Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (centre front), First Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE, touring Arab Health on Monday in Dubai Image Credit: X/@DXBMediaOffice

Dubai: Dubai is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect the health risks for chronic diseases, especially diabetes, offering better quality of life to individuals at high risk and cutting treatment cost by 30 per cent, it was revealed at Arab Health on Monday.

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The EJADA Ai system is achieving remarkable results by implementing a preemptive prevention system for diseases and their complications, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said.

On Monday, the three-day Arab Health exhibition and conference was opened by Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE.

Speaking on the occasion of the event’s inauguration, Sheikh Maktoum said that under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the healthcare sector of Dubai is set to further consolidate its benchmarks of excellence by providing best-in-class infrastructure, deploying the latest technologies, and attracting skilled talent.

“Dubai’s focus on delivering high-quality, patient-centred medical care through strong public-private partnerships has significantly enhanced its reputation as a leading regional and global healthcare hub. By bringing together the world’s foremost healthcare expertise and institutions, and fostering an environment for excellence and innovation in the sector, Dubai continues to consolidate its status as a premier healthcare destination. Healthcare remains one of our highest priorities in line with the government’s objective to make Dubai one of the world’s best places to live and work,” Sheikh Maktoum added.

Diabetes burden

Using over 360 million patient activities, diagnoses, and patient notes since the launch of the system in mid-2022, EJADA Ai identifies individuals most susceptible to diabetes risks and reduces the financial burden of the disease by 30 per cent by enhancing the healthy lifestyle of the population.

Saleh Al Hashimi, CEO of the Dubai Health Insurance Corporation at the Authority, stated that the EJADA Ai system has succeeded in identifying diabetes patients most prone to disease complications and risks, as well as individuals closest to developing diabetes.

Al Hashimi said the proactive preventive measures taken based on the data collected using AI aim to protect diabetes patients from potential health deterioration and prevent individuals at risk of developing diabetes.

According to the Health Accounts System for Dubai in 2022, healthcare expenditure in the region reached Dh21.4 billion, with Dh21.2 billion spent within Dubai and Dh179 million outside the emirate.

The cost of treating diabetes patients covered by health insurance alone has exceeded two billion dirhams in Dubai, Al Hashimi said. However, the proactive preventive measures will enable the Authority to reduce the financial burden, for both the treatment of diabetes patients and the expected burden for individuals at risk, by 25-30 per cent. “This demonstrates the importance of DHA embracing such a state-of-the-art Ai driven system.”

How AI helps

Wedad Binbraik, director of the Health Economics and Insurance Policies Department at DHA, told Gulf News that diabetes, along with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma, has been selected as one of the three chronic diseases in the initial phase of the AI project. She highlighted the role of AI in identifying high risks using various indicators, going beyond lifestyle factors. “We are not predicting high risks based on just lifestyle issues any more.

AI helps in linking diverse factors that may manifest in different tests and provides a comprehensive narrative that extends beyond lifestyle influences.”

Wedad Binbraik (R) explaining EJADA at Arab Health Image Credit: Supplied

Preventive measures

Al Hashimi said: “The measures taken by the Authority for preventive healthcare are implemented seamlessly and accurately among health insurance experts, the DHA’s Public Health Protection Department and in close collaboration with insurance companies and healthcare facilities. This is in addition to the two companies, Merck Gulf and AstraZeneca Gulf, who are partners with the Authority in implementing the initiative to enhance early detection, prediction, and management of chronic diseases.”

The system aims to transition from a volume-based model to a value-based model.

30 diseases identified

Al Hashimi said DHA has identified 30 major diseases as priorities within the system until 2025, based on Major Diagnostic Categories (MDC), considering several factors, including the increasing number of patients, rising claim numbers, and the significant cost burden.

“Over 50 per cent of the selected clinical recommendations and Key Performance Indicator (KPI) documents have been developed through collaborative efforts with expert committees to ensure consistent adherence to these essential clinical recommendations and KPI guidelines. The Authority has also provided advanced training programmes for over 2000 healthcare providers and insurance companies, totaling 3750 training hours, covering more than half of the specified diseases in the program.”

7 advantages

Regarding the significant advantages of the EJADA Ai system, Al Hashimi indicated that these advantages revolve around seven main axes, namely:

Rich data: EJADA Ai uses a vast dataset of electronic claims data in Dubai, including data from approximately 4 million insured individuals and over 360 million patient activities, diagnoses, and patient notes since the launch of the system in mid-2022.

Comprehensive solution for chronic diseases: Unlike many artificial intelligence systems that focus on a single aspect of chronic diseases, EJADA Ai provides customised insights for chronic diseases at all stages, to meet the needs of diagnosed and undiagnosed patients.

Early detection and intervention: EJADA Ai provides risk scores to identify undiagnosed individuals and those at high risk among the general population, enabling early intervention and prevention of chronic diseases.

Management of disease complications: EJADA Ai offers insights, risk scores, and high-cost disease complications, aiding healthcare specialists in dealing with disease progression and improving patient outcomes.

Disease prediction and resource optimisation: EJADA Ai facilitates precise planning and budget allocation by predicting diseases, providing a comprehensive view of expected costs for each disease, and detailing categories such as medication expenses, inpatient care, and consultation fees.

Advanced technology and real-time adaptability: EJADA Ai benefits from advanced learning models for accumulated data over time, providing dynamic predictions and risk scores updated with any changes in the patient’s condition.

Leading solution for global impact: As the first-of-its-kind in the region and a leading global model, EJADA Ai serves as a comprehensive solution for managing and preventing chronic diseases, enhancing Dubai’s position as a distinguished global healthcare destination.