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Tue 7 Oct 2008 04:30 PM

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UAE gov't launches medical database

Patient records available via electronic system, to improve access, reduce medication errors.

The UAE health ministry launched a comprehensive electronic database on Tuesday, in a bid to improve access to patient’s records and reduce medication errors.

The ministry's initiative sees the medical records of 14 hospitals and 68 clinics in Dubai and the northern Emirates come under an electronic system, allowing instant access for patients and physicians.

The announcement is part of the ministry’s major overhaul of the national health system, announced by the government in June.

Humaid Mohamed Al Qutami, UAE Minister of Health, told Arabian Business on the sidelines of a conference on Tuesday he was facing “many challenges” in restructuring the health system.

“We are developing this system to improve the quality of our healthcare services. There are so many challenges, including creating a new culture (for the health system). This system will take three years to complete. So many training programs will be needed just for this new electronic system alone," he said.

The ministry intends the new project to reduce lengths of stays in hospitals, cut medication errors and improve patient services.

The information stored by the new system will be able to be transferred internationally, Al Qutami added.

The project will be rolled out in stages over the next three years, with the entire initiative to be completed by 2011.

The ministry’s other new reforms include providing free healthcare to all UAE residents regardless of nationality and income, and the launch of a national health insurance scheme, funded by employers and individual subscribers.

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