Dubai hospitals get ‘smarter’

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Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has announced an initiative to mobile-enable the various services it provides to residents.

Dubai DHA smart hospitals

A top DHA official has said that hospital beds and waiting areas of all health centres, including hospitals and specialty centres will be equipped with Android tablets.

Mobile technology is poised to revolutionize Healthcare. The current one billion smartphones is expected to double before 2015 and several countries are starting taking advantage of this mobile revolution by adopting it to their hospitals and medical centres. Tablets have also been becoming more popular such that its sales have now outpaced PC’s. Powerful, and easy to carry around, these devices have changed the ways consumers can access information.

Dubai hospitals to get ‘smarter’

Mobile health, or mHealth for short, uses mobile technologies for health research and healthcare delivery. DHA’s latest initiative is in line with UAE’s vision to mobile-enable most of the government services as part of its m-government initiative, which aims to deliver most of the government services on mobile devices round the clock.

Deloitte in its mHealth in an mWorld report says: The smart phone has already become the keeper of an expanding array of health care apps that prod and poke the owner to become fitter, lose weight and be altogether healthier.  This trend, however, is just the beginning of a new mobile paradigm now emerging in health care.  Mobile technologies have become ubiquitous among health care consumers and professionals. Simultaneously, the healthcare industry is moving towards a delivery model that is patient-centered and value-based.

Essa Al Maidoor; “In line with the Smart Government initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the DHA has chalked out a road-map towards total IT solutions that will significantly enhance not only customer experience but also the manner in which healthcare is delivered and managed.

The deployment of android tablets across DHA healthcare entities is the first step in our plan to build ‘smart hospitals’ that will be integrated with the latest IT technology to enhance customer experience. Customer care is at the heart of the Dubai Health Strategy 2013-2025 and these initiatives are aimed to improve the user experience of patients.” — Essa Al Maidoor, Engineer and Director-general of the DHA

Al Maidoor also mentioned that the plan also includes the Electronic Medical Records system, the Health Information System and Smart Hospitals. He also said that the whole system would be different from traditional systems because it would be kept updated and the patient record would not just be on paper but available on a medical network, which could be used by doctors and experts to check a patient’s past records. This would also make sure that the patients receive the best medical attention and diagnosis.

According to the reports, the number of Android tablets provided to the DHA primary health centres would be 3,000.  This would also include specialty centres and other centres. If the numbers are to be broken down, then 784 beds in Rashid Hospital and 712 beds in Dubai Hospital, followed by 448 beds in Latifa Hospital and 119 beds in Hatta Hospital. DHA plans to keep a check on the system and also add more tablets in the future. Also, a feedback system would be in order to make this system better and improve its infrastructure.

Dubai Health Authority has always been welcoming to such technological improvements. In 2011 smartphone applications were introduced which were developed internally. These applications are equipped with health related features, including Body Mass Index calculator, and directory of the facilities provided by the authority and so on. Children’s vaccination schedules can also be checked through the application. The application is available for all the major platforms (including iOs, Android etc.).

Dr. Faisal Ali Mousa; “Patients will be able to browse information that is useful for them. This includes all DHA services, pharmacy services and other health services such as physiotherapy and rehabilitation services. They will also be able to browse the internet which will be provided through the wi-fi network. The project will take a month to complete and will significantly enhance patient experience.” — Dr. Faisal Ali Mousa, Chairman of FAM Holding – Dubai

The initiative is a positive sign

Mordi Chukwu; Mobile Technology is speedily gaining grounds in healthcare. It is in its ubiquitous nature fast becoming a kind of ‘Swiss Army Knife’ in the field of healthcare & medicine, gradually seeming as one of the most exciting & innovative areas in this jurisdiction. Hence, owing to the vast potentialities of mobile technology and its associated ‘smart devices’ & the increasing use & adoption of these within the UAE and the Dubai emirate, it is therefore pertinent that the Dubai emirate’s health governing body – the DHA strategically adopt mHealth initiatives to enhance healthcare delivery and overall healthcare outcomes. — Mordi Chukwu, Dubai resident

Mobile technology in healthcare is not just an enabler, it saves billions in healthcare costs.

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