The Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD) is pressing ahead with a raft of innovations designed to increase public confidence in the safety of Abu Dhabi’s health system, the HAAD & MEED Middle East Patient Safety & Quality Congress 2015 was told.

The congress that was held in Abu Dhabi on 11-13 May heard that HAAD is developing the Abu Dhabi Healthcare Quality (ADHQI) which will be used to track trends in 38 of the emirate’s public and private hospitals and clinics as part of its Abu Dhabi healthcare quality initiative. It has submitted data about 23 indicators of quality and safety for the final two quarters of 2014. Participants in the programme were this week asked to provide information about the first quarter of 2015 online.

“The ultimate aim is to have a system which the regulator can monitor,” HAAD director general Maha Barakat said. “We are starting with quarterly updates and we are looking for a real-time posture. This will allow us to intervene.”

Barakat said that patients must always be at the centre of healthcare.

“Too often, that is forgotten in service provision,” Barakat said. “Sometimes the patient part gets pushed back. It must never do that. The regulators and the leadership must fight against patient security being pushed down the priority list.”

HAAD is the regulator of the Abu Dhabi healthcare sector. It is the first in the Middle East to launch a data-based healthcare quality improvement programme.

“We are encouraging healthcare providers to report on incidents,” HAAD strategy director Asma Al Mannaei told the congress. “The majority of healthcare professionals identifying problems tend to fix it and forget rather than fix it and report it. We want to prevent harm before it happens. Our outcome indicators are designed to prompt healthcare managers and clinicians to look at what they are doing.”

HAAD senior advisor Omar Najim said the authority is implementing a quality framework with strong regulation that will help create a world-class system in Abu Dhabi.

“HAAD is focussing on four domains: effectiveness of care, patient safety, patient centred care and timeliness of care,” he said. “Monitoring healthcare is impossible without the use of clinical indicators.

HAAD says it plans to make the ADHQI available to its partner organisations in GCC and beyond.

Other keynote speakers at the congress included Professor Tawfik Khoja, director general of the executive board of the GCC Health Ministers’ Council and Ahmed Salim Mandhari, director general of Quality Assurance at Oman’s Health Ministry.

International speakers included Lord Kakkar chairman of  University College London Partners and professor of surgery at University College London, chairman of the UK’s Care Quality Commission David Prior and Robert Naylor, Chief Executive of the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

HAAD was the official partner of the congress. It was endorsed by the GCC Health Ministers Council and the Saudi Quality Council.