Hospital expands electronic files

Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi's main hospital, expands its use of electronic patient files.

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ABU DHABI // The capital's main hospital expanded its use of electronic patient files yesterday. Healthcare officials said the system will eventually connect all government hospitals in the emirate. Sheikh Khalifa Medical City began using the electronic medical record (EMR) system in the surgical, nursing, medications and tests, laboratory and emergency departments yesterday. Other areas were already on board.

The system allows doctors and nurses instant access to current records, so there is less chance of error, officials said. Staff will no longer have to rely on a patient's memory for his or her medical history, for example, and will be able to see details on past treatments. Eventually, the system will connect all hospitals and clinics run by SEHA, the health services company that operates government hospitals in the emirate.

"It has been successfully implemented in Tawam, Corniche, Al Rahba hospitals and some AHS [Ambulatory Healthcare Services]clinics, and today we are witnessing the implementation of the second phase," said Saif Bader al Qubaisi, the chairman of SEHA. The system should make health care faster and more secure, said Sulaiman H Sulaiman, the chief information officer at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City. "We are confident this will result in efficient storage and retrieval of medical records providing authorised clinicians with quick, confidential access to a patient's medical information," he said.

"It will also enhance patient safety by providing clinicians with improved, secured access to a patient's important historical information such as blood type, prescribed drugs, clinical test results, medical conditions and medication history." Once the information becomes available to staff at a number of healthcare facilities, patients will be able to move more freely between hospitals and clinics.

"By creating a unified electronic medical record for our hospitals and clinics, the patient can utilise the services of any SEHA facility," said Basheer al Muhairbi, the IT manager at SEHA. "The EMR system will help ensure patient information is available when and wherever a SEHA provider needs it. This system will noticeably accelerate the creation and management of patient records. It will always be up-to-date and complete."

Officials at SKMC expected some delays as they began using the system. More than 2,800 staff members have been trained on it. "We anticipate our staff to go through a big adjustment and a learning stage," Mr Sulaiman said. "We anticipate some delays over the first few days as staff become more familiar with the new system".