The UAE Ministry of Health has announced the establishment of Unison – the first joint project of its kind in the field of medical imaging between the public and private sectors at a press conference held on the sidelines of the Arab Health 2016 exhibition and conference. Unison is offered in collaboration with Abu Dhabi International Medical Services Company (ADI), a leading healthcare solutions provider representing some of the world’s renowned medical equipment and pharmaceutical companies, and GE Healthcare, a global provider of transformational medical technologies and services.
The announcement was made in the presence of senior officials from the Ministry of Health, including H.E. Awad Al Ketbi, Assistant Undersecretary of the Support Services Sector; H.E. Dr. Yousef Al Serkal, Assistant Undersecretary of the Hospitals Sector; Dr. Dr Kalthoum Al Balochi, Director of Hospital Management; and Dr. Sheikh Saqr Al Mualla, Deputy Executive Director of Qasimi Hospital. The press conference was also attended by Maher Abu Zeid, President and CEO for the Middle East & Turkey, GE Healthcare; Amer Kakish, CEO of the International Federation of Investment, parent company of ADI; and Tamer Akl, Director of Business Development, ADI.
H.E. Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, UAE Minister of Health, signed the agreement. Under the terms of the contract, the Ministry of Health will work to outsource operations and management of the radiology services of 11 of its affiliated hospitals to ADI. GE Healthcare, on the other hand, will provide specialized solutions and technologies. The partnership will help facilitate and accelerate access to quality medical services. Furthermore, GE Healthcare and ADI will provide the latest CT (computed topography) imaging devices and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment to provide innovative services and technologies that enable doctors to diagnose cases with greater accuracy and speed.
H.E. Al Ketbi emphasized that the Ministry is keen to use the technical innovations and digital medical implementation under the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. There is a need to develop therapeutic services by modernizing equipment and attracting the best competencies for imaging to provide high-quality services at par with international standards so that Emiratis do not have to travel abroad for analysis, radiology and medical treatment.
The Assistant Undersecretary said: “The introduction and development of all CT systems in UAE hospitals according to the project of integrated medical system will support the quality of healthcare services and enhance the Ministry’s competency in the field of scientific research for the development of the global X- CT protocols in the future.”
“We are delighted to work with the UAE Ministry of Health through this agreement which provides an important model for effective partnerships between the public and private sectors,” said Zeid. “We are confident that outsourcing radiology solutions in conjunction with the development of potential remote facilities in the country will be strongly complement the efforts of the Ministry to develop the healthcare system and improve the results of patient treatments in the UAE.”
“We are committed to this long-term partnership with the UAE Ministry of Health and GE Healthcare as it represents a unique approach to healthcare services in the public sector and is a model for the country and the region,” added Kakish.
Dr. Al Balochi pointed out that the new CT technology will help doctors make accurate diagnosis, ensuring swift exchange of diagnostic images with peers across the UAE. Furthermore, it will also allow the sharing of medical images with experts in the UAE and other countries for more opinions. She elaborated that they have selected devices with highly advanced technologies to reduce the radiation to less than half a factor in all patients, especially children.
“The CT scan is one means of medical imaging that relies on X-rays and is used to render three-dimensional images of the internal organs. It creates several bi-dimensional images which are collected around a fixed axis of rotation,” concluded Dr. Al Mualla.
In a CT scan, information and images on a particular body part are generated via a CT device which prevents X-rays from passing through it. The scanned information is then used to create three-dimensional images. A CT scan ensures standard finite precision and speed and can provide images of body parts that may otherwise be difficult to capture using conventional radiographic imaging.
During the screening process, the patient lies on a narrow, motorized table which goes into a modern spiral device. An examination is done with a tube rotating for a short period of not more than a minute in most of the tests. In the latest technology, the screening of the whole body is done in less than 30 seconds.