Taking Care of Telehealth Payments in the Middle East

9 September 2021
Carrier Billing

Telehealth Middle East Market Overview

Telemedicine in the Middle East and Africa is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 10.80% from 2021-2026, from 3.86 billion to 6.44 billion USD.

In terms of its healthcare system, the Middle East was already “on a transformational journey” even before the COVID-19 pandemic, with a more recently amped up timeline.

Although telehealth is currently a small sector within the overall healthcare market, it is one of the fastest growing, recently aided by healthcare reforms. Experts predict that virtual healthcare will become the new normal in the Middle East, even after COVID-19 slows down.

Patient Benefits of Telehealth

Remote healthcare is an effective and sustainable solution that connects “people, physicians and health systems”.

This immediate care is especially great for disabled patients, those living in remote locations and others unable to take time off work. Patients can access “personal medical information and lab test results, refill needed prescriptions, schedule appointments with a physician and receive important updates and reminders tailored to their needs.”

Telehealth Middle East Market Growth Drivers

Although a dominant growth factor for Telehealth in the Middle East has been COVID-19, “mandatory health insurance and rise in penetration of private health insurance players covering telemedicine services” are also driving adoption.

Telehealth is a gateway to how healthcare will be delivered in the future, making the transition to consumer-focused care models.

  • Healthcare leaders in the Middle East have been focusing on digital healthcare development as the population has increased, coupled with an uptake in digitalisation as people embrace more digital tools in their everyday lives
  • The UAE government “supports the establishment of a telematics infrastructure and the advancement of telemedicine applications with the aim of country-wide provision of healthcare services in the long term”
  • Over 50% of UAE hospitals use IoT-based solutions, with 90% of doctors providing healthcare via smartphones and medical apps 
  • Several UAE companies already provide telehealth services, including Health at Hand, TruDoc 24×7 and InstaPract
  • The younger population within the Middle East also makes it easier to implement telehealth – 85% are aged under 45 and “mobile technology, laptops and tablets have over 90 per cent penetration in the region”

Opportunities for Telehealth in the Middle East

90% of healthcare providers have “already begun developing or implementing a telemedicine program into their organisations” due to its convenience and accessibility, while also reducing non-urgent emergency visits.

  • The demand for telehealth is already there – a global Cisco survey found that 74% of patients “prefer easy access to healthcare services over in-person interactions with providers”
  • Insurance companies have discovered that telemedicine can significantly reduce healthcare service costs
  • Dr.Alobeidi Head of Telemedicine at Medcare Hospitals & Medical centres in the UAE said that “telemedicine can help boost revenue by turning on-call hours into billable time, attracting new patients and reducing no-shows”
  • Mhealth apps & wearables – there is a need to develop mHealth solutions that can “integrate various platforms catering to multiple user needs”

It’s clear that telemedicine has become a great communication and treatment tool, removing limitations and barriers to patient care. The foundations of telehealth are built on improving convenience and ease of accessibility. In the same sense, fast and frictionless mobile payment methods that fit with consumer preferences should also be considered.

Carrier billing is simple, seamless and accessible to all. Allowing patients to pay for their telehealth services in this way will continue to extend the reach of services to a healthy amount of customers within not only the Middle East market, but globally. Get in touch with SLA Digital today to find out more.


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