Tech

Steve Kaaru

UAE rolls out blockchain-powered system for healthcare data

The United Arab Emirates is set to roll out a blockchain-powered system for its healthcare data. The system was launched by the country’s Ministry of Health and Prevention and will cover healthcare professionals in both the private and public sector.

The system will be used to save and share the assessment information of health professionals, from doctors to pharmacists with local licensing health authorities, state-run Emirates News Agency reported. This will help to cut down on time and associated costs while greatly improving efficiency and data integrity.

Assistant Undersecretary of the Support Services Sector, Awad Saghir Al Ketbi, commented, “The Ministry has successfully developed the necessary infrastructure for a blockchain-based decentralised database. In the first stage, we will link the system of evaluation of health workers with public and private health authorities and other relevant institutions to create a single digital platform with access to the portfolio of health professionals.”

Al Ketbi pointed out that this is just one of the projects that the government will implement as part of its Blockchain Strategy 2021. Launched in 2018, this strategy aims to integrate blockchain technology into at least 50% of the government’s transactions by 2021. By turning to blockchain, the UAE government estimates that it will save AED11 billion ($2.99 billion) in costs. It also expects to save 398 million printed documents and 77 million work hours annually.

The immutable nature of blockchain technology will be especially beneficial in the healthcare industry, the director of information technology at the Ministry of Health Mubaraka Ibrahim stated.

She added, “It will also help improve data and information validation and consistency, which in turn provides a high level of transparency and trust in the healthcare services sector. With immutable data, all health providers can access reliable information and take appropriate decisions, automate workflow processes electronically, improve the experience of customers and employees, and boost operational performance.”

The ministry is also relying on the smart government enablers’ index to develop e-health services, she revealed. Other than blockchain technology, the ministry is developing solutions that integrate big data and predictive tools such as artificial intelligence to improve the quality, efficiency and safety of the country’s healthcare.

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