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Artificial Intelligence technology to revolutionise radiology algorithms in the UAE

Radiology imaging of a chest
Radiology imaging departments at select Dubai Health Authority Medical Fitness Centres to validate the use of AI technology for chest X-rays

At the 2018 edition of the Arab Health Exhibition and Congress that was held in Dubai, UAE, from 29th January to 1st February, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) announced plans to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology for chest X-ray scans required for mandatory medical fitness for residency purposes. The move is aimed at improving the workflow, ensuring faster image analysis and automating reports.

The DHA will first trial the technology in a few medical fitness centres, before expanding it to other facilities.

The DHA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Agfa HealthCare for validation of the first radiology AI algorithm in the UAE. This collaborative agreement will facilitate the key benefits of Artificial Intelligence and support DHA’s goal of incorporating the latest technological advancements in the medical field for improved efficiencies and enhanced patient-centric care.

The MoU was signed by His Excellency Humaid Al Qutami, Chairman of the Board and Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority and James Jay, President Imaging IT at Agfa HealthCare in the presence of H.E. Ambassador Dominique Mineur, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to the United Arab Emirates and senior officials from both sides.

The MoU is a culmination of the joint efforts of the DHA and Agfa HealthCare for over a period of two years during which the use of AI was reviewed across the radiology departments of DHA’s medical fitness centres. As part of the MoU, Agfa HealthCare’s Enterprise Imaging platform, currently deployed at the radiology departments of DHA’s medical fitness centres, will be leveraged to validate artificial intelligence for fast image analysis, automated reports and improved clinical efficiency.

The MoU is in line with the Dubai Health Strategy 2016 -2021 that seeks to foster the use of technology in the health sector to improve efficiencies, enhance healthcare management and overall workflows and most importantly to further improve patient-centric care. According to His Excellency Humaid Al Qutami, Chairman of the Board and Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority, “Utilisation of AI in the health sector is also in line with the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. The DHA decided to use AI for X-ray imaging across medical fitness centres because of the scale of the service and the fact that it will greatly enhance work efficiencies and will lead to optimum utilisation of manpower. The move will have a significant positive impact on the overall medical fitness system.”

The total number of people who visited the DHA run medical fitness centres during 2017 for new and renewal visas were 2,126,066. A medical fitness test is a mandatory requirement for all expats in the UAE. It is required for a residency, employment or education visa.

DHA has 19 medical fitness centres across the emirate for issuance and renewal of visas. DHA will implement this technology across a few medical fitness centres. Then the DHA will access the feasibility of expanding this technology across all its medical fitness centres.

James Jay, President Imaging IT at Agfa HealthCare, said the MoU signifies its support for the vision the Government of Dubai has set for the use of AI in healthcare. “Our two organizations will be at the forefront in validating the value-based clinical application of Artificial Intelligence at Dubai Health Authority,” he said.

He continued: “Healthcare systems are under enormous pressure to improve productivity; together we will be diving into specific use cases to turn the power of medical imaging data and validate specific workflow improvements in productivity by leveraging Artificial Intelligence. Dubai Health Authority is already building a data lake of imaging records with Agfa HealthCare’s Enterprise Imaging Solution, making it available for multi-disciplinary reviews, potential research, teaching, and leverage these imaging data sets to validate the use of our Chest XRay AI Algorithm as part of the scope of this MoU.”

Dr Anjum M. Ahmed, Global Director Imaging Information Systems at Agfa HealthCare reiterated, “We are excited about this opportunity, as this is the first AI validation project in the region, and this will help set a model for others to follow, and explore the use of AI applications to enable fast detection of chronic and critical diseases, help improve clinical productivity and enable care providers to better serve their communities. Together with Dubai Health Authority, we are validating the use of AI at Medical Fitness Chest XRay screening centres in Dubai.”

Dr Mohammed Al Redha, Director of the Department of Organisational Transformation at DHA, said: "We will be utilising AI technology in the health sector since it has a strong potential to redesign healthcare completely – and for the better. As part of the collaboration, we will work together to establish an enterprise imaging strategy for the DHA to enable multi-speciality medical imaging consolidation. We will establish a framework of Artificial Intelligence workflow to augment radiology imaging, including in the area of detecting diseases and we will collaborate to validate machine-learning algorithms in development.”

Maisa Al Bustani, Director of Medical Fitness at the DHA, said: “The move will benefit a vast number of individuals on a day-to-day basis and revolutionalise the way in which radiology imaging is done. With the implementation of this technology, we will be able to greatly enhance efficiencies and workflow management as doctors will now be able to accommodate more reports. The technology will generate automated reports that the doctor will confirm. This will make screening and evaluation more efficient; it will significantly reduce the time taken to receive reports and thus will speed up the overall process. The technology will enhance the overall medical fitness system.”

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are fueling innovations in healthcare to address the pressing clinical needs of care providers. Growing populations, chronic disease prevalence, co-morbidities and spiraling healthcare costs have generated the demand for augmented intelligence leveraging the power of AI and Machine Learning Algorithms, to help improve clinical decision-making, clinician productivity and care.

Dubai Health Authority will collaborate with Agfa HealthCare to validate artificial intelligence for fast image analysis, automated reports and improved clinical efficiency. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will support DHA’s goal of incorporating the latest technological advancements in the medical field for improved efficiency and enhanced patient-centric care

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