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New integrated health record system for expats in GCC

The GCC member states are currently working to introduce a comprehensive health record system for expat workers, which will be linked through an electronic grid and completely integrate them.

Several senior officials from health ministries of GCC nations discussed the new system during their three-day conference early this week in Kuwait. The Conference is the first of its kind in the region to discuss electronic linking screening programs for expatriates and establishing a mechanism for application of smart cards and integrated electronic links between the GCC countries.

The e-linkage aims to protect GCC nationals from spread of disease and infections and to ensure that expatriates are medically fit for work when they are recruited and do not suffer unnecessary physical, psychological or financial burden due to medical condition. Further, the new system aims to guarantee that the recruited expatriates are free of contagious diseases.

During the meeting, the officials discussed means of developing an automated system for health information and applying the latest systems and capabilities in the field of e-health. The conference agenda included deliberations regarding electronically linking health facilities in the region, which would include storing data and medical records and archiving X-rays.

The Assistant Undersecretary of Public Health Affairs at Ministry of Health in Kuwait, Qis Al-Duwairi, said that percentage of unhealthy expats entering GCC nations have declined to 5 percent, and therefore, activating the e-linking system in manpower exporting countries.

Al-Duwairi said that iris scanning and fingerprints too will be part of screening to prevent expatriates from changing their personal data and information.

Al-Duwairi further said that health officials also worked out details of implementing a Smart Card system for GCC nationals and residents, which could help retain their personal health information and serve as an e-medical file.

He concluded that e-linking is a common phenomenon now, with a unified data structure that aims to achieve integration among member states.

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