The importance of an HIE in response to COVID-19 in Abu Dhabi

The COVID outbreak has presented a multitude of challenges for both patients and healthcare providers. It put a great burden on the global healthcare ecosystem, and the speed at which the virus can spread has only placed a greater emphasis on the need for healthcare providers to have real-time, accurate data at the point of care. 

Health Information Exchanges (HIE) play an essential role in aggregating and disseminating data to give local hospitals, public health officials and healthcare providers a better understanding of the virus’ spread and the patients being tested and treated. 

Let’s look at how a state-wide HIE in Abu Dhabi enabled healthcare professionals to make well informed and fast decisions about patient risk levels, hospitalisation and isolation requirements.

The ultimate goal of improving the quality of healthcare and patient outcomes

In 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.

Enabling more connected, safe and integrated healthcare across the state

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.

The power of data in response to a pandemic

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.

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.

How can Orion Health help with state-wide HIEs?

Orion Health is World’s #1 HIE provider with over 55+ HIEs and customers in over 15 countries globally. Our health information platform, Amadeus, can enable states like Malaffi to have more connected, safe and integrated care across Australia’s public health network. 

Amadeus supports FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) APIs to aggregate all types of health data from across multiple systems, devices and organisations to improve the delivery of healthcare. By pulling data from both traditional and non-traditional sources, clinicians and caregivers have a comprehensive view of their patient to make the best possible clinical decisions at the point of care.

This fully integrated system helps reduce duplication, saves valuable clinician time and improves patient safety through faster, more accurate and efficient sharing of clinical information.

By combining all relevant information about an individual, and applying our intelligent tools such as machine learning and AI, it gives you the power to predict outcomes more accurately than ever before. Healthcare professionals can utilise these predictions to deliver more personalised care tailored perfectly to every individual. 

Connecting care across the public health network

As of April 2021, Malaffi has over 1,181 facilities in Abu Dhabi connected, providing 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.