Health

UAE healthcare sector to adopt SNOMED CT in national health records

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is set to adopt SNOMED CT in its national health records, it has emerged. Confirmed by the country’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), the acquisition of the comprehensive clinical content database is part of the government’s mission to “unify the process of collecting data content, and organise patients’ healthcare records in the UAE by using single common terminologies within the Riayati platform.”

Riayati is the UAE’s National Unified Medical Record (NUMR) system, connecting 3,000+ public and private sector healthcare providers.

“The use of SNOMED CT would improve functionality and coordination between health facilities. It will also contribute to enhancing the exchange of organisational data, such as the eClaims Office of the Riayati platform; the Dubai Health Authority’s Nabidh platform; and [the] Malaffi platform which links healthcare providers in the public and private sectors in Abu Dhabi,” said MoHAP’s Director of Digital Health, Ali Al Ajmi. “The electronically stored detailed data in this system would help increase access of hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies across the UAE to electronic health records [EHRs] and electronic medical records [EMRs].

“With comprehensive and statistical data on medical analyses and population health in place, this system will also help hospitals expedite clinical decision-making in terms of patient care and insurance claims processing, in addition to supporting the measurement and monitoring of the quality of care and the use of the resources.”

THE LARGER CONTEXT

Developed collaboratively, SNOMED CT – or SNOMED Clinical Terms – is regarded as the “most comprehensive and precise, multilingual health terminology in the world,” and can be mapped to other coding systems.

Primarily used for the electronic exchange of clinical health information, the system allows for EHRs to be more efficient by consolidating medical terms that have the same meaning.

The National Library of Medicine explains: “For example, the terms ‘heart attack’, ‘myocardial infarction’, and ‘MI’ may mean the same thing to a cardiologist, but, to a computer, they are all different. There is a need to exchange clinical information consistently. 

“SNOMED CT fills this need by enabling semantic interoperability and by supporting the exchange of clinically validated health data between different health care providers, settings, researchers and others.”

Updated twice a year, benefits of using SNOMED CT in EHRs include improving communication, and increasing the availability of relevant and critical clinical information to improve real-time decision-making. It also enables more accurate reporting in research, data analytics, precision medicine, and management.

Furthermore, since it enables multilingual use, it can solve any issues caused by language barriers. 

This latest announcement is in line with “MoHAP’s strategy to develop health information systems, apply global standards in the management of infrastructure in health facilities, and develop appropriate technology for the population health management system,” the ministry said in a statement.

ON THE RECORD

“The Riayati platform is considered one of the priority projects that contribute to strengthening and empowering the healthcare sector in the UAE. It is a digital platform featuring updated data of patient records and providing innovative solutions in the automation and management of health information,” said Abdulaziz Al-Zarouni, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Support Services Sector. “Embracing these technical solutions is a paradigm shift for the ministry in its quest to unify medical data documentation forms and healthcare data.

“These advanced technology solutions will also facilitate the circulation of clinical terminology and the use of a common language, given that both electronic medical records [EMRs] and health information exchanges [HIE] adopt a common language.”

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