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Dubai: All government hospitals and primary health care centres run by the Dubai Health Authority will go paperless by 2021 and be electronically integrated for a seamless health care delivery system, a top DHA official said on the sidelines of the second edition of the Dubai Health Forum 2018.
There will be an eventual electronic integration of public and private hospitals both in Dubai and across the entire UAE, the official added.
Dr Mohammad Al Redha, director of the DHA’s Health Analysis and Information Management department, shared insights on the integrated Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (Emram), a US-based international digital benchmarking system that will transform health care, making it personalised, efficient and professional.
Elaborating on the system, Dr Redha said: “When you go to a city, how can one really know which hospital has paper files and which has a complete paperless system? The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) [in the US] developed Emram, which is an electronic medical record adoption framework model which uniformly scores hospitals on a scale of one to seven, according to their stages of digitisation. A zero score means you have a paper-based record system and a seven means you are completely paperless. Of course, hospitals can gradually progress from zero to four, which is midway to going paperless and gradually move towards seven. For me, it was a dream for Dubai where we had nearly 25 hospitals as it would be an efficient barometer for homogenised system.”
Dr Al Redha and his team adapted the system with minor tweaks to accommodate the needs of the UAE and then adopted the ranking model after intensive training in US.
Dr Redha was first introduced to Emram in 2008.
“In 2011, after the system was adopted, there were five hospitals at Stage Zero and none beyond Stage Four,” recalls Dr Redha. “After Emram was implemented by 2016, of the over 33 public and private hospitals by 2016, only two hospitals [remained] at Stage Zero [while] nearly 10 facilities where at Stage Five. In 2017 we have nearly four DHA hospitals — Rashid, Dubai, Latifa and Hatta hospitals — at stage six, indicating that we are moving towards a completely paperless system.”
Dr Al Redha said the complete implementation of Emram would speed up everything from patient appointments, tests conducted and test results to treatment protocols being created for patients.
“The waiting time for patients between appointments will be reduced. A patient can go for an appointment with an eye specialist at 12 noon and a gastroenterologist at 1pm as their files will be easily updated.”
The Emram system will also make it possible for hospitals across countries on the same score to link.
“It will become possible for a patient in a UAE hospital at [Stage] Six rating to link up with a hospital in the US at the same rating for robotics surgery,” he said.
The Emram model will be powered by the Salama electronic medical record system, making it easier for DHA patients to move seamlessly between government hospitals for now.
“Eventually public and private hospitals will be electronically integrated under the Nabidh project as per the Dubai Health Strategy 2021, and then integrated with all Ministry of Health and Prevention hospitals across the country as per the Numr project. With the implementation of the Nabidh and Numr projects, the electronic integration of health care systems in the UAE will come full circle.”