Department of Health – Abu Dhabi announces partnership with M42 to advance Precision Medicine in Abu Dhabi

18 October 2023
  • Through Malaffi, the Health Information Exchange (HIE) platform, clinicians will be able to view the pharmacogenomic report (PGx) for the participants of the Emirati Genome Program

The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the healthcare sector in the emirate and Abu Dhabi Health Data Services (ADHDS), a M42 company, today announced a significant step towards the provision of precision medicine in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The partnership will enable physicians to access pharmacogenomic reports (PGx) for consenting participants of the Emirati Genome Program through Malaffi, the Health Information Exchange (HIE) platform, operated by ADHDS.

During GITEX Global Week 2023, DoH and ADHDS, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the presence of Ashish Koshy, Group Chief Operating Officer from M42. The MoU was signed by Dr. Rashed Obaid Al Suwaidi, Executive Director of Healthcare Workforce Planning Sector and Kareem Shahin, Acting CEO of Abu Dhabi Health Data Services, a M42 company.

Based on the insights from the Emirati Genome Program (EGP), one of the largest population genomic initiatives ever undertaken, PGx reports will provide to doctors, for consenting EGP participants, with valuable information regarding their genetic profile and its influence and response to specific medications. The report will support the physicians in prescribing medication to each patient to enhance treatment outcomes and minimise the occurrence of adverse drug events. The integration of genetic data into clinical decision-making marks a significant leap towards personalized medicine and safer healthcare.

Dr. Rashed Obaid Al Suwaidi, Executive Director of Healthcare Workforce Planning Sector at the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH) said: “It is a proud moment for Abu Dhabi to be one of the first places in the world to implement comprehensive pharmacogenomic reports for its citizens, securely available to their physicians to outline personalised treatment plans to patients. By understanding the genetic makeup of our community, we will be able to better predict, prevent and treat genetic and chronic diseases hence translating our vision of a ‘healthier Abu Dhabi’ for generations to come. By harnessing the power of data, we will be able to accelerate the integration of breakthrough solutions that meet the distinct health requirements of Emiratis - reinforcing the Emirate’s position as a leading destination for innovation in healthcare.”

The PGx reports offer insights into the compatibility of various medications, aiding physicians in avoiding potentially harmful drug-to-drug interactions. Furthermore, the PGx reports will support reducing healthcare expenses, by initiating treatment with the correct medication and dosage upfront.

Kareem Shahin, Acting CEO of Abu Dhabi Health Data Services, an M42 company said: “M42 is working to transform traditional healthcare and the robust connected healthcare infrastructure that we have established in Abu Dhabi will play a big role in this. Through the synergy of Malaffi Health Information Exchange and the integration of cutting-edge AI technology and genomic data, we are now enabling the practice of precision medicine at scale, crafting a blueprint for global success. This endeavour not only serves the best interests of our residents but also sets a remarkable precedent for global healthcare initiatives.”

On a broader scale, integrating this comprehensive genomic data within the HIE sets the stage for extensive research and advanced population health analytics. This will boost breakthroughs in personalised medicine and deepen the understanding of how genetics intricately shape drug responses, steering the healthcare landscape towards greater efficacy and safety.

The Emirati Genome Program is a significant national project critical to the realisation of the National Genome Strategy, which aims to build a comprehensive and sustainable genomic ecosystem to transform healthcare services and help people live better. The program uses the latest whole sequencing and artificial intelligence technologies to generate high-quality data that enables scientific research and discovery, leading to personalised and preventive healthcare for the UAE’s citizens and a comprehensive understanding of rare genetic disorders and new treatments.

Malaffi is the region’s first Health Information Exchange platform that safely and securely connects public and private healthcare providers in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Malaffi, operated by ADHDS enables the meaningful, real-time exchange of important patient health information between the healthcare providers, creating a centralised database of unified patient records, improving healthcare quality and patient outcomes. The platform connects the entire healthcare sector with more than 2,700 healthcare facilities in the emirate, empowering over 47,000 clinical users with access to 2 billion unique clinical records.

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