Abu Dhabi: A unified database will soon allow for electronic medical records to be shared between all health care facilities in Abu Dhabi, top health care officials announced in the capitalon January 23.
The database will be part of the Health Information Exchange, a centralised electronic platform designed to enhance health care connectivity. Titled Malaffi, the platform has already connected 18 hospitals and 65 medical centres and clinics. “The new database has been designed to reduce errors, duplication of treatment and testing, and support the efforts of health care professionals. We are witnessing a new milestone in Abu Dhabi’s health care sector,” said Abdullah Al Hamed, chairman at the Abu Dhabi’s health care regulator, the Department of Health.
18Hospitals already linked to the Malaffi system
Al Hamed was speaking at an event held to officially launch Malaffi, where it was announced that six health care providers have already joined the platform. They include public health provider Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Imperial College Diabetes Centre, Healthpoint, United Eastern Medical Services and Oasis Hospital in Al Ain.
Public health care facilities in the emirate have used a shared database since 2008, but information stored on it was not shared with other facilities outside the Seha network. In practice, doctors still rely on patient testimonies to develop medical histories.
65medical centres and clinics by Malaffi
By the end of 2019, all 2,000 public and private health care providers are expected to be on Malaffi, which is being developed in collaboration with Injazat Data Systems, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Government-owned investment firm, Mubadala. It will be operated by a new project company, Abu Dhabi Health Data Services.
Once complete, the records of more than three million patients will be included on the database.
“The benefits will be substantial, even though they cannot be fully predicted as this will be the first health information exchange system in the region. Most notably, patients will not have to remember all their past medical details. Not only will this be convenient, but it will also reduce errors when a patient is taken in for emergency treatment and is not fully alert or conscious,” said Dr Ben Hanson, senior vice-president for clinical alliances at the Health Information Exchange.
Officials added that the data generated will also guide authorities to take better public health decisions.
“A linked patient portal will empower patients who will have access to their medical histories as well,” Dr Hanson added.
“[Within the next decade], I believe the UAE can set up a nationwide platform that will give patients the medical care they need on time,” said Dr Rakesh Suri, chief executive officer at the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
At present, Dubai is already working to widen its Salama medical record system. No other country boasts such a widespread system till date, although Estonia has a birth-to-death health record system.