Next generation health technology is being slowly drip-fed into hospitals and clinics in Dubai to see what impact they could make to the lives of thousands of patients in the near future.
A trial period for the latest intake on the Dubai Future Accelerator Programme has been evaluating the effectiveness of four new innovations in a clinical setting.
Each were selected for the project from hundreds of applicants, and medical professionals have taken the opportunity to see how they could work in practise.
Bodyo health analysis pods are to be rolled out in government buildings so staff can monitor their health and spot any signs of ill health that may need a hospital check-up.
A health application by Babylon uses the latest artificial intelligence to deliver 24/7 video consultants to patients from around the world.
It has already been used by 2.2 million patients worldwide, and will be available in Dubai this summer.
Two other innovations are the Health Care and Innovative New Technology (HINT) neuro headband to detect strokes, and the flow cell sensors by Admetsys to alert doctors to sudden drops in vital signs in ICU patients.
“The staff at DHA-run hospitals are looking for next generation technology and the Admetsys system fits into their initiatives to advance the standard of care and control costs at the same time,” said Glenn Robertelli, chief operating officer at the US-based Admetsys Corporation.
“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.
“Until now there was no technology available that would drive better treatment. The Admetsys system has changed that.”
The Admetsys team visited multiple hospitals in Dubai during the introductory phase to show physicians and nurses how it works.
The system is a closed-loop device that manages a patient's blood sugars in real time, with biosensors reading various physiological parameters in the patient.
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.
“This is information-driven precision medicine,” Mr Robertelli said.
“We utilise sensors and artificial intelligence to drive treatment of the medications. The concept is simple but has been technologically difficult to implement until now.”
The system could be critical for health care in the UAE as diabetes control is one of the major considerations for future industry planning.
Nurses are required to constantly monitor a patient’s blood sugar level during a hospital stay, usually on an hourly basis.
Levels can fluctuate wildly, with low blood sugars potentially deadly in already hospitalised patients.
Monitoring can be difficult and time-consuming, with Admetsys reducing the workload for nurses.
The system is due to be rolled out at Dubai Hospital and Rashid Hospital.
Another innovation is the wearable HINT neuro sensor, designed to detect strokes in patients before they happen.
While originally designed for use by high-risk patients in the home, working with doctors in Dubai has opened up new avenues for the tech company.
Like all four projects, the company has signed an MoU with Dubai Health Authority to carry out further research.
“Our technology has been received very enthusiastically,” said Ahmed Elmeligi, chief executive and founder of HINT Neuro.
“We ended up seeing it in a completely different light while working with the DHA for other potential use cases beyond what we initially had in mind.
“There's 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.”
The device developers have also used an artificial intelligence algorithm with a stroke detection accuracy at almost 80 per cent.
That is expected to increase once the company starts piloting in Dubai, as the algorithm gets more accurate the more data it is fed.
“We are working closely with the DHA to modify our technology to better fit with the Dubai healthcare system,” Mr Elmeligi said.
“It will be used in a hospital environment to help detect strokes early to prevent any long term damaging effects to the brain.
“This means better and faster recovery for the patient, allowing them to maintain their quality of life even if they are at a very high risk of a stroke.”