Dr. Osama El-Hassan Q1) What does “Smart City” mean to you? Smart City can be summarised to three keywords: “responsive”, “data-oriented” and “trusted”. Future smart cities should provide personalised services to its citizens to ensure it is resolving civic problems and enhancing individual’s experiences with public and private service providers. The use of Big Data and Small Data is instrumental to reach such objectives. I believe that a Smart City should develop its own innovative solutions and technologies to resolve its civic problems and support its individual citizens, rather than being a mere consumer of solutions and technologies developed by vendors or other countries. In other words, a Smart City should be a true contributor to global knowledge.

Q2) In the context of healthcare sector, what are the key challenges for large cities in emerging markets to transform into truly smart cities?
 There are many challenges pertained to implementing healthcare-oriented Smart City use cases. The key issue is the balance between the individual’s rights of privacy and what is the highest good for the community as a whole. Most of the effective healthcare-oriented smart city solutions require maintaining a 360-degree view of the patient/consumer data which entails exchanging considerable amounts of patient information across the ecosystem. Additionally, sharing portions of these data with non-healthcare organization and data-sets poses more risks and threats to individuals and the healthcare organisations.

Q3) How does the Health Data & Information Anlaysis Department in Dubai contribute to the smart city concept?
 The Health Data and Information Analysis Department has contributed significantly to the development of the 2015 Dubai Data Law which put in place the required legal framework for classifying and sharing data across the city of Dubai. This law has been fully utilised to develop the city-wide open data initiative and to establish Dubai’s Smart City Platform and the Smart City Consumers Platform “Dubai Now”.

Moreover, we have launched the NABIDH project which is Dubai’s Health Information Exchange platforms which will control the process of exchanging sensitive health information between the stakeholders of the healthcare ecosystem, and streamline the efforts with Smart Dubai Office to share portions of these data-sets for certain Smart City use cases.


Q4) In your opinion what’s the “Smartest City” in the world and why? From the healthcare perspective, I really admire the work of the City of Chicago in the U.S. as they managed to develop healthcare-specific scenarios and successfully integrate them within the Smart-City project. Their efforts showcase the opportunities that big data can offer to improve populations and individual’s health.


Dr. Osama El-Hassan, Head of eHealth Section, Dubai Health Authority

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