Latest medical technology on show at Arab Health in Dubai

Hi-tech solutions to medication errors form vital part of this year's event

UAE's Ministry of Health & Prevention booth in Arab Health, one of the region's biggest healthcare conferences.

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

Reporter: ANAM
Section:  NA
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Technology designed to improve patient safety and reduce unnecessary delays will be a key feature of this year’s Arab Health conference.

Experts said technology had the potential to address numerous health-related concerns, including medication errors, something that affects more than one in 10 patients worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.

Just over 1,102 medication errors were reported to Health Authority Abu Dhabi in 2016 alone.

AI has the power to drastically diminish delays, errors and unnecessary work that plagues healthcare today

Several companies will display their latest solutions at Arab Health – the largest gathering of healthcare and trade professionals in the region – that are designed to prevent these types of errors from occurring in the future.

Becton, Dickinson and Company, which is one of the largest medical technology companies in the world, is one of them.

“Once a doctor prescribes a medicine, between prescription and administration, there are 30 steps within the hospital,” said Jihad Hussami, a business director at the company.

“Those 30 steps have possible errors within them. That could be either entering the medication in the system or transferring the medication to the other, for instance.

“Mostly in hospitals medication is given intravenously. So the patients are not aware of the errors.”

Becton, Dickinson and Company’s system is designed to prevent those errors by using software that sets minimum and maximum doses. It works by rejecting dose requests that do not fall within those parameters.

“So if you enter an additional zero it will say this is wrong, re-enter the drug," Mr Hussami said. "Every time you do that it registers in the system. So we can say ‘this is how many lives we have saved’.”

GE Healthcare is another company taking part in Arab Health to showcase how technology can improve the quality of health care.

Elie Chaillot, chief executive of eastern growth markets at the company, said artificial intelligence was a "game changer".

He said AI was already being used to improve diagnosis in patients.

"AI has the power to drastically diminish delays, errors and unnecessary work that plagues health care today, and liberate clinicians so they can focus on the patient," he said.

“This translates into millions of hours and billions of dollars saved, and thousands upon thousands of patients’ lives and healthcare experiences dramatically improved through more precise care.”

The Arab Health conference will welcome more than 55,000 people from 159 countries from Monday to Thursday at Dubai World Trade Centre. It will feature speakers in several specialities, including orthopaedics, surgery, radiology and diabetes.