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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Dubai medical records move online

Waiting days for medical files and test results could soon be a thing of the past for many patients in Dubai.

DUBAI // Waiting days for medical files and test results could soon be a thing of the past for many patients in Dubai. Patients' records and files are now accessible electronically in the emirate's government-run hospitals and clinics, officials at the Dubai Health Authority announced yesterday. The system allows patients to view their files and see their lab reports or X-rays, as well as check their diagnosis and medication, said Mubaraka Ibrahim, the authority's information technology director.

Patients will also be able to go online to obtain or renew health cards. Qadhi Saeed al Murooshid, the authority's director general, presented the new system to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, during a ceremony to inaugurate the four-day Arab Health Congress 2010 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Mr al Murooshid said that doctors and patients could also use the system, known as an electronic medical records (EMR) system, to access detailed results of patients' laboratory examinations, patient history, allergies, prescriptions and diagnostic-test results.

"Certain lab results will be accessible online, depending on what each doctor OKs, like a patient's glucose levels, liver function, lipids, creatinine levels, uric acid, and more," he said. "So if a patient is first tested at Rashid Hospital, for example, then heads to Wasl Hospital or any of our clinics for a check-up or a follow-up, the records can all be accessed and updated online wherever the patient is. Patients can apply for and print medical reports of their condition by using this system and take the reports anywhere, if a second medical opinion is needed."

Officials said they hoped to integrate the system with private hospitals and clinics in Dubai by the end of 2012. The programme will be adopted next month by all government-run health facilities in Dubai. "We understand that this is an ambitious project to implement and that we'll be pioneers in the region," said Tony Elzoghbi, director of the governance and internal audit department at the health authority. "It will save everyone time and money."

Although the health care industry worldwide is under pressure to move beyond paper documentation towards implementing electronic data storage system in the form of EMRs, the adoption rate still remains low among most care givers. In a recent study by the National Center for Health Statistics in the US, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Massachusetts General Hospital and George Washington University found that less than two per cent of hospitals had implemented comprehensive EMRs and less than eight per cent had basic EMRs in place.

hkhalaf@thenational.ae