Apps, News

Digital health library to be launched in Dubai through ORCHA partnership

A new digital healthy library will be launched in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), through a collaboration between the Osteopathic Health Centre and ORCHA (the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps).

The one-year contract has an option to renew for a further two years and is expected to give a projected 40,000 customers in the emirate access to a library of health apps that support a range of conditions. Areas include mental health, smoking cessation, obesity and allergies. There will also be a focus on ‘family medicine’, to provide family members with support on “sexual health, ante- and post-natal care and family planning”, as well as a range of physical conditions.

According to ORCHA, Dubai’s Osteopathic Health Centre has a “holistic approach to medicine” and specialises in “non-invasive and manual therapies”. It will host a full library of apps on its web pages, each of which will have been “tested against more than 350 digital health standards and meet crucial ISO 82304-2 benchmarks”, says ORCHA.

Patients will be able to browse the selection and learn about what’s available, with the aim of helping them to self-manage some conditions from home.

ORCHA will provide all the Centre’s practitioners with CPD accredited training in how to use digital health, as well as an online Digital Health Formulary, which will “enable apps to be selected and prescribed in the same way as traditional medicines”.

George Kowalski, ORCHA’s Business Development Director, will be based in Dubai to oversee the project. He said: “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.”

Nargis Raza, Proprietor and Director of the Centre, also commented: “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.”