DUBAI //A national cancer registry is among the many applications of an innovative computer program that the Ministry of Health will use to improve healthcare in the Emirates.
The new software, already partially in use, will connect all healthcare providers in the UAE and help researchers build national disease registries. The first of these will include cancer statistics, officials said yesterday.
The National Integrated Health Information Reporting and Analysis System will also compile other statistical information, allowing the ministry to allocate resources where they are most needed.
"We hope to have a screen in the minister's office in the future with signals much like traffic lights that serve as an indicator," said Dr Huda al Suwaidi, director of the Ministry's statistics and health research centre. "If the mortality rate at a hospital increases, it will show a red light, and the minister can send a team to investigate," she said.
Dr Aamir Ali Khan, project manager in the National Cancer Registry at the Ministry of Health, said this programme will be an excellent addition to the statistics department, but another one of its uses is that it can show a patient's entire file, including all tests that have been conducted. "It can also give live data from hospitals, so we do not have to go to each hospital for data," he said.
The program, Microsoft's Amalga Unified Intelligence System, can unlock data stored in other systems, including the ones now in use in the country, and compile the information so it can be used to spot trends. It could also advise patients of the waiting time at a hospital's emergency unit, or connect with ambulances to direct them to the least busy hospital with, for example, a coronary-care unit.
Dr al Suwaidi said the software is already in use at two facilities in Ajman. In three to five years it will be "a fully functioning system that covers the whole country."