In the foreseeable future, hospitals and clinics within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will have immediate access to a patient's medical record from no matter what location. ICL, a supplier of information technology (IT) systems and services, has implemented a sophisticated health card registration and issuing system, which likely will pay useful services in a country with a population of 2.4 million people, living in a area of 32.000 square miles, and often moving from one health district to another.
The health card project has been planned to run in two phases. First, the networking and applications software was installed by ICL in collaboration with Future Trends Establishment, the company which has designed the card management software. Every registration centre was provided with a Fujitsu teamserver, a range of PCs, scanning stations, and both card and report printers. The centres are connected with a central server by means of high-speed communications links.
During the second phase, the number of card printers as well as the production speed will be increased. Up till now, 450.000 citizens, spread over nine registration centres throughout the country, have received their individual health card. As a result, the health care providers in the UAE can dispose of the patient's medical history without any long searches or endless delays.
The personal health card is provided with a scanned image of the owner, whereas his name and nationality are directly printed on it. A magnetic strip and bar cord contains supplementary data, such as blood group and possible life-saving information with regard to chronic diseases or allergies. In this way, card forgery should become extremely difficult. Yet, the individual health records are immediately available via the central network, no matter where the patient resides.
The health card system allows the United Arab Emirates' Ministry of Health to organize and maintain an accurate database of the population's medical records. At a later stage, this will be useful to collect accurate information for the planning of future health facilities in underserved regions, in order to improve the medical infrastructure in the country.