Coronavirus: How Healthcare Automation Helped Beat COVID-19

4 min read
Coronavirus: How Healthcare Automation Helped Beat COVID-19
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While working on social and digital media content aggregation programme based on Expo 2020 Dubai, I was exposed to coronavirus and was declared positive for Covid by the American Hospital testing point on 18 June this year. I immediately I went into self-isolation at my service apartment. However, within days, on 21 June, I felt my situation worsening since I am diabetic.

So, I most promptly contacted Dubai Health Authority (DHA), a government run organisation for the residents of Dubai, which coordinates the patient’s status and conditions. An ambulance was sent and I was picked up to be taken to one of their research and referral centers.

After preliminary tests and checkups, was diagnosed to be in a serious condition. Within an hour, I was shifted to Al Zahra Hospital, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, a super specialty 185 bed hospital where 10 units were dedicated ICUs for COVID positive patients.

Admitted to the hospital by 11 pm, 21 June, the attending team came in action immediately for further tests, for diagnosis and in procedures for the required protocols. By morning, I was declared in requirement of noninvasive ventilation and high low nasal cannula with extreme pneumonia and severe chest infections. The entire paraphernalia of the attending team of doctors and allied staff became active on all required parameters and I could sense the hectic discussions regarding my well-being.

What was most satisfying was that the entire systematic structure of the hospital was automated and seamless with a centralised server command distributing data simultaneously at multiple levels along with centralised oxygen supply system. More than 10 different departments were connected or integrated into one control system. I was being tested and sampled on for 4 – 6 hours.

My parameters were being closely monitored by a dedicated, personalised staff 24 x 7. All data related to my body and physical conditions were seen immediately by concerned departments and calculated how to be treated and medicated on the basis of data updating.


First three days of my hospitalisation were really critical and tense but then it picked up well and from the fourth day onwards, I was on the expected roadmap and all was within control.

I was in the ICU for eight days and then in the general ward for 4 days. I got two consecutive negative reports on the ninth day itself. After a successful treatment I was discharged from the hospital after 12 days on 3 July.

The establishments, equipment, system integration and overall set up and infrastructure of the hospital was amazing. This was something like what we are used to work in our most sophisticated broadcast newsroom automation, ENPS (Electronic News Production System) or Octopus series.

At the Al Zahra Hospital, it appeared almost similar to me something akin to what the modern aircrafts are designed to fly on complete auto pilots, called fly by wire, that can even land without human intervention! But still, like we need pilots in cockpit, editors in newsroom and so doctors at wards! So, what does automation mean to us?

Automation actually stands for maximum computerization command and robotics, minimizing human intervention. Similarly, the medical and health parameters are required to develop the same seamless pattern and authorized mechanism.


What is striking is that, at the same time last year, the impact of coronavirus was catastrophic and beyond control in the most developed world. US, UK, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Spain etc. were all severely impacted. The single flag, passport and currency user EU (European Union) stopped the gates and closed the shutters for each other! Why so?

The western most developed world has done massive investment on food industry, retail, production, supply chain, natural resources excavations, trade and commerce and services (including financial) automation but always ignored and was least concerned for public health and healthcare automation. Therefore, they were heavily shaken up by the unseen, unexpected catastrophic attack of COVID 19! Furthermore, US along with its western allies were self–centered.

Coronavirus has in fact exposed the misplaced confidence and the western world’s ability to handle such a crisis. Especially in the US, the political and institutional failures cascaded through the system and opportunities to mitigate the pandemic were lost. The US went down miserably that was supposedly and expected to be the best prepared to fight a pandemic, however it ended up catastrophically overmatched by the novel Coronavirus, sustaining heavier casualties than any other nation in the world!


The stories from Europe too, had more or less the same storyboard, financial landscape and ecosystems. After America, the worst affected on the global map have been Italy, Greece, Spain, apart from some grievous casualties from Germany and United Kingdom.

But at the same time, small city sates, like Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan and if we treat Dubai as well a city state, have very patiently and silently given priority to the development of automation based public healthcare infrastructure.

It has paid them well to fight against these unseen and unexpected attacks from Corona variants.

Hence, in a nutshell, what I would like to say as my final concluding remarks is why Dubai rules?

The answer lies in the same reasons as to why Emirates always overshadows BA, KLM, American or Delta! And why Burj Al Arab always shines more glorious, glamorous and glittering than the Grosvenor House, the Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons of the western world? The same is applicable here.

Despite the super presence of American, Canadian, German and British Hospitals in this city and region, Al Zahra Hospital comes out as a super winner on the most demanding standards and parameters, cutting edge technology implementation, setting up benchmarks for public healthcare priorities and requirements without any doubt.


I am thankful that the virus caught up with me in Dubai and that I was taken under the able hands of the dedicated team of the AL Zahra Hospital.

(Rakesh Shukla is a senior broadcast journalist based in Dubai working on one of the Social and Digital Media Content Aggregation Programs, based on Expo 2020, Dubai.)

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