Covid-19: How digital transformation helped Abu Dhabi health authority battle pandemic

Seha connected all their screening centres digitally, mobile app bookings and tele consultations were launched, among other initiatives


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Sat 27 Nov 2021, 5:27 PM

Last updated: Sat 27 Nov 2021, 8:56 PM

Digital adoption and transformation at Abu Dhabi Healthcare Company (Seha) has empowered the UAE’s largest and most comprehensive healthcare network during the battle against the pandemic, said a top official.

As the UAE gears up to celebrate 50 years of its formation, Bader Al Qubaisi, group chief information officer, Seha, recollected how with an “agile and robust” IT infrastructure, all the screening centres were quickly connected digitally, and mobile app bookings and tele consultations launched among other initiatives during the pandemic. Al Qubaisi revealed that in future Seha will look to increase efficiency and productivity by deploying robotic process automation.

A flexible approach at Seha helped in scaling operations swiftly without high capital cost while providing best services.

“We comply with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi’s Health Information and Cyber Security Standards (ADHICS). These ensure our vendors and partners offer solutions that are secure for our patients and physicians.”

Bader Al Qubaisi, group chief information officer, Seha. Supplied photo
Bader Al Qubaisi, group chief information officer, Seha. Supplied photo

Al Qubaisi noted that Seha uses a cloud-based infrastructure that is scalable and adaptable.

“Our bespoke data center (Private Cloud) has provided us with both scalability and a transformative infrastructure, centrally managed across all our facilities. We take pride in being ahead of the curve when adopting cloud technology, as this helps our healthcare facilities connect with various systems quickly and through cost effective means.”

Seha’s strong IT infrastructure provided a solid base to seamlessly carry out community-centric initiatives.

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“During the pandemic, we were able to connect all of our screening centres within days and maintained continuous connectivity. The UAE was the only country offering mobile app bookings for screenings, along with seamless ‘drive-thru’ experiences that ultimately enabled the Emirates to become the highest ‘testing per capita’ country in the world.”

According to Our World in Data, the UAE has been able to consistently maintain top 3 slots in number of Covid-19 tests per 1,000 people.

Seha, Al Qubaisi underlined, engaged with global talent and best standards to ensure the quality of information technology.

“Today, we process three times more data than in 2019. The pandemic considerably increased our patient registration, documentation and discharge data, and all of this needed to be analysed. By partnering with universities throughout the UAE, we have been able to deliver great work in the research field. Our research has been published and used by organisations around the world to learn more about healthcare-related topics, and today Seha utilises data warehouses integrated with powerful business intelligence tools, which help our management team make fast and accurate decisions.”

Since the pandemic began, Seha has managed over 1.4 million teleconsultations – a service that has now become a permanent offering with patients benefiting from consultations in the comfort of their home.

“We also offer tele-pharmacies and home deliveries and are working towards a service that allows our patients to request prescription refills on Seha’s mobile application.”

In future, Seha will focus on implementing technologies in line with its vision of creating accessible, quality healthcare with the wellbeing of the community.

“We will see more of our solutions powered by artificial intelligence, in addition to applied Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to automate repeatable tasks. RPA will help to cut waste and ensure maximum output in all departments.”

Al Qubaisi added that while technology is important, frontliners are the most essential factor in rendering healthcare services.

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