Interview: Saif Al Qubaisi
To what extent do infrastructure and support service facilities need to be developed to meet the growing demand for both primary and secondary health care?
SAIF AL QUBAISI: Currently, the development of new hospitals is under way on a scale unprecedented in the regional health care industry. Construction projects are being implemented in phases and will be completed over the next five to 10 years. These projects include the following:
• New Mafraq Hospital – construction is proceeding as scheduled on the 745-bed development.
• New Al Ain Hospital – work began in October, 2012 on the 687-bed project.
• New Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) Hospital – tender evaluation is in process for the new SKMC.
• New Disease Prevention Screening Centres tendering is in process for centres in Abu Dhabi and Mussafah.
• New Rehabilitation Hospital – design concepts have been completed and tendering is in process.
• New Ambulatory Clinics – construction of 10 new clinics is proceeding on schedule. Expansion and upgrades are also planned or under consideration for existing facilities, such as Tawam Hospital, Al Sila and Ghiathy.
How are enhanced information technology systems being implemented to improve patient safety and cost-effectiveness?
AL QUBAISI: Enterprise technology is at the heart of modern and efficiently functioning systems. In the case of SEHA, being fully linked across all operations to an Oracle reporting system gives real-time access to essential data, while adoption of the Cerner Millennium HIS system has electronically integrated health records and achieved the goal of “One Patient, One Record” – the Malaffi project. Integration of Anthem Business Intelligence into data systems now feeds daily information on all key performance indicators, providing a reliable dashboard of clinical, financial and operational performance. Adoption of the Malaffi system was piloted at four hospitals and within 18 months they had achieved a 67% reduction in medication errors. It has since been extended to all SEHA facilities.
Internationally, hospitals are rated on a scale of zero to seven, according to their success in going paperless. In the US, for example, only 9.2% of hospitals score in the six to seven range, but in only five years, SEHA has gone from paper-dependent to almost completely paperless, scoring between 5.3 and 6.02 at its hospitals.
Systems to collect health insurance reimbursements have been installed to handle national health insurance products, as well as other insurance firms and payers. Other systems have been introduced to manage e-claims; case-mix index reporting by physician, financial class and service line; and provision of updated key inventory ratios. These systems are proving instrumental in enabling SEHA to collect more revenue and stay on track toward economic self-sufficiency.
How are partnerships with international health service organisations being used to enhance the skills of nationals within the sector?
AL QUBAISI: As part of its strategic priorities, SEHA seeks to increase the number of well-trained and qualified UAE nationals employed as health care professionals. Working in close coordination with other government organisations and departments, SEHA has agreed to specific Emiratisation targets with all of its business entities. In the first half of 2012, SEHA signed an agreement with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education International (ACGME-I). By end-2013, all SEHA teaching facilities had gained ACGME-I Institutional Accreditation. Six facilities were accredited: SKMC, Mafraq, Corniche, Tawam, Al Ain and the Ambulatory Health Services.
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