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Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA)

SEHA adopts a system-wide approach for automated operating room booking


Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) automated the operating room booking process and eliminated 85 percent of the time required to get an operation scheduled. This reduced over 2,000 hours in patient waiting time.

The challenge

Prior to the implementation of the automated operating room (OR), booking was a manual process that included physician documentation, booking of the OR, insurance documentation and approvals.

The handwritten documentation required the physician to include a summary of the presenting condition with justification of the planned procedure and special codes that had to be obtained from clinical coders via fax, taking up 48 hours to return. Additional delays occurred with insurance denials. Other issues:

  • No forms tracking at the OR booking office
  • Patients were asked to take their forms to the insurance office
  • Delays due to denials from insufficient documentation and insurance data
  • Delays in OR as the equipment had not been requested
  • Delays in OR due to the unavailability of critical care beds as none had been requested
  • Wasting resources by inefficient processes

Implementation phase

It was identified that within Cerner documentation, there was an existing template to request hospitalization, and a report had been developed to support printing of the request. In order to meet financial, physician and scheduling requirements, changes were made to the existing documentation template and report, with approval sought from the original owner.

Using the new template, SEHA added the insurance details of the patient automatically, based on existing documentation, the logo of the hospital and if ICU bed was required. When the template design was approved, the finance representative presented the new form to the insurance companies for their approvals.

Prior to implementation of the new changes, training was delivered to all key stakeholders involved in the new process that included physicians, OR schedulers and insurance clerks.

Benefits realized

  • Total time saving of 30 minutes per patient based on six months’ data (1 October, 2015 – 31 March, 2016)
  • A total of 3,596 requests, equivalent to 2,277 hours, saved doing unnecessary documentation
  • Improved documentation compliance
  • No faxing to clinical coders, therefore better utilization of their working day
  • Greater staff satisfaction due to a reduction in disturbances and an increase in productivity
  • Fewer delays in financial approvals
  • Ability to track where the OR request came from and what stage the OR request is at
  • No patients walking requests from department to department

The use of technology has provided the staff with a process that can be tracked to ensure OR booking is seamlessly built in to integrate with end users’ workflows, enabling them to utilize their time better to support the needs of the organization. The new process has provided patients with fewer delays and greater satisfaction. In addition, staff have become less stressed as the new process is quicker and more efficient.


SEHA was a winner of the 2016 Cerner Achievement and Innovation Award in Patient Experience. This Cerner award is presented to the healthcare facility that demonstrates successful and/or innovative approaches to engaging patients in their care and/or the care provided for the patient.

About SEHA

Abu Dhabi Health Services Company SEHA (saw-ha), which means ’Health’ in Arabic, is responsible for all of the public health in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is the capital, the largest, and wealthiest emirate of the UAE. SEHA has branded their Cerner Millennium® system ‘Malaffi’ (mah-lah-fee), which means ‘My File’ in Arabic. SEHA owns and operates 12 hospital facilities, 2,723 licensed beds, and more than 65 ambulatory and primary health care clinics. SEHA is one of the largest employers in the Middle East with more than 15,500 doctors, nurses and other clinical staff and administration employed.

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Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.