Dubai: Patients in waiting rooms and those admitted to hospitals will soon have technology at their fingertips – literally, through Android tablets, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) announced on Tuesday.
In a few weeks, more than 3,000 tablets will be deployed across the Authority’s network of primary health centres (PHCs), hospitals and speciality centres.
According to the Authority, the tablet initiative is the first in the region.
The tablets with built-in connectivity will provide access to DHA’s services, promote health education, allow access to e-government services, and serve as a platform for surveys and feedback. For those looking to while away time there will be recreation options including social media and games.
In vision, the tablet initiative will change the current health-care model to a paperless and dynamic delivery system and turn the focus on customer satisfaction.
The move is in direct response to the Smart Government directive of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The Smart Government initiative enables all government services to be accessible via smartphones and smart platforms.
The move is also in line with the Authority’s Strategy 2013-2025, which has four goals — prevention and awareness; easy access to health services; quality, and investment and competitiveness.
Tablet technology in health care is a global trend. Smart devices with various applications have transformed the way health care is delivered and accessed. Health-care providers use the platform to disseminate information on prevention of chronic diseases and on healthy lifestyle choices with an aim to reduce health-care costs.
Addressing the media, Engineer Eisa Al Maidour, director-general of the DHA, spoke of customer care as a priority. He said excellence in health care services and customer care must go hand in hand. Towards this, the tablet initiative has been launched.
He said, “A patient in a waiting lounge can access e-government services and/or learn about availability of health services and health information. He can participate in our surveys and give us his feedback. Or he can use it for his entertainment. If he happens to be a hospitalised patient, he can connect to the outside world, giving him some form of normalcy.”
He explained that when a patient experience is enhanced, it enhances patient outcome and lowers cost.
The tablet initiative is part of the Authority’s Information Technology (IT) roadmap which comprises three inter-related categories - electronic medical records (EHR), health information system and smart hospitals.
Al Maidour told Gulf News, “The introduction of the tablets will enable us to achieve the categories within the next three years. We want a flexible and dynamic health-care system that will look into providing comprehensive electronic health records [medications, medical history, results and laboratory reports, etc] and a healthcare delivery system that is paperless, yet accessible to both patients and doctors,” he said.
Providing details on health information systems, Engineer Ali Al Mazyood told Gulf News, “Health information system of the future will use technology — through tablets — to control and manage all kinds of activities from accessing patients’ records to adjusting lighting and air-conditioning units at a facility. In this, the tablet is the infrastructure required to run the health information system that is being developed.”