J2 Interactive

Realising Dubai’s Vision For the Future: Over One Thousand Medical Facilities Connected In Transformational Health Information Exchange

Realising Dubai’s Vision For the Future

Dubai Health Authority Collaborates with J2 Interactive to Ensure the Successful Creation and Implementation of Their Government-Sponsored Platform

The Challenge

Government organisations worldwide are charged with developing public health policies, managing healthcare costs and resources, and identifying healthcare trends that require intervention, such as the spread of infectious diseases. Data access and analyses are critical to these efforts, but the lack of an interoperability infrastructure often hinders them.

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) recognised these challenges when connecting the Emirate’s healthcare providers to their organisation via a unified health information exchange (HIE).

The Network and Analysis Backbone for Integrated Dubai Health (NABIDH) project began when the DHA decided to pair its strategic partners from IBM Middle East (IBM ME) with external specialists capable of executing the technical aspects of the project quickly. They required a partner with unique qualifications to build and deploy the solution within a year.

The HIE and data platform came with an extensive list of requirements, including the ability to:

  • Connect a diverse range of provider organisations, including 20 hospitals, 30 clinics, and nearly 50 clinical centres, while also connecting to neighbouring Abu Dhabi’s existing HIE
  • Aggregate, normalise, standardise, and store healthcare data from Dubai’s provider organisations in accordance with their clinical data policies and regulations
  • Provide patients with secure, reliable access to their complete medical records in both Arabic and English
  • Implement and manage a comprehensive consent model to ensure data security and integrity
  • Evolve to meet the changing needs of the DHA, providers, and the communities they serve in the future

The ultimate goal for the DHA was to use NABIDH and its data to inform public health policy and management decisions. The DHA also sought to better understand and measure the quality of care being delivered while providing longitudinal medical patient records to help the Emirate’s 4,500+ hospitals and clinics and their patients make more informed healthcare decisions.

The Solution

Building the platform required the collaboration of three partners — J2 Interactive, IBM ME, and InterSystems — with teams working across 11 time zones to produce a highly customised solution. And doing so, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since NABIDH was InterSystems’ first HIE in the region and only the second such solution in the United Arab Emirates, IBM ME recognised the need to bring in a uniquely qualified partner to deliver the entire technical solution. As a result, they introduced J2 to the DHA because of J2’s extensive experience developing and deploying the InterSystems HealthShare suite.

To ensure the programme’s success, J2 leveraged its team of InterSystems HIE subject matter experts, bringing in solution architects, project managers, technical developers, systems engineers, and educators to perfect NABIDH. J2 also supplied the DHA’s stakeholders and partners with training to maintain and expand the system.

Osama Farooqui, J2’s NABIDH Project Manager, described what made this partnership special. “It is the collaborative spirit J2 brings to projects,” he said. “We work well with our partners, and there is no pride of ownership. Ultimately, our collaboration with the DHA is about growth and friendship while pursuing the ultimate goal of Dubai and the vision the Emirate has for its people.”

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Dr. Mahera Abdulrahman, Health Information Governance Advisor for the DHA and an accomplished physician and researcher, is responsible for drafting and implementing all health information governance, policy guidelines, and standards for the DHA. She echoed Farooqui’s thoughts about the value of the partnership and J2’s contributions to the success of NABIDH.

“If there was a problem, we sat at one table and discussed it while supporting each other,” Abdulrahman said. “It was one team. Whatever knowledge we were lacking, J2 was teaching us. And on several levels – operational, technical, and regulatory – we worked together hand-in-hand.”

The Result

Phase 1 of the project implementation was completed in under a year thanks to the cooperation between the DHA and its technical collaborators.

Today, NABIDH delivers incredible benefits to the Emirate. The platform:

  • Unifies and manages nearly 12 million medical records
  • Provides access to more than 1,000 medical facilities through integration with 62 different EMR systems
  • Supports more than 55,000 clinicians in their daily pursuit of improved health outcomes

J2 continues to provide training and support to the DHA as the functionality of NABIDH evolves. Since the platform’s launch, J2 has:

  • Established four principal data pipeline formats (C-CDA, HL7, FHIR, InterSystems SDA) for data sharing
  • Led 16 user groups to develop data health insights dashboards that meet unique end-user needs
  • Deployed a customised Clinical Viewer platform in accordance with consent and data sensitivity guidelines

Dr. Abdulrahman said that the DHA initially faced some reluctance from providers required to adopt new interoperability standards to access the platform. But by the end, she said, the response from hospitals, providers, and practitioners “was good because they knew that, with NABIDH, they can see a patient’s journey…they were happy.”

Creating and deploying an interoperability platform requires time, technology infrastructure, and experts to ensure that building and implementation go smoothly. As Dr. Abudulrahman said, “It was a good journey. We worked together and learned from each other from a medical and technical perspective.”

J2 is committed to applying our experience to make a positive impact on government agencies, healthcare organisations, and the communities they serve. Our collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority for the benefit of providers and citizens across the Emirate is just one example. Drop us a line to learn more about how we can help you meet your strategic goals.

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J2 Interactive

J2 Interactive is an award-winning software development and IT consulting firm that specializes in customized solutions for healthcare and life sciences.