ABU DHABI // Patients in the capital can now find a doctor, or check their doctor's credentials, at the click of a button. A new website launched by the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD) also allows people to "rate" more than 5,000 doctors from one star to five stars. Patients can search for a doctor by name, or enter a location and speciality. The site displays the doctor's nationality, photograph, gender, experience and qualifications in Arabic and English.
Besides the "find a physician" function, www.haad.ae/adpd also includes a directory that lists conditions, symptoms and treatments. Visitors to the site, which appears to have a few kinks still to be worked out, can click on general symptoms such as loss of appetite, abdominal pain or nerve pain and find a list of possible ailments. Dr Jamal al Kaabi, the head of customer services and corporate communications at HAAD, said he hoped the increased transparency would improve health services.
"Providing reliable information empowers consumer choice," he said. "This creates better incentives at all levels, and motivates the entire system to provide better services." The public has the right to choose the doctor they find "suitable" for their needs, he added, saying that the doctor directory will ensure all licensed professionals are widely accessible. Zaid al Siksek, the chief executive of HAAD, said the new system would help improve "self-care" by providing "continuously updated information to the public".
According to HAAD, there are 5,142 doctors across the emirate. Mariam al Hosany, an Emirati who lives in Abu Dhabi and studies in Al Ain, said the website would be helpful. "I need to find a doctor for a surgery at the moment so it's very good that I can check they are qualified and licensed to do it," she said. "Especially with so many doctors we want to make sure they are qualified." Dr Waleed Hassen, the chief of urology at Tawam Hospital in Al Ain, said the website was a good point of call for patients but must be monitored effectively.
"Generally more information is a good thing," he said. "And when patients have more information they are more empowered. It will allow people to find what they are looking for." HAAD, he added, should monitor the ratings because it often takes just one or two views to skew a scoring system. "Sites like this in the States have shown that it is usually those who have had a bad experience that like to voice their opinion. As long as it is monitored in a fair way, it's good," he said.