In the region, the future of healthcare is evolving with the introduction of intelligent technologies. With this, there has been a substantial shift towards prevention, personalisation and precision. The UAE, often seen as an incubator for innovation in the region, has witnessed an influx of technology within the healthcare sector which has contributed to the world-class care available to the population. With this in mind, a Public Private Partnership between the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH) and Injazat Data Systems, a subsidiary ultimately of Mubadala Investment Company, launched Malaffi, the region’s first Health Information Exchange (HIE) platform.
A HIE allows healthcare providers and practitioners to access patient health data through a centralised database. The appropriate and reliable sharing of patient health information facilitates better care coordination and informed decision-making at the point of care. Before Malaffi, patient health information was recorded in the provider’s Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system, and was not accessible to others outside of that system if needed. Malaffi will now safely and securely connect all public and private healthcare providers in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, enabling the meaningful, real-time exchange of important patient health information, ultimately creating a centralised database of unified patient records.
Malaffi is a key component of the digital transformation of the healthcare system in Abu Dhabi. In addition to the host of benefits that Malaffi directly offers patients and providers on an individual level, from increased efficiency to ultimately saving lives, Malaffi also contributes significantly to population health across Abu Dhabi as a whole.
Understanding the needs of the population
Through data, Malaffi will support the DoH in performing population health analytics and monitoring care quality trends throughout the Emirate. For example, with 37 percent of adults reported as obese, and 15.7 percent of adults living with diabetes, the UAE is currently working towards reducing chronic diseases. In contributing to this data, Malaffi will provide real-time and accurate information to understand the health needs of people in the Emirate. This benefits the whole population as it will provide more information to the DoH when developing public health programmes, such as programmes aimed at health prevention and the management of chronic diseases.
Identifying public health risks
As providers update their EMR systems after patient consultations, each individual’s Malaffi file will update in real-time. Through the unified patient records, Malaffi will also be able to swiftly identify any public health risk, such as an outbreak. In turn this will assist the Emirate’s emergency preparedness in the event of such a situation arising.
Laying the foundations for advanced technologies
As technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to mature, stored patient information will provide the necessary data to move towards more preventative and predictive healthcare models. For example, patient healthcare information can be leveraged to build machine learning models that predict the likelihood of being readmitted or developing chronic conditions. It does so by using clinical data to assess clinical events that have actually happened to patients in the past to be able to develop predictions for patients in the future. This will provide greater insight into preventative medicine, allowing providers to have a different conversation about lifestyle and help with directing population health activities. The Malaffi analytics portal is being showcased at Arab Health on the DoH stand.
All of this is made possible by the collaboration of healthcare providers across Abu Dhabi. The more data that is available, the more accurate the programmes, initiatives and provisions will be in future. Malaffi has been well-received by the industry in Abu Dhabi.
Currently, the database contains more than 38 million patient records for more than 3 million patients, who are being treated and have their care managed through Malaffi. Every time a provider joins, Malaffi becomes even more effective in improving the speed, quality and safety of patient care.
With the UAE facing a growing ageing population and rising prevalence of chronic diseases, there comes no better time to utlise data to create programmes and initiatives that truly cater to the needs of the population and stimulate behaviour change.
During Arab Health, Malaffi also announced the soft launch of their patient application to help patients better manage their health. Once logged into the portal or by downloading the app, patients will have their own medical information at their fingertips. Patients can check their Malaffi file anytime and anywhere through the app, which also supports prevention and early detection of illnesses. Commenting on the announcement Atif Al Braiki, the Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Health Data Services, the operator of Malaffi, said: “For us, Malaffi is a platform that connects health providers in Abu Dhabi to support communities to better health.
As part of doing this, we are proud to be working closely with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi to be positively impacting the lives of people now and in years to come. The patient app is especially exciting, as it encourages patients to use the app for their benefit and so, collectively, we can encourage better engagement and empowerment of their own health.”
Currently, the Malaffi database contains more than 38 million patient records for more than 3 million patients, who are being treated and their care managed through Malaffi by over 15,000 doctors and care teams utilising the platform. To date, 1,732 facilities in Abu Dhabi have signed the Participant Agreement, and 406 facilities have been onboarded, with many more in the pipeline. Some of the onboarded providers include Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), Mediclinic Al Noor Hospital, Kanad Hospital, UEMedical Group, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Healthpoint.