Citizens and expats based in Dubai can now access the Middle East’s first digital health library, created through a groundbreaking new partnership.
The Osteopathic Health Centre, Dubai, is working with ORCHA (the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps), the world’s largest app review and distribution company, to create the library.
Through a one-year contract, which has an option to renew for a further two years, a projected 40,000 customers in the country will be able to access a library of top-rated health apps, to support with everything from smoking cessation and mental health support, to allergies to obesity.
An additional key focus for the app library will be family medicine, an area which provides family members with support on sexual health, ante- and post-natal care and family planning, plus a broad range of physical conditions.
As part of the partnership, ORCHA will provide all the Centre’s practitioners with CPD-accredited training in how to use digital health plus an online Digital Health Formulary, which will enable apps to be selected and prescribed in the same way as traditional medicines are prescribed.
A full library of apps will be hosted on the Centre’s web pages, each of which has been tested against more than 350 digital health standards and meet crucial ISO 82304-2 benchmarks. Patients will also be able to browse and learn about what’s available, helping them to self-manage conditions from their homes.
The Centre, founded in 2000, takes a holistic approach to medicine, specialising in non-invasive and manual therapies.
Nargis Raza, proprietor and director of the Centre, says: “Digital health is an idea whose time has come, for our country and our region. Evidence is mounting year by year that apps improve outcomes. For example, only 2 per cent of those with COPD today use an app, yet clinical studies confirm that the right apps can improve outcomes and reduce the need for medical appointments.
“Many of our patients experience chronic back pain and we’ll be using our app library to recommend the best apps to help them self-manage this debilitating condition at home, as part of our care programme.”
ORCHA business development director, George Kowalski, who will be based in Dubai to oversee the project, says: “When it comes to digital health, the UAE is at a turning point. The population is very mobile, as we have so many expats in the country, and a by-product of this over the last year has been an increased COVID-19 infection rate.
“Medical practitioners haven’t been able to see enough patients, due to strict safety protocols. Being able to give patients access to high-quality, safe apps will be transformational.
“We are here to support the Centre with its innovative project and part of that will mean engaging with patients and professionals to help them understand the benefits of health apps.
“In the future we’d like to see digital health technologies adopted across the entire UAE, along with a standardised approach, in the same way that Europe’s Nordic states are working together to create a unified platform across five independent countries. The result will be improved healthcare access for millions of people.”