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Artificial intelligence (AI) has been employed at 11 of Seha's healthcare centres in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) has implemented artificial intelligence (AI) at 11 of its healthcare centres for significantly faster reading and interpretation of retinal images.

In line with SEHA’s commitment to enhancing patient outcomes through the latest innovations, the new service will largely benefit SEHA’s diabetic patients and facilitate early detection and intervention of retinopathy, a condition resulting in impairment or loss of vision.

As the leading provider of preventive care with a focus on prevalent chronic diseases, SEHA healthcare centres regularly conduct retinal screening for diabetic patients to detect retinopathy. In the past, retinal scans needed to be read and interpreted by ophthalmologists. Even without referring to an ophthalmologist, the results were available after three days. The integration of AI means the results are now available after just three seconds and will facilitate faster intervention.

Dr. Noura Al Ghaithi, Acting Chief Executive Officer at Ambulatory Healthcare Services, said, “As awareness and acceptance of screening increases among diabetic patients, and with the increasing numbers of diabetic patients who need to be screened over the years, we invested in new technology to provide faster results. By further integrating this technology with SEHA’s electronic medical record system, Salamtak, we are building a truly unified healthcare ecosystem with patients at its core.”

Bader Al Qubaisi, Group Chief Information Officer at SEHA, said, “In our role as a leader in preventive care, we are constantly discovering new ways to enhance and accelerate early detection and treatment of diseases. AI is a powerful tool for the healthcare industry in improving the speed of diagnosis, and the launch of this new technology is a model example of how AI can benefit our patients. Receiving retinal scan results in a mere three seconds is a fantastic step and one that will allow for faster patient referrals to relevant subspecialties for treatment.”

The service is now available at the following healthcare centres in Abu Dhabi (Al Bahia Healthcare Centre, Al Maqtaa Healthcare Centre, Al Zafaranah Diagnostic & Screening Centre, Madinat Mohamed bin Zayed Healthcare Centre); in Al Ain (Al Hili Healthcare Centre, Al Jahili Healthcare Centre, Al Muwaiji Healthcare Centre, Al Quaa Healthcare Centre, Al Yahar Healthcare Centre, Ain Mezyad Healthcare Centre, Oud Al Touba Diagnostic & Screening Centre).

The retinal imaging services at SEHA are an integral part of the network’s care delivery model called Patient-Centred Medical Home (PCMH), branded locally as Baytona Al Tebbi. The programme links a patient or a family with a primary healthcare provider to keep track of their health throughout their lifespan. Using a multi-disciplinary approach, the programme aims at providing patients with comprehensive care including coordination with tertiary care hospitals. It ensures that patients, especially those with chronic diseases, undergo regular screenings.