Dubai Health Centre to spearhead growth of digital health in UAE

Shot of a young scientist using a digital tablet in a lab

Citizens and ex-pats based in Dubai will have access to the Middle East’s first digital health library, thanks to a ground-breaking partnership between the Osteopathic Health Centre, Dubai, and ORCHA (the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps), the world’s largest app review and distribution company.

The Centre, founded in 2000, takes a holistic approach to medicine, specializing in non-invasive and manual therapies.

This one-year contract, which has the option to renew for a further two years, will complement the Centre’s existing offer, allowing a projected 40,000 customers in the country to access a library of top-rated health apps, to support with everything from smoking cessation to mental health support, to allergies to obesity.

An additional key focus for the app library will be family medicine, an area that 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.

Nargis Raza, Proprietor and Director of the Centre said:

“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% 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.”

Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for the Middle East, Simon Penney, said:

Digital technologies have been at the heart of the public health response to Covid-19 worldwide and we’ve all learned that with digital on hand, we can do far more with less. It’s heartening to see Dubai’s Osteopathic Health Centre leading the way in the Middle East with this forward-thinking contract with ORCHA. The centre’s patients will benefit in so many ways and I hope this is the start of a leap forward in digital health for the country and the entire region.”

ORCHA business development director, George Kowalski, who will be based in Dubai to oversee the project, said:

“When it comes to digital health, the UAE is at a turning point. The population is very mobile, as we have so many ex-pats 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.”