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UAE Launches Blockchain-Powered Health Data Platform

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has joined the league of countries integrating AI with healthcare systems. The country recently launched an advanced medical application that is driven by blockchain technology. This blockchain-enabled platform will create a highly secured pool of health information including details of patient data, healthcare facilities, pharmaceuticals, and health professionals. 

This project is part of plans by the country’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) to fully incorporate AI into healthcare systems across all the emirates. This plan is also one of the pioneering strategies for the UAE Centennial 2071.

The portal, which was built in collaboration with the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Dubai Healthcare City, and other health agencies in the country, will serve as a one-stop source of relevant health data for patients, health professionals, and healthcare inspectors. 

The application will allow seamless access to patient data by healthcare professionals, and easy patient access to details of health facilities, medical procedures, as well as health professionals, their qualifications, and work experiences. 

Patients can also access details of several medications including their manufacturer’s names, ingredients and active components, possible side effects, and indications. 

What’s more, patients considering medical travel to the UAE can get details about facilities that offer specialized care, with ratings, success rates, and accreditation status of these hospitals displayed on the platform. 

Having health data stored in a single network of blocks also helps healthcare monitoring agencies gather information more efficiently to improve health monitoring and assessment processes. This will, in turn, upturn the quality of care in the UAE’s health systems. 

This project leverages the decentralized nature of blockchain technology, which solves the problems of data interoperability and transparency in healthcare. This means that with large health-related datasets in a decentralized system, health information is distributed between members of the network, instead of being accessible to a single entity. 

Furthermore, blockchain technology protects the integrity of health data in the network, as data stored are in an immutable digital ledger. This immutability of data in a blockchain coupled with the absence of a central point of control makes this technology a more secure way of managing health data. 

The blockchain-powered portal also allows patients to decide what information they want to be shared in the system and with whom it may be shared. This maintains the interoperability of data systems without compromising patient privacy. Consequently, patient information including diagnostics, treatment history, health records, and hospital visits can be accessed by permitted providers - and even clinical trial administrators - to enable an efficient patient care process.

Leveraging these benefits, UAE also hopes to attract medical tourists, who will now find it easy to access health professionals and facilities and upload their medical records safely for easy access by approved providers.

Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary of MoHAP’s Public Health Policy and Licenses Division, in a recent report, revealed that this innovative application is part of the government’s plans to create smart AI-driven systems to improve customer satisfaction across various transactions including license renewals, visa applications, bill payments, etc. 

This led to the launch of the Emirates Blockchain Strategy 2021 in April 2018, a strategy aimed at integrating blockchain technology into more than 50 percent of government transactions by 2021. Through this strategy, digital transactions will be largely blockchain-enabled, with each customer having a unique identification number that secures all their data in the chain. 

Likewise, national data and transactions will be performed and stored on a blockchain-enabled platform, which not only further secures and improves access to vital information, but also promotes the ease of transactions for both users and operators. 

The outcome, the country projects, will be more than 77 million work hours of economic productivity saved every year as less time is spent on manual processing of data. Furthermore, as these transactions will become paperless, the UAE estimates that it will save 398 million printed documents yearly. These translate to saving more than 11 billion United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) - equivalent to 2 million USD - every year. 

Other Non-health Projects Driven by Blockchain Technology

UAE is also incorporating this technology into its finance and automobile regulation systems. The government has launched an initiative that stores all records of a vehicle from the manufacturing unit to its present condition. This information can then easily accessed by manufacturing companies, vehicle dealers, sellers, buyers, and insurance companies. This keeps track of the use, ownership, sale, and accident history of the vehicle. 

In the fintech industry, the country has also built systems that are driven by blockchain technology. A notable instance is the creation of automated documentation and end-to-end finance transactions powered by blockchain technology. To achieve this, the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) partnered with Singapore-based digital ledger platforms to make financial transactions seamless for customers. 

Another example of the UAE’s application of blockchain technology in finance is, a platform built to tokenize financial assets and create a streamlined process for buying, selling, and exchanging equity. This, in turn, improves investor transparency and increases liquidity. This platform was developed in partnership with Swiss-based fintech company, Jibrel Network. 

Bottom Line

To accelerate the digital transformation of healthcare in the UAE, key players have built a blockchain-powered portal that concentrates all health data in one secure system accessible by authorized members of the chain. With this, patients, professionals, and other health stakeholders can easily access big data to create a more efficient healthcare system and improve patient care outcomes

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