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Unified Patient Portfolio Across the UAE Hospitals Essay

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Updated: Jun 26th, 2021

Emerging Trends

The development of healthcare and other fields in such a country as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should not be neglected, including the growth of this country from other perspectives within the global arena. In this paper, the main goal is to discuss the emerging innovation trends that can be applied to patient portfolios in all UAE hospitals. The exchange of patient information between hospitals is under governmental control and defined by the Federal Law # 7 of 1975 and the Ministry of Health Code of Conduct 1988, according to which patient information has to be confidential, and all medical records can be revealed only with a patient’s prior informed consent (O’Connell). However, the rise of medical technologies, such as electronic health records, patient portals, and telemedicine, continues to challenge healthcare workers and patients by introducing new ideas for care improvement (Bajwa 649). Therefore, additional research and implementation requirements have to be developed as well.

The UAE depend and, at the same time, benefit considerably from government funding. Simon Stirzaker developed a possible scenario for UAE hospitals within the next ten years, including the possibility of being able to serve more patients, detect and control more chronic diseases, exchange more knowledge, and to integrate better data collection methods. A report of the U.S-U.A.E Business Council shows that the healthcare sector in the UAE has witnessed considerable expansion during the last two decades (2). The Information Technology (IT) market has improved through efficient mobile applications to engage patients, analyze data, and digitalize medical records (U.S-U.A.E Business Council 29). The number of patients has constantly increased, and some people are eager to compare different hospitals to evaluate their options and ascertain possible care alternatives. The exchange of information between hospitals has become an emerging trend for the UAE region.

Approaches to Address Current Problems

Regarding the impossibility of avoiding the emerging need for innovations in the UAE healthcare sector, it is important to identify current problems and find effective solutions. The exchange of patient information is a serious topic for discussion. It is recommended to analyze the idea of the implementation of a unified patient portfolio system in all UAE hospitals through the prism of several analytical tools.

Six Thinking Hats

Edward de Bon is the author of the Six Thinking Hats method of critical thinking about solutions to possible problems. His main idea is to develop six different opinions on a challenge. There are six hats and six different points that can be developed for the idea of a unified patient portfolio:

  • White Hat: facts and data are the main components. The population of the UAE will grow from 9 million to around 11 million within the next two decades (U.S-U.A.E Business Council 6). The UAE’s aging population promotes an increase in general and geriatric care by 11% (U.S-U.A.E Business Council 6). People want to receive high-quality services.
  • Blue Hat: improvements are observed. It is expected that all people, regardless of their social status, gender, or age, receive the required amount of care. Unified databases should not differentiate between people.
  • Red Hat: instincts and feelings are considered. People avoid panic or discomfort when they ask for health care. Satisfaction with care and working conditions is an expected outcome.
  • Green Hat: innovation perspectives are discussed. A unified patient portfolio shortens the time required to gather patient information. Quick access, regardless of the geographical location of a patient, is possible.
  • Yellow Hat: advantages and benefits are observed in innovations. Patients use fast, high-quality services. Nurses and doctors find the necessary information quickly.
  • Black Hat: threats cannot be ignored. Civil rights and privacy issues cannot be abused. A unified patient portfolio to be created in a way that does not contradict the working laws and does not violate human rights.

Negative to Positive

The idea of a unified patient portfolio may be characterized by a number of uncertainties. Such negative emotions as the organization of multiple processes, the creation of a new electronic healthcare system, and the collection of patient information could be frustrating. People can be uncertain as to the quality of information, the effectiveness of online searches, and the readiness of medical personnel to use it properly. In their turn, the healthcare staff might be in need of additional time and training to learn the requirements of the new system. However, as soon as the innovation is implemented and checked by direct users (medical and healthcare workers) and indirect users (patients who receive care), the positive aspects will become clear, including the speed of care, the possibility to cover different health factors, and a chance to find the most appropriate service for patients.

SCAMPER

The SCAMPER technique was introduced by Alex Osborn and is based on seven important steps. Following this approach, a unified patient portfolio across all hospitals in the UAE has to be implemented in the following way:

  • (S) Substitute – portfolio management can be an improvement that speeds up the care process and facilitates cooperation between a patient and a hospital;
  • (C) Combine – an idea is based on gathering all current records held by different hospitals into one unified source for patient data;
  • (A) Adapt – easy access to all patients’ histories of diseases is offered;
  • (M) Modify – additional personal information about patients is obtained from governmental sources;
  • (P) Put to other uses – nurses learn about patients’ families and cultures and avoid additional stresses. Doctors may use the information offered by other hospitals;
  • (E) Eliminate – unnecessary data records of every hospital are removed, and human resources are spent on care improvement;
  • (R) Reverse and rearrange – local patients’ records can be restored in case the unified patient portfolio system does not work.

Innovation, Its Features, and Benefits

The developed innovative service for all UAE hospitals has a list of functions and helpful features. Increased IT healthcare projects result in reduced medical reimbursements and the implementation of valuable management practices to maximize benefits and expenditures (Jahn). The main function of unified portfolios is to provide leaders and their staff with informed and effective strategies to allocate information and correlate all the organization’s projects. This innovation leads to a better opportunity to deal with IT-related procedures and increase standards of patient care. This innovation also helps to understand that hospitals are not similar to other complex organizations, where the same products and services can be offered endlessly. Every disease and patient requires a unique approach that may be managed differently in various hospitals (Mahate et al. 119). Therefore, a properly developed business innovation plan for a unified innovation is required.

Business Innovation Plan

The improvement of the healthcare sector in the UAE is one of the main goals that the government and some leaders of local organizations are trying to develop. It should be noted that in recent years the methods of how data can be explored and stored have influenced the way the health care industry has developed. The creation of a unified patient portfolio is a chance to open new doors for medical and healthcare workers to monitor patients’ information and develop various treatment plans. At the same time, this idea is characterized by a variety of challenges and tasks that have to be completed. It is not an easy task to record and update all the facts about patients and use the most appropriate ways to analyze medical records, insurances, and the number of hospital visits. Therefore, a business innovation plan has to be developed to clarify the main steps, identify target users, discuss feasibility factors, evaluate current knowledge, and choose effective leadership styles.

General Description

Today, many hospitals admit they are not always able to serve the number of patients who require their services. They have to work hard, communicate with each person, and define chief complaints and additional factors in order to diagnose properly. Healthcare organizations, including hospitals, have to deal with enormous amounts of information and specific billing requirements (Shashank). Therefore, a unified patient data platform is one solution to promote quality, a purposeful IT environment, and functional staff. The goal of this business plan is not only to explain how to introduce innovation and determine potential users but to prove the urgency of this step for the UAE hospitals in today’s working environment. This type of platform should help to deal with the gaps in health care and services offered to patients by promoting a flexible infrastructure, developing action-oriented applications, and through establishing clear analytical tools (Shashank). Such an integrated and unified portfolio will contain the information that may be divided according to the following categories:

  • Demographics
  • Social determinants (i.e., family composition, cultural background, religion, or income)
  • Medical history (i.e., visits, diagnoses, and treatments)
  • Vital signs
  • Allergies
  • Surgeries
  • Laboratory results (past and recent)

This approach creates new opportunities for nurses and doctors to begin working with a patient, make quick decisions about possible family involvement, and focus on the steps that are necessary during the initial stages of care. The peculiar feature of the chosen platform is that patients’ portfolios can be easily readable on mobile devices, PCs, and tablets. Healthcare workers are free to choose the device with which they can comfortably work. Patients, in their turn, have to share their opinions and consent to allow information to be stored on the unified portfolio. The innovative aspect of this idea is that all hospitals offer the information about their patients within the same platform. At the same time, all medical records and data should stay confidential and be discussed only within healthcare organizations without revealing these facts to the general public, family members, and other interested parties.

Target Users

Big data management is a chance to change and improve healthcare services for UAE citizens. On the one hand, healthcare workers may be defined as the target users of such unified portfolios. These people are interested in the creation of useful sources of information about their patients. The more details they can include in patients’ portfolios, the better outcomes can be achieved. Healthcare workers, including administrators, nurses, and therapists, as the users of patients’ portfolios, save their time during the first examination. For example, they do not need to ask additional questions about past surgeries, medical treatments, and allergies. The gaps in care may be easily identified (Shashank). However, it is also necessary to be careful and check if all information is valid and accurate. To meet this requirement, it is recommended to point out the date of the last update of each portfolio entry. Nurses can learn a patient’s family history, religion, and culture that may influence a treatment process because some religions, for example, may refuse the use of specific care methods.

On the other hand, patients also have to be considered as potential users of such unified portfolio platforms. In fact, they become direct contributors to the creation of this innovation. First, they have to give their permission to exchange the information across all the hospitals in the country. Beforehand, they have to be informed about the urgency and necessity of this initiative so that they can understand the benefits and risks. Second, they must provide true and actual information about their health, social history, and family composition. However, not all patients may be eager to inform the developers of these portfolios each time they experience changes. Therefore, the question about updating the information in patients’ portfolios remains a significant issue, and one that has to be addressed as soon as the first stages of the innovation plan are successfully taken.

Feasibility

One of the central characteristics of any innovation plan is its feasibility. The developers have to answer a number of questions, including the readiness of healthcare organizations to accept change, the presence of required technological opportunities, and the evaluation of the outcomes. A unified patient portfolio platform includes a set of technologies that work together to move data through hospitals. There are four main foundations: patient information, medical history, laboratory results, and visits. The first and last types of information may be improved by patients and healthcare workers. The access to the last two categories is open to healthcare workers only. An integrator layer is required to direct the data offered. This data integrator is able to identify a device and resource from which a user enters and tracks the goals of the chosen actions. Two types of systems have to be included: electronic medical records (to store patient information) and communication between patients and administrators (to set a date of a new visit or to ask for a recommendation).

Knowledge and Culture

In the UAE, as well as in any other country, many citizens take care of their health and try to choose the best services that meet their needs and expectations. For example, the U.S-U.A.E Business Council states that some Emirati patients are eager to travel to the United States in order to receive both long- and short-term treatment. However, the creation of an integrated platform with patient data can help people learn about their opportunities and choose the most appropriate options.

For example, it is possible for a patient to make several appointments with the representatives of different hospitals to discuss their current health problem. As soon as a date is set and the meeting is possible, a patient can be provided with certain guarantees. Unless a positive result is not achieved, the patient can use the already gained knowledge, receive a portfolio with all past medical visits and diagnoses, and take the following step to try another hospital, even in another country. Such a system facilitates the process of information exchange, presents all available opportunities, and save patients’ and healthcare workers’ time.

Leadership

The last step of this business innovation plan is the discussion of leadership qualities and the best style to promote creativity and success. In an innovative environment, not all employees may feel safe and confident. Some of them might not be prepared for new options. Some people require additional knowledge. Still, the majority of staff might not understand how they would be able to integrate the innovation into their ordinary schedule. That is why a good leader has to be identified at the initial stages of the innovation process. It is not an easy task to lead innovation, and a list of qualities should be developed, as well as a number of goals established and understood.

The first task of any leader is to introduce an idea and make sure its performance is clear to all potential users. The second step is to identify the staff who can participate in its development. Finally, a leader has to remove all doubts and uncertainties among the actors, in this case the developers, healthcare organizations, and patients. A unified portfolio is a chance to improve the quality of health care and to speed up cooperation between patients and hospitals. Care may be acute and received in the emergency department or regular and received during check-ups. Despite the wide range of reasons for hospital care, patients expect to observe high-quality care throughout. Leaders are responsible for the organization of services and use the idea of a unified data platform as a chance to improve the work of hospitals. Such qualities as confidence, communicability, support, and enthusiasm help to promote strong and effective innovations and encourage ordinary workers and users of services.

Conclusion

In general, the offered innovation plan and the idea of having an integrated patient portfolio for all hospitals proves that the UAE healthcare system can be improved and changed within a short period of time. The government and leaders of this region have focused on constant improvements and changes that make their industries one of the best examples in the world. It is no secret that the UAE has already settled the frames that cannot be achieved by many developing, and even developed, countries. Therefore, the decision to integrate a unified portfolio is a chance to demonstrate how effective this platform can be. The use of three analytical tools for critical thinking proves the urgency of the innovation and readiness of the society to take this new step. The evaluation of cultural aspects of the region, available knowledge, and the healthcare environment as a whole, helps to realize that the chosen systems, structures, and processes are appropriate. Finally, the choice of a leader should not be neglected because this particular step makes the innovation complete and feasible.

To conclude, it is necessary to say that the peculiar feature of this implementation plan is the possibility to improve and add changes whenever needed. Before implementing this project and making all hospitals work under a unified patient portfolio system, it is better to gather public feedback and investigate similar ideas in other countries. Such suggestions will demonstrate if culture and the population may influence the implementation process. In addition, even the most properly planned innovations are associated with certain risks and challenges. The developers in this plan have to be ready to analyze a situation, react to unpredictable changes, and minimize the chances of negative outcomes. Patient data is an important part of any treatment process, and must be properly gathered, moved, and stored.

Works Cited

Bajwa, Mohammed. “Emerging 21st Century Medical Technologies.” Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, vol. 30, no. 3, 2014, pp. 649-655.

Jahn, Mark. Becker’s Health IT & CIO Report. 2017, Web.

Mahate, Ashraf, et al. “Measuring the Effect of Size on Technical Efficiency of the United Arab Emirates Hospitals.” Global Journal of Health Science, vol. 9, no. 3, 2017, pp. 116-127.

O’Connell, Nick. Al Tamimi & Co. 2014, Web.

Shashank, Abhinav. “Why Should Healthcare Organizations Opt for a Unified Data Platform.” Innovaccer. 2018, Web.

Stirzaker, Simon. Entrepreneur. 2018, Web.

The U.S-U.A.E Business Council.2016, Web.

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