The Dubai Diabetes Centre (DDC) intends to introduce artificial intelligence in the detection of retinopathy, introduce obesity clinics in the Emirates and commence tele-monitoring of patients who miss their appointments. These efforts are aimed at curbing the growing cases of diabetes.
Dr. M Hamed Farooqi, DDC’s director, elaborated on the application of artificial intelligence by saying that the center has to have 14 retinal images per diabetic, as per the global diabetes standards.
The approximate number of patients diagnosed with diabetes in the IAE is more than a million. For DCC to interpret 14 million retinal images per year, it requires over 50 eye specialists, all working full-time.
Deep learning systems utilizing artificial intelligence have the power to recognize diabetic retinopathy among other related eye illnesses through the use of retinal images that have high accuracy level. Hence, utilizing AI can aid in providing retinopathy screening for many diabetics and also lead to better use of ophthalmologists’ time and resources.
According to Dr. Farooqi, the use of AI in detecting diabetic retinopathy could transform the way the Dubai Diabetes Centre screens patients, minimizing time while making the process cost-effective. He also added that the technique would also result in the better use of resources.
With the new method, ophthalmologists would only require seeing the retinal images of individuals with retinopathy, identified by the system, instead of the current system that requires them to screen all patients.
The Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Humaid Al Qutami, inspected the DCC and was given a detailed outlook of the latest achievements as well as the center’s further expansion plans.
During the inspection, he cited that DHA plans to offer specialized medical services. In fact, Al Qutami said that since the beginning of the center back in 2009, DHA has ensured that it offers specialized services to individuals with Diabetes under a single roof.
The CEO of DHA’s specialized healthcare services Dr. Ahmed Bin Kalban stated that diabetes is a disease that needs specialized multidisciplinary care. As such, they offer global standards of care at the Dubai Diabetes Centre (DDC).
The center also boasts North American train experts including pediatric endocrinologists and consultant adult as well as a team consisting of retinal camera technicians, exercise therapists, dietitians and nurse educators.
Dr. Kalban asserted that continuity of care is a fundamental aspect of DCC and each patient visits the same expert each time. However, the continuous addition of more patients has increased the number of existing patients, which has resulted in a delay in securing new patient appointments.
DDC intends to start an obesity center soon in a bid to assist patients dealing with obesity through effective and realistic methods of losing weight as well as maintaining the weight loss. Farooqi also highlighted that the center is currently working on conducting an additional pilot study that is intended to assess the effective use of tele-monitoring technology, particularly in patients who do not show up for follow-up visits, leading to poor diabetic control.