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Health Strategy 2021 of Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is on track, said senior DHA officials at a strategy review meeting.

Humaid Al Qutami, Chairman of the Board and Director-General of the DHA, said: “The strategy announced in 2016 has been chalked out after comprehensive research and analysis and is divided into three waves — immediate, medium and long-term. It has 15 programmes and more than 100 initiatives under those programmes so that we can implement, track and monitor progress. We have achieved significant progress in several key initiatives such as the implementation of the electronic medical records. In order to achieve sustained progress it is important to analyse the progress of the initiatives, support initiatives that are facing challenges through analysis and evaluation. These initiatives will directly benefit patients, hospital management, health investors and thus the overall health sector.”

Al Qutami added in line with the UAE Artificial Intelligence strategy launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the DHA will further bolster its plans to incorporate Artificial Intelligence and latest technologies in health care. The Health Strategy programmes are multi-pronged and cover technology and e-services, public health, primary health care projects and centres of excellence among other health care topics.

Technology, apps and telemedicine

Dr Mohammad Al Redha, Director of the Office of Organisational Transformation at the DHA, highlighted the initiatives that are implemented or off the ground. The initiatives fall under the 15 programmes of the strategy.

Some of the initiatives under this programme are:

3D printing: A strategy for 3D printing is already in place. In fact, the dental department of DHA has already begun using 3D printing technology. The DHA has also used this technology to carry out some complicated surgeries such as heart surgeries. By the end of 2017, certain 3D services such as 3D printed casts for fractures will be available at DHA health facilities.

Telemedicine: A regulatory framework for telemedicine has been completed and in future, people will have helpline numbers that they can call with regard to medical queries. Doctors will address their queries and direct them to either specialised consultation, advice whether they need to visit Emergency Room and even book appointments for them, based on their condition.

New apps: The DHA implemented recently the Smart Mazad app, the Blood Donation app to add to its list of existing apps and more apps are in the pipeline that will be introduced shortly.

Data and technology (medical informatics) programme: Under this programme, some of the initiatives are:

DHA-wide patient medical record project:

DHA’s electronic patient medical record project known as Salama is on track and by the end of 2017, it will be implemented across all DHA facilities, ensuring all facilities have electronic medical records and that the Authority moves to a paperless system.

Currently, the project is in third phase. The DHA’s IT department has unified about 1.4 million records and more than 112 million transactions have passed through this system during the first phase which took place in April. Subsequently, from then on, until now, 115,181 new electronic medical records were created in the system and approximately an additional 30 million transactions have been migrated in order to support the phase two roll-out.

The DHA-wide project will ensure electronic patient medical record is available across the DHA health facilities. Additionally, it will help provide patients access to their medical record through a patient portal. Health care providers will receive consolidated and integrated patient information, which gives providers a rapid, complete overview of the patient’s condition. Moreover, allergy warnings will be displayed on the screen, which directly results in minimising any medication errors.

Prevention and healthy lifestyle programmes

•School health policy and non-communicable diseases policy have been developed

•Genetic mapping and social prescribing: DHA researchers are working on a project to understand how genetics play a role in disease manifestation. After the research is complete, they will incorporate the results and conclusions into the complete health spectrum, which means from prevention strategies to primary care, extended care and lifestyle modification.

Public health and safety programme:

The public health and safety programme focuses on how to create healthy indoor and outdoor environments. This includes occupational health and safety as well as home health and safety.

Preventive strategies and epidemiological studies are on track.

Primary care programmes:

• Focus on urgent-care model across primary health care centres: After the successful implementation of 24 hour urgent care facilities in DHA’s Al Barsha and Nad Al Hamar health centres, the DHA is working on initiatives to see how it can be implemented across other primary health care centres.

•Dental care: Child health dental sessions were expanded to 5,000 sessions per year in 2016. The team is working on a complete continuum of care programme, which includes prevention and oral hygiene strategy in schools, including prevention and screening programmes.

•Mental and behavioural disorders: The DHA is working on a complete mental health strategy.

Medical tourism programme: Under this programme the medical tourism insurance, patient protection plan and other such measures have been implemented in 2016 to ensure patient safety and further bolster the Dubai Medical Tourism initiative.

Chronic disease management programme: Some of the initiatives under this programme are:

Focus on speciality centres: A new DHA-run dialysis speciality centre will be built in Al Barsha.

Workforce and medical education: The DHA is working on developing medical educational programmes for Emiratis in areas of need.

Insurance and health financing programme: Insurance pricing models and fraud detection programmes are in the pipeline to further strengthen the functioning of the overall health sector.

Public private partnership and investment: A public-private partnership and investment promotion plan is in the pipeline

The updated strategy aligns with Dubai strategic plan 2021, the national UAE plan, key stakeholders as well as addresses evolving external environment matters.

Centres of Excellence: In order to provide highly-specialised care, the DHA will establish centres of excellence. The Dubai Health Authority, GE Healthcare and Columbia Heart Source (the clinical partner, part of New York Presbyterian Hospital), recently signed a memorandum of understanding to establish an international centre of cardiology which will enhance Dubai’s competitive capabilities on the international medical front in the field of cardiology and further bolster its position on the global medical tourism map.

Al Qutami added: “Cardiology is one of the most important fields of medicine and the DHA is aware of the growing demand for its specialised health services across hospitals, primary care centres and specialised centres. The move to develop a centre of excellence is in line with our vision to provide specialised health care for our population and visitors alike.”

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