SEHA spearheads UAE’s COVID-19 response with drive-through screening tents across all emirates
Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA) is the largest and most comprehensive health care network in the UAE. SEHA is a key player in Abu Dhabi’s wider health care sector reform and is responsible for public health care centers and hospitals. SEHA aims to make public health care delivery comparable to the finest systems in the world through its 13 hospitals and 46 clinics.
In response to the challenge of a growing number of positive COVID-19 cases, the Department of Health Abu Dhabi and SEHA announced the launch of the country’s first drive-through testing facility for COVID-19 on 29 March 2020. At that time, UAE was the fifth country in the world to implement this form of screening for faster testing.1 Cerner partnered with SEHA to spearhead the initiative aimed accelerating testing turnaround times for the nation’s population.
The drive-through facilities operate every day from 8 am to 8 pm, with a maximum of four people tested at the same time from the comfort of their cars. This allows for an average of 600 tests daily. Furthermore, at the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, SEHA opened 52 screening centers across all the emirates by mid-May. Each was equipped with the most advanced testing systems, techniques and globally accredited health care teams.
The efficiency gained for care providers and elevated patient experience
Cerner promptly created a brand new COVID-19 registration form to record patients’ details electronically at these remote screening facilities, which captures important data such as patient demographics and encounter details. A patient’s information is obtained from his or her Emirates ID. The process has no manual intervention and only requires the clinical staff to complete the section concerning medical insurance.
The COVID-19 order and diagnosis code are automatically added once the patient is registered, thereby eliminating the number of physician workflow steps. The last step is for the clinical staff facility to print the specimen login labels and provide them to the nurse, who in turn collects the swab and completes the lab process.
This complete automation eliminated manual intervention and helped improve the screening efficiency by ~80% (down from around five minutes to about one minute) per encounter and resulted in savings of ~1000 hours (for 15,000 encounters in March itself) for clinical staff at these drive-through tents.
SEHA has always focused on ways to provide the best care experience to all patients, and this remains true during this critical time. Pursuant to this focus, SEHA requested Cerner to create a COVID-19 screening workflow with an efficient registration and ordering process to reduce manual intervention and allow more screening tests to be done during the day. SEHA can now complete the registration process much faster, thereby reducing patients’ wait times.
With this automation, SEHA has improved the patient experience and saved the organization’s staff hundreds of hours a day. The same steps have been implemented at other quarantine facilities being managed by SEHA.
A new screening facility in Musaffah was also built to support the UAE’s national screening project, which is aimed at testing 335,000 residents and employees in the area in only two weeks. Without this innovative automation process, it would not have been made possible to screen approximately 15,000 patients in a day.