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UAE: Smart, Healthy and Happy

The recent announcement by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, and the Dubai Health Authority on launching the Salama (EMR) and NABIDH (EHR) is another key step in harnessing the power of technology in building not only a smart city but also a healthier and happier one.

The digitization of personal healthcare is still a global challenge as the healthcare industry is still behind others (i.e. banking) in terms of adopting technologies like the Internet, mobile phones and cloud systems. Digital Health is an emerging industry at the intersection of technology and healthcare, empowering consumers to be in charge of their health. The introduction of electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR) will no doubt be a great opportunity to disrupt the current healthcare industry by applying existing proven business models and concepts from other industries that are far ahead in adoption of the new technologies. We are generally used to start-ups and the private sector disrupting traditional industries and challenging legacy government services. In Dubai, we see it the other way around, with the government and related authorities leading from the front, disrupting, innovating and paving the way for others to follow.

The benefits and opportunities will be tremendous in the short and long term. From the convenience of having a personal EMR, to using this data when most needed to save a life, to integrating insurance companies through e-claims, to reduced waiting times at hospitals, to fraud detection, and most importantly to the valuable big health data that will be able to give us insights that we were not able to see before.

The possibilities also become endless when we think of how the open data law that was recently introduced in the UAE will allow entrepreneurs and organisations to harness the available and non-confidential health data to provide services that will improve the well-being of residents and citizens.

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