Looking into the future of the Health Information Exchange

13 May 2022

Malaffi is the first Health Information Exchange (HIE) platform in the Middle East and North Africa, connecting public and private healthcare providers in Abu Dhabi safely and securely.

Malaffi provides the meaningful, real-time transmission of critical patient health information amongst healthcare providers, resulting in a centralised database of unified patient records that improves healthcare quality and results.

Improving interoperability and data standardisation

Ensuring that healthcare providers capture high-quality and standardised data is a basic premise to enabling interoperability and the use of digital technology to transform healthcare. The COVID-19 pandemic, further accelerated the efforts to improve interoperability and develop processes to monitor and improve data standardisation and quality.

While examining the collated data in Malaffi, the team identified specific gaps and issues with data quality. Based on the analysis and to enhance data quality, Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DOH) has issued guidance on coding standards to healthcare providers in Abu Dhabi. The universal adoption of these standards (such as SNOMED CT[1] and LOINC[2]), is expected to significantly improve interoperability, increase the clinical value of the data, and improve the accuracy and scope of population health insights.

New frontiers in population health management

Malaffi enables the DOH, for the first time, to draw population health insights in near real-time, based on the analysis of the consolidated clinical data of the entire population.

For example, in 2021, Malaffi premiered a demonstration of a population risk management platform that willempower the healthcare sector to support care management, improve population health and assist in ensuring continuity of care.

The platform uses advanced artificial intelligence (AI) analytic technologies, such as machine learning, to build predictive models based on the clinical data and run algorithms to predict future hospital admissions, emergency department visits, readmissions, disease complications such as diabetes, and other risks. These insights will be used to action targeted measures that will reduce the risk of groups or individual patients developing certain conditions, improve overall efficiencies among providers and reduce costs.

Malaffi will contribute significantly to creating advanced systems tailored for syndromic and pandemic surveillance and response. Such systems will be of the utmost value for early alerts and increased readiness to handle any potential future outbreak, ensuring Abu Dhabi remains at the forefront of public health and safety. Other solutions will also be developed to take advantage of advanced analytics of the robust population health data in Malaffi, to improve the quality of care and health outcomes for everyone in the Emirate.

The next chapter for Malaffi 

Malaffi has transformed healthcare in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and will undoubtedly continue to do so as the data quality and capabilities of the platform increase.

Having established itself firmly in the healthcare infrastructure of the Emirate, Malaffi now enters the next phase of its development. The remaining healthcare facilities will be connected in 2022 and we will continue to complete data sources contributed by the different providers to create a more comprehensive patient record.

During the pandemic, the people of Abu Dhabi witnessed first-hand how connected healthcare, through Malaffi, plays a significant role in protecting the health and safety of the community. Soon, patients will have access to their records in Malaffi, that will enable them to be better engaged in managing their health. The information available within Malaffi will strengthen the research and development capabilities of the pharmaceutical and medical companies, and research organisations, to drive innovation and investments.

More recently, Malaffi exhibited its next strategic solutions targeted at bolstering the digital transformation of the healthcare sector at the 47th Arab Health Congress, from January 24–27 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Malaffi featured a data quality dashboard at the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DOH) stand, which highlights issues with the existing application of clinical data standards when healthcare professionals record clinical information in their EMR systems, which is gathered and available in the platform.

Furthermore, Malaffi demonstrated an image exchange solution completely linked with the Provider Portal, providing users access to diagnostic radiological pictures such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasounds from patients.

Previously, Malaffi users had access to the radiology reports, and through this new enhancement they will be able to access and view the images taken at a different site in Abu Dhabi, including CT scans, MRIs and X-rays. This further prevents the need to duplicate these costly investigations which save patients from exposure to unnecessary radiation.

As the healthcare system matures, Malaffi will become increasingly important for the realisation of strategic initiatives of the DOH towards establishing a primary care model, transition to value-based care and the practice of precision medicine. Integration with the federal HIE, Riayati, will enhance connectedness beyond Abu Dhabi, into the other emirates.

The benefits of HIE platforms are endless. As is a hallmark of the UAE, we will continue to push ourselves, to keep innovating and discovering new capabilities to improve the health and wellbeing of our population.

The future looks bright. Towards the next 50.

[1] SNOMED CT- Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Terms

[2] LOINC – Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes

This artcile was published on Omnia Health, and can be found here.

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