Doha meet debates benefits of electronic health record system
March 16 2013 01:07 AM

The challenges and benefits of an electronic health record system to improve Qatar’s healthcare capability were discussed by high-level government, information technology and healthcare leaders at the second Doha e-Health Dialogue.

The event, presented by international law firm Pinsent Masons and professional services provider PwC, was held in Doha on Wednesday.

A robust health record system is a cornerstone in the provision of universal health coverage and the meetings are intended to promote dialogue between legislators, implementers and users of the healthcare system.

Experiences from other parts of the world were shared at the event, including a presentation by guest speaker Peeter Ross from the Estonian e-Health Foundation. Ross demonstrated how the electronic health record system worked in practice in Estonia and how the system there registered virtually all residents’ health history from birth to death. The potential value of the data that can be gathered was addressed by Matthew Godfrey-Faussett of Pinsent Masons and Dr Fadi al-Buhairan of PwC.

They explained that raw data must be developed into usable information before it becomes knowledge and that this data has to be fed into the long-term strategic vision for healthcare in Qatar. There was much discussion on how this data can be protected both in terms of technological security and legislation.

The meeting was chaired by Dr Najeeb al-Shorbaji, director of knowledge management in the World Health Organisation. “The primary concern is the health and well-being of the population. E-health systems and tools are enablers for empowering people and supporting universal health coverage. The dialogue focused on best practices and lessons learned from Europe, the Middle East and GCC countries, highlighting the importance of health data ownership, a multi-stakeholder approach in e-health development, ethical and legislative frameworks for data protection, privacy and confidentiality, the importance of standardisation and interoperability,” Dr Shorbaji said.

The roundtable session follows an initial meeting held in October 2012; Pinsent Masons and PwC plan to hold three more in the coming months to discuss various aspects of electronic healthcare systems that can benefit Qatar.

“It was very good to develop the ideas in support of the E-Health Strategy for Qatar from the last meeting that we held, with such an active and expert stakeholder group from across the sector. Communication exchange on issues and opportunities from stakeholders and practitioners is critical to the successful implementation of systems for national electronic health records. We are glad to contribute our experiences in other parts of the world to the dialogues. There is much to do, but there is no doubt Qatar is well placed and has a tremendous opportunity to realise the full benefits of electronic health records to help achieve further positive healthcare outcomes,” said Roger Phillips, director of the Pinsent Masons Qatar office.

“We are grateful to Dr Shorbaji for his skillful chairing of the meeting and to the distinguished business and healthcare leaders for dedicating time to explore this crucial aspect of healthcare delivery. Qatar will implement a world-class system for its people,” said Dr al-Buhairan
from PwC.


Drug dealer gets three months in jail

 A Sri Lankan expatriate, accused of drug trafficking, has been sentenced to three months in jail and fined QR10,000 by a Doha criminal court. He would be deported
after serving the sentence.

According to the charge-sheet, the man was approached by an undercover police agent. Both the agent and the drug dealer agreed to meet at a certain spot in Najma, where the drug dealer would deliver a packet of marijuana in exchange for a sum of QR1,050.

Eventually, the potential customer went to the designated spot and waited, and then he called the drug dealer on phone, who confirmed that he would be there within 10 minutes.

Subsequently, the man came walking towards his would-be customer and handed him a plastic bag with the contraband inside and took the sum they had agreed on.

In the meantime, the police force was watching all these proceedings from a distance. The police arrested the man and searched him thoroughly. He confessed to possessing the drugs and the attempt to sell it for the sum he had in his pocket.

The seized substance weighing 45.5 grams was sent to the forensic lab, which confirmed that it was a contraband drug.


Licence rule for businesses  in residential areas

The Ministry of Business and Trade (MBT) has stopped renewing licences of business establishments located in residential neighbourhoods as part of implementing the ministerial decision in this regard, local Arabic daily Al-Sharq reported yesterday. The decision exempts eight business activities, which include schools, educational centres, clinics, flower shops, chocolate stores and photography studios.

The report said that the ministry has already stopped issuing new permits for such commercial establishments. The MBT aims to relocate such establishments to the commercial and services streets, the report said.


Former students plan get-together

Former students of St Peter’s College, Kolenchery, Kerala, residing in Qatar, are planning a get-together in Doha tomorrow. More information could be obtained by calling 66158015 or by e-mailing [email protected]


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