Smarter Healthcare With Malaffi

29 June 2020

Healthcare providers usually record patient medical infor­mation in a linear patient file or on their internal electronic medical record (EMR) system, available only within the same organisation; however, this kind of record-keeping does not nec­essarily provide a holistic view of a patient’s medical history or treatment chronology. What’s more, it is unable to present health indicators on a broader scale across a population. In the absence of this kind of central­ised real-time information, it is more challenging for the gov­ernment to drive and implement critical health directives.

Unified health information

Created as a public-private part­nership between the Depart­ment of Health – Abu Dhabi (DOH) and Injazat Data Sys­tems, Malaffi, which means ‘my file’ in Arabic, is the region’s first Health Information Exchange platform.

“The DOH has initiated Malaffi as the key component in the digital transformation of the healthcare system in Abu Dhabi, and to improve the healthcare quality and patient outcomes”, explains Atif Al Braiki, Chief Executive Officer, Abu Dhabi Health Data Services.

Through Malaffi, healthcare professionals in Abu Dhabi have access to patients’ longi­tudinal medical files. To date, Malaffi stores more than 81 mil­lion unique clinical records and provides access to the platform to over 24,500 end-users, from more than 500 facilities. The list of connected facilities current­ly includes all the big health­care groups in Abu Dhabi, like Abu Dhabi Healthcare Services Company (SEHA), Mediclinic, Mubadala Healthcare, United Eastern Medical Services, Capi­tal Health, NMC Healthcare and VPS Healthcare, and the major­ity of the stand-alone hospitals. Malaffi has recently marked a milestone by starting to connect the medical centres and clinics.

“With many more provid­ers in the onboarding pipeline, through our secure and safe digital platform, we are aim­ing to connect all public and private healthcare providers in Abu Dhabi,” he continues. “Ulti­mately, clinicians will have more information about their patients, enabling them to improve the delivery of healthcare”, states Mr. Al Braiki.

Better healthcare

Allowing the real-time exchange of patient data, the centralised platform streamlines the uni­fication of the medical records. Having access to this informa­tion simplifies care coordination and transition of care between different healthcare providers.

“Coordination of care is ever more critical as doctors are fac­ing challenges due to the increas­ing incidence of chronic and communicable diseases, as well as the growing and ageing popu­lation,” says Mr. Al Braiki. Local trends also show that patients visit multiple doctors in different healthcare facilities, many times for the same problem. This often results in unnecessary duplica­tion of services, varying stand­ards of care and suboptimal patient experience leading to sig­nificant strain on the healthcare system, in addition to fuelling the rising costs of care.

“By having access to the pa­tients’ Malaffi file, healthcare professionals have access to data about previous patients’ visits, recorded allergies, diagnoses, chronic conditions, laboratory results, and radiology reports. This is invaluable for the making of quicker, more accurate and safer clinical decisions, as well as being convenient for patients, such as the elderly, who do not always necessarily remember de­tails from their medical history”, he elaborates.

Connected healthcare in action

“Connecting healthcare has nev­er been more urgent and impor­tant than now, when faced with the COVID-19 pandemic”, Mr. Al Braiki notes.

Patients with underlying medical conditions are at high­er risk of experiencing severe symptoms from COVID-19. By having access to real-time test results and the relevant infor­mation from their medical his­tory, front-line medical workers are empowered to make quicker and more effective first-response and treatment decisions, when a patient is in the ER for urgent care for example. To strengthen the response to the pandemic, Malaffi has allowed urgent access to its platform for providers that are not yet connected to Malaffi and need to have access to this information to treat COVID-19 patients.

Public health policies

In addition to improving patient safety and overall experience, Malaffi also helps the Depart­ment of Health – Abu Dhabi by providing invaluable popula­tion health information. With these vital statistics, the govern­ment can monitor the quality of healthcare in the emirate, as well as drive important health policies.

The data in the platform also helps identify public health risks and gives an effective means to measure the emirate’s emergen­cy preparedness and response management. “As part of the COVID-19 response efforts, building on the advanced plat­form, Malaffi centralised the COVID-19 test results from all testing sites in Abu Dhabi. This enables the identification and tracing of positive cases, and re­al-time reporting by providing key pandemic indicators, which are crucial for the adequate re­sponse”, Mr. Al Braiki adds.

Security

With a unified HIE platform, certainly, come questions about cyber security and data integri­ty. With a background in digital tech, Mr. Al Braiki highlights the importance of secure data and patient privileges.

“For us at Malaffi, patient care and patient privacy go hand in hand. Malaffi enables the safe and secure exchange of patient data between authorised users only. Certified and approved us­ers from facilities, with legal con­tracts with Malaffi, can access a patient’s Malaffi file”, he says. “All healthcare facilities have to abide by Malaffi’s strict privacy and security policies, and com­ply with the relevant Abu Dhabi laws”, he elaborates.

Future Developments

Additionally, the DOH is in talks with the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention and the Dubai Health Authority to create a par­allel system to centralise patient information across the entire country. Mr. Al Braiki adds that efforts are underway to launch an app to give patients access to their Malaffi file, which will em­power them to better engage in managing their health.

“Looking ahead, as a digi­tal centralised data platform, Malaffi paves the way for the introduction of artificial intel­ligence and machine learning technologies to improve further care coordination and public health management in Abu Dha­bi”, Mr. Al Braiki concluded. “We are aiming to connect all public and private healthcare providers in Abu Dhabi”

Connecting healthcare has never been more urgent and important than now, when faced with the COVID-19 pandemic”, Mr. Al Braiki says.“Looking ahead, as a digital centralised data platform, Malaffi paves the way for the introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to improve further care coordination and public health management in Abu Dhabi”, Mr. Al Braiki says.

“For us at Malaffi, patient care and patient privacy go hand in hand”.

This article was published on Gulf News and can be found here

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