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HIMSS21 Middle East: How Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi are on track for digital transformation

by Mikael Harris
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The potential impact of technology on healthcare innovation and delivery is remarkable and I think this is where the whole direction of healthcare delivery is in the next century,” said Dr Bandar bin Abdulmohsen Al Knawy, President of King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, and Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, Saudi Arabia, as he delivered the conference’s day two keynote speech, ‘From Vision to Action: Digital Health Transformation on the Frontline’. Following the speech, Dr Khalid Alodhaibi, CIO, Medical Services Department, Ministry of Defence, Saudi Arabia, and Dr Hamed Ali Al Hashemi, Executive Director Strategic Affairs, Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, discussed the deployment of technology in their respective countries.

The session was moderated by Dr Taghreed Justinia, Regional Director IT Services, Technology & Health Informatics at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, Saudi Arabia.  

Leadership at all levels is necessary
Al Knawy said effective leadership was essential for digital transformation: “I think you need leadership, not only in the management and the top management, but at all levels, to ensure that we have training for our staff and frontlines. We need to look at skills and maintenance and many aspects of technology…We need partnership between our IT and technical team, and healthcare workers, and this really is a very important aspect of integrated healthcare management.”

“When we started the implementation, we gathered pretty much all the 26 hospitals and we agreed that we were going to implement one solution, therefore all the clinical activities need to be unified.

“This is very tough for an organisation that is used to acting in solo fashion. Having people agree on a process and a way of doing things, was not very easy. 

“I wouldn’t think the toughest part was the technical piece, it was the unification of clinical activities, according to clinical pathways and medical best practices,” said Alodhaibi. He added that he hoped Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation would be complete within four years.

The value of connected health
Al Hashemi, Executive Director strategic Affairs, Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, outlined how healthcare is being transformed there: “To go through this journey, we’re looking at the infrastructure, we’re looking at the workforce, as well as the governance and then, of course, the funding and the innovation around research and we develop some kind of guiding principles around the use of the technology.”

He said that all the hospitals in Abu Dhabi have now been connected, as well as 90% of all clinics and 50% of pharmacies. He is aiming to onboard and connect every Department of Health licensed facility by the end of the year. He described this as, “a significant achievement in terms of speed and execution, as well as value added for healthcare.”

Register now to listen to the session ‘on demand’ at HIMSS21 Middle East.

Source : Healthcare IT News

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