The telehealth project (RoboDoc) will significantly enhance the manner in which healthcare is delivered in the emirate.

DHA's IT department held a workshop known as, "Continuous Innovation in Telehealth," to discuss the implementation of the pilot phase and future roadmap for the telehealth project.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 17, 2016

The Dubai Health Authority launched today the pilot phase of the telehealth project.

Amani Al Jassmi, Director of Information Technology at the DHA, said: "DHA is the first government health organization in the region to implement telehealth. This project is in line with the vision of Dubai Smart City and it is one of the core projects for the DHA because telehealth can ensure consistent high quality of care, anytime, anywhere and any place due to the remote present robot systems."

"As part of the pilot, a robot has been placed in Hatta Hospital's emergency department and it is linked to Rashid Hospital's Trauma Center. Multiple specialists from the Trauma Centre can provide immediate consultations for a patient in Hatta hospital.  Thus, the RoboDoc will help reduce transfer of patients to Rashid Hospital's Trauma Centre. It will also helps enhance the function of other DHA emergency departments and ICU's."

Al Jassmi added that another robot has been place in the Nad Al Hammar Primary health care center, which is a 24-hour health center, and again this robot will be linked to Rashid Hospital's trauma center, where specialties can provide immediate medical care.

Al Jassmi said: "Telehealth is a boon especially in emergency cases, where time plays in critical role in saving a patient's life. Telehealth provides immediate access to consultation with specialists. In fact, through the robot, doctors can consult with two or more specialists in different health facilities at the same time to get immediate specialised consultation.

"For example, doctors from Hatta Hospital will be able to consult with a neurologist from Rashid hospital and a cardiologist from Dubai Hospital at the same time. Through this technology we are cutting down in time lapses, providing the patient will immediate access to specialised healthcare, improving medical efficiencies and thus improving the happiness index of our customers."

DHA will be using robots designed by InTouch Health Technologies, which is a company that pioneers in remote present robots systems to enable healthcare professionals to provide more effective and efficient healthcare by allowing them to be in two places at once.

Yulun Wang, Chairman and CEO of InTouch Health and Past Immediate Vice- President American Telemedicine Association, said: "The challenge today for all healthcare organisations worldwide is how to deliver consistent high quality care at lower costs. Telehealth is the answer because it can leverage physicians such that physicians can be available anytime and anywhere and they can provide quality care to anyone at reduced costs. There have been many studies, which highlight that with the right technology telemedicine consultations are just as effective as in-person meetings. In fact, telemedicine consultations can be better than in-patient consultations as well because the computer helps the physician in real time. The computer analyses the images of the patient in real time and helps improve the diagnostic capabilities.

"For example: If telehealth is used in dermatology, while the dermatologist is looking at a patient's lesion or rash, the computer can be looking at the rash at the same time and it can give the dermatologist suggestions on what the rash might be. A physician is limited by his eyesight but the computer can see and magnify the images. Therefore moving forward, telehealth will not only become a vital tool to provide medical care at any time and place but also a tool to improve diagnosis."

In future phases, DHA plans to extend the usage of RoboDocs to ICUs, NICUs and for further consultation purposes.


About the Dubai Health Authority:
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) was created, in June 2007, by Law 13 issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, with an expanded vision to include strategic oversight for the complete health sector in Dubai and enhance private sector engagement. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance is the President of the DHA and His Excellency Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qatami is the Chairman of the Board and Director-General of the DHA.

The DHA's aim in Dubai is to provide an accessible, effective and integrated healthcare system, protect public health and improve the quality of life within the Emirate. This is a direct translation of the objectives of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Keeping the strategic plan in mind, the DHA's mission is to ensure access to health services, maintain and improve the quality of these services, improve the health status of nationals, residents and visitors and oversee a dynamic, efficient and innovative health sector.

In addition to overseeing the health sector for the Emirate of Dubai, the DHA also focuses on providing services through DHA healthcare facilities including hospitals (Latifa, Dubai, Rashid and Hatta), specialty centres (e.g. the Dubai Diabetes Center) and DHA primary health centres spread throughout the Emirate of Dubai.

The main pillars of service delivery at DHA health facilities are quality, efficiency, patients and staff.  It is our aim to maintain and improve the quality and efficiency of DHA health services. An important aspect of the service delivery strategy is to focus on patients, their needs and satisfaction as well as attract, retain, nurture and support outstanding staff.

Prior to the establishment of the DHA, the Department of Health and Medical Services (DOHMS), which was established in 1973, was the functioning authority that almost exclusively focused on health service delivery.

© Press Release 2016