Malaffi: The power of data in response to COVID-19

In July 2019, the first Health Information Exchange (HIE) in the Middle East, known as Malaffi HIE, went live in Abu Dhabi, the largest Emirate in the UAE. As part of the strategic priorities of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DOH), the project was established to deliver a best-in-class HIE platform, to guarantee the success of connecting all Abu Dhabi healthcare providers with the ultimate goal to improve the quality of healthcare and patient outcomes.

The DOH recognised the need to centrally and efficiently, store, exchange and analyse the enormous amount of data that is being created in healthcare every day, and by using advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to drive the digital transformation of the healthcare system, for a happier and healthier Abu Dhabi.

Little did anyone know at that time just how crucial Malaffi HIE, built around Orion Health’s Amadeus platform, would be to centrally store and enable the meaningful exchange of patient health information between healthcare professionals in the Emirate.

That was until early 2020 when the world was hit with COVID-19.

Strengthening the pandemic response

As of April 2020, the Malaffi HIE connected over 450 facilities in Abu Dhabi and was available to more than 20,000 users containing health records for more than 3 million patients. Already having the ability to store, access and share this valuable data accurately and in real-time placed Abu Dhabi in good stead to respond to the pandemic.

Malaffi were able to quickly connect new providers who were part of the Emirate’s COVID-19 response to the HIE meaning front-line staff could view a longitudinal patient record against the data stored within the platform, including real-time test results and medical history. This enabled healthcare professionals to make well informed, fast decisions about patient risk levels and hospitalisation and isolation requirements.

Gathering and utilising valuable data

Improved communication and data sharing provided by Malaffi HIE has also allowed the DOH to gain improved access to public health data. This is crucial as part of a pandemic response as it enables informed data-driven decision making about population health needs and the tracking of important trends, such as positive test results.

Speaking on centralising COVID-19 test results within the platform, H.E Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Kaabi, Acting Undersecretary of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, describes “having access to this information is most important in such situations as it enables us to assess and better plan the testing and healthcare capacities and coordinate the distribution of the response resources in the Emirate.”

As an important part of the success of the Department of Health’s highly efficient digital vaccination programme, Malaffi is centralising all vaccine data in the Emirate, and therefore contributing to the nation’s ambition to be among the leading countries in the world in terms of vaccination rates.

Future developments

As of April 2021, Malaffi has over 1,181 facilities in Abu Dhabi connected, provides access to 7 million patient records to 35,375 users. This is a stark difference from the same data of April 2020 and shows that Malaffi is well on its way to connecting more than 2,000 public and private healthcare providers in Abu Dhabi.

Aiming to have all healthcare facilities connected by the middle of 2021, Malaffi continues to expand the scope of the clinical information available in platforms to empower healthcare professionals further to deliver better care. At the same time, Malaffi is working on launching a health portal later this year, that will enable patients to have access to their unified health file and be better engaged in managing their health.

Malaffi is operated by Abu Dhabi Health Data Services (ADHDS) which was established as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DOH) and Injazat, a regional leader in digital transformation, cloud, and cyber security.
For more information on Malaffi, please visit www.malaffi.ae.