Dubai: Imagine being able to monitor the healing of your foot ulcer using the camera on your mobile phone without needing to visit the doctor.

In the not too distant future, this is how people will interact with their doctors and hospitals using technology, or e-Health, to access health care.

In a matter of months the UAE, too, will be in line with e-Health practices, Dr Ameen Al Amiri, CEO for Medical Practice and Licence at the Ministry of Health, said.

Al Amiri was speaking at the second annual Scientific e-Health Conference organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammad e-University (HBMeU) yesterday where he announced that the Ministry of Health will implement e-libraries in the next few months at its 14 hospitals as well as health care and dental centres.

This way health care professionals could collaborate and interpret medical literature with experts around the world and in the UAE.

Al Amiri said research has shown that physicians have about five questions for each patient, 52 per cent of which could be answered by the medical record or records in the hospital's information systems.

More benefits

Also, 25 per cent of the physician's questions could be answered by published information resources such as textbooks and journals "and here comes the importance of this conference and the proper implementation of e-learning".

"We at the UAE Ministry of Health have signed a contract to enhance the health information systems which cost millions to support at each hospital."

Although initially costly, the e-libraries will have long-term benefits as textbooks and journals are expensive to purchase and not easily accessible, he said.

Al Amiri said studies have shown that when specialists have easy access to information it changes the patient's care management.

Currently, the ministry has agreements with three universities with access to their libraries and some e-libraries at its hospitals and health care centres.

"We are seeing the transformation of health care… we are introducing the "e" into health to transform the health care industry," Dr Martin Denz, president, European Health Telematics Association of Switzerland, said at the event.

He said in any transformation process new processes and structures will be available while some will become obsolete.