DOHMS unveils fully functional e-services

Dubai’s Department of Health & Medical Services (DOHMS) has unveiled a portal crammed with a series of new services. Through the site, individuals can, among other things, acquire or renew health cards electronically.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  July 23, 2003

|~||~||~|Dubai’s Department of Health & Medical Services (DOHMS) has unveiled a portal crammed with a series of new services. Through the site, individuals can acquire or renew health cards electronically and apply for medical fitness certificates, while businesses can renew staff health cards and apply for medical permits for new and existing establishments. Additional services available through the portal include an online query system, an ‘ask the doctor’ feature and an informal online meeting place for parents and doctors.

The portal has been developed with the Dubai e-Government team and is designed to reduce the physical contact citizens require to use DOHMS’ services. It should also improve the government department’s own efficiency.

“DOHMS is a key government department whose success depends on fruitful and effective interaction with a large number of people. [However,] the sheer volume of customers makes efficient interaction an overwhelming task,” says Qadi Muroushed, director general of DOHMS.

“[The new portal] has the capability of eliminating many physical constituents by migrating the processes to electronic platforms and offering dramatically improved efficiency and speed,” he continues.

The portal is fully integrated with the government’s content management system (CMS). According to Salem Al-Shair, director of services at Dubai e-Government, the CMS will enable DOHMS to customise its offering to suit user requirements and modify content on the department’s website. Furthermore, the Government Information Network (GIN) will ensure that the system is dynamic, stable and secure.

“Dubai e-Government’s CMS also brings advantages such as cost reductions, assured maintenance, storage content and shared hardware. It allows each department to add content and retain corporate identity, while at the same time permitting integration with other departments,” says Al-Shair.

In addition to the CMS, DOHMS is also using Dubai e-Government’s web server, hosting facilities and hardware, while also leveraging the knowledge of its technical team.

“We have integrated with them [Dubai e-Government] because they have certain components that we did not want to invest in, such as the CMS, the web server and the search engine. However, we are also using our own application servers so that when the user clicks on a particular e-service the applications are ours. This means we don’t duplicate efforts,” explains Sina Khoory, IT director at DOHMS.

“We do our health card renewals, for example, and we want to concentrate on online transactional services through our system. For the static web content, search engines, look and feel and so on we will continue to use their [Dubai e-Government’s] applications,” he adds.

Moving forward, DOHMS intends to add to the portal’s transactional services so that it can reduce over the counter contact yet further. “We want most of the transactions, where a customer doesn’t have to be present, to be done online. We want all the paperwork done through online services,” says Khoory.

As to whether or not Dubai’s citizens will actually use the latest of the government’s e-services, DOHMS’ IT director is confident that they will. Furthermore, Khoory reports that, since the portal’s soft launch, the number of business users interacting with the department online has increased dramatically.

“When the health card renewal [service] was limited to the people that had credit cards, [usage] was limited and we were just getting about 200-300 transactions per month. Once we opened it up to the corporate sector and gave them an online credit limit we found that 8% of our renewals were being done online. We expect that the more corporates we give this facility to, the more renewals we will receive through the portal,” Khoory says.||**||

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