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Dubai Health Authority launches artificial intelligence strategy

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The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has launched an artificial intelligence (AI) strategy to support its medical systems and equip medical personnel with technologies to use in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

The authority said the initiative follows the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with four international companies to adopt their healthcare innovations and technologies at the recent fourth cycle of the Dubai Future Accelerators programme.

The companies that signed the MoU with the DHA were Babylon, Bodyo, Admetsys Corporation and HINT Neuro.

Humaid Al Qutami, director general of the DHA, said the health authority is “making a quantum leap” that will strengthen its medical systems and personnel by equipping them with the latest AI technologies used in diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Al Qatami said next-generation healthcare technologies are being drip-fed into Dubai’s hospitals and clinics to see what impact they could make to the lives of thousands of patients.

“The four companies were selected for the project from hundreds of applicants, and medical professionals have taken the opportunity to see how they could work in practice,” he said.

“The partnerships with these companies are aimed at acquiring sophisticated medical technologies that bring innovations in a clinical setting.”

The DHA said Bodyo health analysis pods will be rolled out in government buildings so that staff can monitor their health and spot any problems that may need a hospital check-up.

A health application from Babylon will use the latest AI technology to deliver 24/7 video links for patients to consultants around the world. The app is already being used by 2.2 million patients worldwide, and will be available in Dubai this summer.

“This health app, which was introduced in 2014 in the UK, has been ‘Arabised’ and tweaked in line with the cultural requirements of the region,” said Al Qatami.

Glenn Robertelli, COO at the US-based Admetsys Corporation, said medical staff at DHA-run hospitals are looking for next-generation technology and the Admetsys system, which uses AI to monitor and regulate patients’ blood sugar levels, will help them to improve the standard of care and control costs at the same time.

“It is well known that better glucose control in the hospital reduces mortality, reduces a range of complications and reduces a patient’s overall length of stay,” said Robertelli.

The Admetsys team visited several hospitals in Dubai during the technology’s introductory phase to show physicians and nurses how it works. Robertelli explained that the system manages a patient’s blood sugar in real time, with biosensors reading various physiological parameters.

“A learning algorithm adapts the model to the specific patient’s metabolism, to administer a correct and healthy dose of insulin and dextrose when required,” he said. “This is information-driven precision medicine. We utilise sensors and AI to drive treatment of the medications.”

Robertelli pointed out that the concept is simple but has been technologically difficult to implement until now.

Other Admetsys innovations to be introduced in Dubai are a neuro headband to detect strokes, and flow cell sensors that alert doctors to sudden drops in the vital signs of intensive care patients. The Admetsys technology is due to be rolled out at Dubai Hospital and Rashid Hospital.

The DHA will also roll out the Health Care and Innovative New Technology (HINT) neuro headband, designed to detect strokes in patients before they happen. This technology was originally designed for use by high-risk patients in the home, but working with doctors in Dubai has opened up new avenues for medical technology company.

Like the other companies that have sign MoUs with the DHA, HINT Neuro will continue to carry out research. Ahmed Elmeligi, the company’s chief executive and founder, said: “We have ended up seeing the technology in a completely different light while working with the DHA for other potential use cases beyond what we initially had in mind.

“There is a lot of interest in modifying our technology to be used inside the hospital rather than just at home, to provide better-quality care for patients.”

As part of its innovation and AI strategy, the DHA said it plans to train more than 120 of its employees in project management, programme management, portfolio management and risk management.

Mohammed Al Redha, director at the DHA, said: “We aim to revolutionise the way healthcare is delivered while focusing on patient-centric care.”

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