Q & A With Dr. Zaki Almallah


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Dr Zaki joined Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in 2017 to establish the Bladder Centre. For 14 years, Dr Zaki worked as a consultant urologist at University Hospital Birmingham – The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he established an internationally renowned practice, caring for patients with complications following prostate cancer treatment and voiding dysfunction. Dr Almallah's experience attracted academic attention in the UK and US where he delivered lectures and workshops, as well as public and media interest. Over the years, Dr Zaki has served in high profile leadership roles focusing on clinical informatics, governance and education.

Please introduce yourself and what you are currently working on?

I am a consultant urologist and staff physician at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a new state of the art super hospital. For years, I have been involved in healthcare informatics. I am passionate about finding new avenues to care for my patients. I believe that we, as doctors, need to change the way we deliver healthcare in the 21st century.


Do you have a vision for Health Informatics (HI)?

HI has two aspects in future healthcare, firstly, HI is live information about the way we practice using data and statistics - some call it dashboard data - and electronic medical records (EMR). Secondly, and to me more importantly, HI is how to resolve the problems of healthcare capacity and access for patients, home monitoring, and health alerts through what is increasing called e-Health.

 

As a medical professional, why did you choose to study health informatics?

The way I tackle challenges in my day to day clinical practice is to first identify the problem and define it. Then I try to clarify why our current method of dealing with this problem has not helped. Today, many challenges can be addressed using technological advances. Perfect examples are communication with patients, patient empowerment and education. Improving these areas would ultimately lead to better patient experience and care. 

 

Why should other health professionals study HI to support their careers?

Simply stated, e-health is the future. Healthcare professionals and doctors must embrace change otherwise the train will move forward without us. I remember the days when people resisted EMR, and now look how much it has changed our clinical practice, and with no doubt improved the safe delivery of healthcare; for example, drug prescription and interactions. 

Why did you choose to get involved in the Taskforce/eHWDC 2018 conference?

I was really impressed by this group initiative, the vision and the desire to tackle the complex areas of policy making and training in e-health and healthcare professional development. I thought that the clinicians' involvement in shaping the future of e-health is critical. I am very pleased that the organizing committee embraced my views and recommendations. 

Why is it important for others to get involved?

It is critical that large hospitals, healthcare systems and enterprises, as well as small clinics and organisations, are fully engaged in the discussion and the future of e-health. The participation of various stakeholders in our GCC eHWDC, and the representation of their views and issues, makes eHWDC the optimum platform to exchange ideas and to plan for the future.

What advice would you have for young people today considering a career in health informatics?

HI is now a specialized field of medicine with a clear pathway for training and education. You can earn a degree from top universities, as well as fellowships and international associations, that support healthcare professionals pursuing a career in HI.

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