RECENTLY, GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS in Dubai announced a plan to conduct genetic testing on all three million residents. Experts say this is an unprecedented decision by any national government.

This human genome project will be part of the Dubai 10X initiative. “The authority is looking to target all residents of the emirate of Dubai, focusing on UAE nationals in the first phase of implementation,” stated Humaid Al Qatami, Director General of DHA.

“The project’s timetable extends over 24 months, during which we will be collecting samples, analysing DNA sequences, and recording the results in the data bank,” he continued. “The following phase involves automated learning and artificial intelligence to issue reports that support research, forecast future disorders and epidemics, and plan preventive measures.”

The practical goals are to use the genetic information to proactively improve clinical care. Officials in charge of the project say that the genetic data will be used to detect changes in the genes, chromosomes, and proteins that can lead to genetic diseases. They hope this information will help researchers to prevent and eradicate chronic diseases and cancer, and reduce the financial burden for treating chronic diseases.


MICRO HOSPITALS ARE A GROWING TREND. These are facilities that may be between 15,000 and 60,000 square feet, with as few as eight beds.

Surprisingly, reducing the cost of inpatient care is only one reason driving this trend. Another is easier access and patient convenience.

That’s the opinion of Tory Wolff, Co-founder of Massachusetts-based Recon Strategy. He says most of these micro hospitals are being located in suburbs and exurbs. “You want to be readily accessible so that patients will want to—when it’s appropriate—come in to see a doctor or a nurse so they don’t wait and wait and wait and end up in an [emergency department] with something that’s very serious,” he observed.

“Micro hospitals are the decentralization of healthcare,” stated Richard Zane, MD, Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado. “You can match the cost of care to the perfect environment.”

Micro hospitals will add an interesting dimension in how hospital lab managers supervise clinical lab testing that is provided at these sites. This is a trend that will also further encourage more point-of-care testing solutions.


ON FEBRUARY 15, Roche announced that it would pay $1.9 billion to acquire Flatiron Health of New York City. Roche had previously held 12.6% of Flatiron’s shares.

Flatiron Health has an interesting focus on oncology. According to Forbes, “The Flatiron platform captures and normalizes both structured and unstructured oncology data from diverse source systems. It also captures unstructured data from sources such as labs, research repositories, payer networks, among others, and its analytics engine pulls out relevant insights from the unstructured data, which, when combined with electronic medical records (EMR) data, generate the real-world evidence.”


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