacity to
maintain a high degree of hygiene and
clean air – essential for any healthcare environment.
Hygiene problems can be caused by floor
coverings of linoleum or PVC because their
polyurethane coatings are only a few micrometres
thick and are open to attack from
dirt particles. These open up fine cracks or
microscopic holes that viruses and bacteria
start colonising very soon after.
“An alternative for perfect hygiene is
provided by rubber floor coatings from Nora systems. Owing to their extremely
tight surface and their UV polymerisation,
they need neither a coating nor varnish.
The danger of viruses or bacteria penetrating
the floor covering is therefore eliminated,”
Unlike other flexible floor coverings,
Nora rubber coverings do not present gaps
that must be sealed – and that therefore
provide a further niche for microbes. Even
after thorough cleaning, the gaps in floor
coverings can still offer pathogens a place
where they can settle and multiply.
Nora rubber coverings do not contain plasticisers (phthalates), so they cannot
shrink, for instance like PVC floor coverings,
when these substances volatilise over
time. Rubber floor coverings retain their
dimensions even after decades. Yet their
gap free installation minimises not only
the danger of microbial invasion.
“There is also no time consuming and
costly sealing maintenance, so Nora floor
coverings are also the most economical solution for clinics over the long term.
“Moreover, a floor covering’s disinfectant
properties are also very important for
an extensive hygiene concept at hospitals.
Nora rubber floor coverings are resistant
to surface disinfectants. Also the short
term action of solvents or diluted acids or
alkalis leave no permanent marks. Even
substances containing iodine like skin
disinfectants can be removed with ease,”
“Rubber floor coverings not only present
convincing hygiene aspects. Especially
hospitals and healthcare facilities attach
great importance to the quality of indoor
air. Nora system blue is a low emission
system that applies not only to the rubber
covering itself, but also to all of the installation
The sealed and uncoated surface of Nora
rubber floor coverings also makes unnecessary
the use of aggressive cleaning agents
– and this too helps to minimise emissions
to indoor air.
Speech recognition software set to change
the face of medical reporting
Nuance Communications, the maker of the
well-known Dragon Dictate voice recognition
software which magically turns speech
into text, was at Arab Health to show off
their new voice recognition software developed
specifically for the healthcare industry.
We spoke to Anne Durand-Badel, International
Marketing Manager at Nuance, about
the product – Dragon Medical.
Durand-Badel explained that by using
Dragon Medical, doctors can use their
voice to efficiently navigate clinical systems
and dictate medical decisions and
treatment plans directly into a patient’s
“Dragon Medical allows doctors to dictate
in their own words, generating ‘once
and done’ documentation which they can
dictate, edit and sign in succession.”
Doctors further accelerate the dictation
process by operating macros to re-use frequently-
“This approach dramatically reduces the
time doctors spend documenting care. Dragon
Medical is the only product from the
Dragon family that automatically encrypts all audio and text data, thereby
patient security and confidentiality, a necessity
for all medical organisations.”
She said the company works closely
with Hospital Information System (HIS)
development companies, like Cerner and
GE Healthcare, to tie in the voice recognition
software with the electronic patient
record and other areas of the HIS.
Durand-Badel noted that the system does
require some initial training and following
this you can expect around 90-95% accuracy.
“The system has been designed to understand
specific voice accents such as those
of the United States, England, France,
Australia and others,” she said.
In the demo Nuance provided for Middle
East Health the system clearly understood
the accent of an Egyptian voice speaking
English and it picked up some fairly complex
words correctly, like ‘atherosclerosis’
and ‘cardio-vascular disease’.
Durand-Badel said the company was
working with regional partner Emerging Technologies. By working with the local
partner “Nuance Healthcare is able to
provide a localised service for customers
across the Middle East, providing a voice
recognition solution for the multi-lingual,
multi-cultural community of doctors in the
region. The software is capable of learning
and adapting to its users and is able to recognise
different accents, making the native
language of the user no barrier to the ability
to enjoy the benefits of the technology.”
She said the Ministry of Health of the
United Arab Emirates awarded Nuance
Communications and partner Emerging
Technologies a contract to roll out voice
recognition in a first phase to over 1000
medical professionals at the country’s hospitals
and clinics in 2012.
Sheikh Khalifa Medical City and Cleveland
Clinic Abu Dhabi have also installed
“We have had a lot of interest across the
region,” she said.
The state of the art Sidra medical facility
in Doha, due to open later this year, has
also installed Dragon Medical.
Philips Healthcare shows off
some of their research work
We spoke to Dr Henk van Houten, General
Manager Philips Research, Programme
Manager Healthcare, about some of their
products that are in the research pipeline.
“In research we have a number of innovation
areas, but let us focus specifically on
oncology,” Van Houten said.
He said Philips was looking at new
screening solutions for breast cancer based
on photon counting. Simply put, this device
measures the intensity and phase of
light that is beamed through the breast
and in this way it can detect tumours in
the breast tissue more accurately than xray
He also talked about the research Philips
is doing into creating low stress environments
for patients to help them make
important decisions with better clarity of
mind – for example if the patient is faced
with a choice of different approaches to
treat prostate cancer. Philips has created
an environment – a special room with ambient
lighting that can be adjusted to the
appropriate mood. In this room the patient
is presented information – gathered during
consultation with a specialist – that is
specific to his or her condition. With this
tailored information and in this stress-reducing
environment the patient should be
better equipped to make a clear decision
when faced with a variety of options.
Dr Matthew Harris, Senior Manager
Communications, Philips Group Innovation,
explained: “What you have here is
technology that is personalised to the patient,
so that patient’s profile and risk stratification
is presented to them so they can
understand the benefits and side-effects of
Although this low-stress environment is
still in the research phase, it is envisaged
that a hospital or cancer centre would incorporate
such a space into the building as
a service for their patients.
In a press statement Philips pointed
out that the World Health Organisation
(WHO) estimates that there are more than
272,000 cancer-related deaths in the Middle East and North Africa annually and
set to increase significantly by 2030. WHO
has determined that the priority areas for
intervention are: primary prevention and
early detection, particularly of breast cancer;
integration of cancer interventions into
primary health care; and promotion of palliative
care, including home care.
The company noted that they were developing
oncology solutions appropriate
for the region. Some of these were on show
at Arab Health including the Sonalleve
MR-HIFU therapy system which is being
studied as a non-invasive method for
destroying tumours in the body, as well as
the a home clinical monitoring prototype
system designed to support cancer patients
being given chemotherapy.
Dr Van Houten explained that the
home clinical monitoring prototype measures
the white blood cell count as this is
an early indicator of whether the patient is
strong enough to endure the next chemotherapy
The prototype device is 3G enabled so
the physician can read the patient’s white blood cell count and let the patient
whether they should stay at home or visit
the cancer centre for the next session of chemo.
The benefits of this are obvious – such
as avoiding the inconvenience and unnecessary
stress to the patient of travelling to the
cancer centre for chemotherapy only to find
when they get there that they are not strong
enough for the next chemo session.
Dr Van Houten pointed out that Philips
started putting some of their research
work on the exhibition floor at RSNA a
few years ago – an initiative to get feedback
from medical professionals.
“It’s been working very well,” he said.
Diederik Zeven, General Manager, Philips
Healthcare Middle East and Turkey,
highlighted the ambient experience room
they had on the show floor at a previous
Arab Health exhibition as an example of
how they show off some of their research,
and added one of the results of this was a
large order for the ambient experience setup
by the Farah Medical Complex in Amman
(reported in the January 2013 issue of
Middle East Health).
of upload: 10th Apr 2013