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Dubai hospitals move to reduce paper use

Dubai: Hospitals in Dubai are expected to become completely paperless in three to five years.

Dubai has became the first city in the Middle East to complete the Electronic Medial Record Adoption Model (Emram) survey, which found 70 per cent of the hospitals are in stages 1 and 2 of Emram.

Following that, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) continues to encourage private and public healthcare facilities to attain higher IT levels.

"Making the hospitals paperless means a higher quality care and improvement in patient safety. We still have a lot of work to do in the direction and are expecting that within three to five years, all the hospitals will be able to reach stage 7 of Emram, which is an international benchmark," Dr Mohammad Al Reda, acting director of DHA's health data and information analysis department, health policy and strategy sector, told Gulf News.

The Emram model uses a zero-to-7 stage scale to rate hospitals based on the extent they have adopted a paperless, digital system. Stage 7 means that the hospital is paperless and digital.

The survey of 21 private and four public hospitals showed that 23 hospitals (39.1 per cent) were in Stage 1 and another 30.4 per cent were at Stage 2. A few hospitals have attained stages 3 and 4 and more than one-fifth of hospitals are not on Emram track.

Long-term plans

Dr Reda said the survey will help the DHA in its long-term plans to develop the necessary standards for implementing and managing the health information systems in the emirate.

"The ultimate aim of DHA's eHealth goal is to improve the quality, efficiency and safety of clinical care by making relevant health information conveniently accessible to patients and authorised care providers within the Emirate of Dubai.

With the completion of the survey, hospitals in Dubai are now in a better position to compare themselves with other hospitals in terms of how paperless they are, said John Hoyt, executive vice-president, HIMSS Analytics of the US.

"Adopting a paperless environment leads to a reduction in medication errors, reduction in process time, increases patient and family satisfaction and enhances nursing satisfaction," he said.

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