SAS and Cerner: Powering COVID-19 Track & Respond Dashboards


A blog article by

Ali Alajme , Director of Health Information Systems, Ministry of Health & Prevention

Bashar Balish, Senior Director & Client Leader - Cerner Middle East & Africa

Marcel Yammine, General Manager, Gulf and Emerging Markets (GEM) - SAS


Close up of young male doctor using digital tablet Digital transformation of the healthcare sector has seen unprecedented growth and acceptance in the recent past, as a shared global pandemic experience brought to the fore the clear need for better data collection, analysis, and sharing.

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Recent experiences have shown that some of the differences in how authorities worldwide responded to the healthcare situation were largely defined by their access to quality data, and their ability to extract actionable intelligence from this data.

The UAE’s COVID-19 strategies and response have resulted in the nation being ranked among the top countries in the world, according to a recent survey by the Deep Knowledge Group. This ranking, among the world’s top 20 countries for coronavirus response, was for the seamless demonstration of ‘a high level of regional safety’.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) has been at the forefront of the national response, including early steps to contain the spread and conduct testing, and guidelines for behavior in public and private. The Ministry has relied on a scientific, data-backed approach to inform its strategy and communications, and this has helped it identify cases earlier, track test results, evaluate lab and health facilities’ capacities, identify at-risk groups, and direct cases for treatment.

Cerner, a leader in intelligent solutions for health and care, and SAS, a leader in data analytics and artificial intelligence, partnered to create analytical dashboards that tracked operational and clinical information. These dashboards are designed to enable officials to visualize, analyze, and share the latest data on COVID-19, putting them in the best possible position to make decisions and take action to slow the spread of the disease. More information on this project is here.

Presenting data and its analysis in a visual format has proven to be an effective way to communicate seamlessly across an organization. The ability to see the various parameters and variables – and the interplay between them – provides a significant enhancement to the quality and reliability of decision-making.

Successful implementation of dashboards is vital for ensuring their use at the forefront of the data-driven decision-making process. This requires sound technical and institutional strategies to be defined from the outset, and the outcome to the healthcare industry is enhanced by the significant global expertise and experience that both Cerner and SAS bring.

The Cerner dashboards, built on deep experience with the healthcare industry and powered by SAS Viya, are interactive for ease-of-use and can be customized to individual client requirements. The science of health care informatics has seen a significant transformation in recent times, due to its ability to positively impact processes, information-sharing, clinical outcomes, and numerous other priorities of national healthcare stakeholders.


About Author

Marcel Yammine

Marcel Yammine is General Manager for SAS, Gulf and Emerging Markets (GEM) region since July 2015, and he is a member of the Leadership Team for the SAS Middle East & Francophone Africa Region. His current position entails managing SAS Analytics’ business, and growing its potentials, in the GEM region. He manages the business across the banking, telecom, commercial and public sector industries, and he is responsible for maintaining and growing SAS’ market share in the competitive analytics business landscape. Marcel was previously the Country Manager for SAS in Saudi Arabia since July 2009. With the support of his competent team and his visionary management, Marcel had managed to grow SAS presence in Saudi Arabia by four folds over a tenure of six years, cementing the company’s position as a key player in the analytics and data management business in the Kingdom. He has also managed to expand the alliances network and nurture executive level relationships across the region’s key organizations. With close to two decades of experience in the technology industry, Marcel has held several responsibilities ranging from implementing and project managing enterprise software solutions to pre-sales and sales management at leading multinational organizations such as JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and Oracle across the Middle East and North Africa Region. Marcel holds a Master degree in Business Administration from The American University of Beirut.

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