Thursday, December 13, 2012

Building quality health systems is a key focus of the World Health Care Congress Middle East

This week, a delegation from Children’s National and the Sheikh Zayed Institute joined the 3rd Annual World Health Care Congress Middle East in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The primary themes for this year's congress focused on collecting and using data transparently and effectively to improve the overall quality of health care providers around the world. In his opening remarks, H.E. Engineer Zaid Al Siksek, the CEO of the Health Authority Abu Dhabi, noted that technology advances are allowing providers to collect more information than ever before, and that health systems like those in Abu Dhabi are now learning how to use that information to truly improve care for patients.

Sessions focused on improving health
delivery and quality for patients.
The data and response generated by Abu Dhabi's Weqaya system, which provides health care to Emirati citizens of Abu Dhabi, is a good example of successful application of data to improve health outcomes. In 2008, Weqaya enrollees underwent a series of routine health screenings. It was found that 23 percent of the Emirati population had diabetes. Even more suprising, 30 percent of that group were not aware they had diabetes. The data about diabetes assessment and treatment in the emirate has resulted in an ability to compare quality at the patient level and improve effectiveness across the entire system. Today, the Health Authority has launched several educational programs and made policy changes to help providers do a better job of diagnosing and treating diabetes before it escalates into dangerous complications.

H.E. Al Siksek noted that this is simply the start, and successful health systems will need to use this data to transition to what he refers to as a "4P" health model to advance to the next level of health care: Predictive, personalized, preventive, and participatory. Not only that, but these systems will also need to begin measuring their progress and overall health care delivery by a measure of "quality divided by cost."

Doctors Peters and Finkel pose
in the Children's National/Sheikh Zayed
Institute booth at the World Health Care
Congress Middle East exhibition.  
These themes were echoed throughout the congress, with special emphasis on how the countries of the Middle East, especially the United Arab Emirates, could pioneer new models in research, clinical care, and data collection/analysis to revolutionize health care around the world.

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