Industry Thought Leadership

Etisalat Transforms Healthcare in UAE with Digital Innovation

July, 2021


Etisalat Digital’s (business unit of Etisalat) unified patient experience value proposition transforms patient care through a combination of innovative technologies.

A positive patient experience matters more than ever, according to healthcare industry leaders worldwide. In an annual survey by Omnia Health Insights in partnership with GRS Research & Strategy, nearly half (45 percent) of respondents in clinics, private hospitals and public hospitals across the globe identified understanding patient needs as the single most important aspect in ensuring a satisfactory patient experience in 2021 – a 15 percent increase from the year before.

The Voice of the Healthcare Industry Market Outlook 2021 found integrated health services (19 percent) in second place, ahead of access to new and improved technologies (13 percent).

Survey participants also saw transparency, convenience, wait times and clinical atmosphere as priorities conducive to creating a satisfactory patient experience. All these span different stages of the patient journey whereupon the patient interacts with the healthcare delivery system.

A satisfactory patient experience will, for example, result from a timely appointment, ease of access to information, and effective communication between patient and healthcare provider.

Alongside clinical outcomes and interventions, Etisalat Digital’s Healthcare Division sees enhancing patient experience as necessary to building a patient-centric healthcare model.

Etisalat Digital aims to improve the patient experience through its unified patient experience solution whilst generating operational efficiencies and cost savings for the healthcare provider.

Addressing every stage of the patient journey
Digitising the patient flow begins with a comprehensive exercise to intimately understand the patient journey, which involves mapping interactions or “touch points” between patient and provider.
By identifying specific bottlenecks, Etisalat Digital is better able to design appropriate technology-led solutions tailored to the provider. Inclusivity is also taken into account, recognising that not all patients are digitally-savvy.

Take Patient A (we will call him Fahad). Fahad’s patient journey begins at home. Over breakfast while preparing himself coffee, Fahad receives a reminder from his hospital mobile app, about an upcoming appointment the same afternoon with his diabetologist. This mobile app which is integrated with several of the hospital systems, empowers him to easily access various hospital services, book new appointments including telehealth, and also interact with the provider. While getting ready for his appointment, Fahad receives another notification from the hospital app alerting him to leave in the next 35 minutes if he were to make it on time given the anticipated traffic on his route. Just as he is about to set out, a ride share option pops-up on his hospital app. Instead, Fahad chooses to drive himself. Navigation through maps, helps him take the fastest route.

Upon arrival at the hospital, he finds a parking space with ease thanks to the smart parking feature that has identified and reserved an available slot near the out-patient clinic,, saving him time and effort, especially in the searing heat. He opts to go without a digital valet service, available for certain cases such as a physical disability that would send a porter to the door ready to receive the patient.

As Fahad enters the building, grateful to be in the cool environment, a self-service kiosk allows him to automatically check in through facial recognition and an Emirates ID reader (similar to checking in for a flight at the airport), meaning he doesn’t have to queue. While at the kiosk he quickly updates his profile with his new email address and makes a quick payment.

While at the diabetes clinic he receives an estimated wait time on his mobile app since the queue management process is also handled digitally. Upon seeing the consultant he is advised for a blood test, an ultrasound and given a prescription.

Fahad turns to his mobile app again for guidance. Using indoor navigation, the app directs him to the precise location, first to the ultrasound, since there is little wait time as determined by the intelligent system, before taking him to the lab. Meanwhile, he is notified by the app that his prescription is ready for collection from the pharmacy, saving him more time.

A day later, Fahad receives his test results through the hospital app and is able to discuss results with his doctor via video-consultation feature.

He is furthermore reassured that his medical data is safe: Etisalat Digital takes security very seriously. All data through the application is end-to-end encrypted, including in transit, while Etisalat Digital’s solutions are hosted securely on its own cloud platforms and data centers within UAE.

Improving outcomes with cloud-based solutions
Effectiveness, Patient Safety and People Centricity are key elements of Quality of Care. Globally, Health Systems have been trying to meet quality expectations by introducing transformation that makes care more integrated, participatory, and personalised. Some of the challenges in rapid transformation were made apparent by COVID-19, where Etisalat saw digital technologies come to the rescue. However, significant work still lies ahead, and are glad that this conversation has taken centre stage like never before.

Etisalat Digital is playing an increasingly important role in realising health sector transformation using technology enablers creating value in both public and private sector. Most recently, the roll out of the new cloud based digital platform, an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system, addresses critical barriers faced by medical practitioners and clinics in the private sector to transition from paper based to electronic record keeping.

Etisalat Digital’s Cloud-EMR, a part of a suite of solutions called Business Edge for Healthcare, provides essential digital tools for health practitioners to manage their day-to-day workflow. In addition to patient record keeping, it includes tools for patient scheduling and appointment management, placing laboratory and pharmacy orders, billing, and electronic claims. Necessary regulatory and security compliances, such as two-layer authentication, role and privilege-based access, and localised code catalogues specific to each Emirate are also built-in.

The capabilities to support modern inter-operability standards such as HL7, FHIR and CDA allows the EMR platform to integrate with Health Information Exchange systems of different Emirates and communicate data in real-time to improve patient outcomes. It is not about providing a software system but build necessary services around it making adoption easier so that healthcare providers don’t have to think about maintenance and can focus on managing their practice and providing best possible care to their patients.

Etisalat Digital’s vision behind the Cloud-EMR platform is twofold: firstly, to support government initiatives like Malaffi (Abu Dhabi Health Information Exchange) and NABIDH (Network and Analysis Backbone for Integrated Dubai Health )with connecting healthcare providers and creating a truly unified database of patient records; secondly to enable digital transformation of medical practices, helping them find cost efficiencies in day-to-day operations and elevating the quality of care to their patients.