How would you characterize the unique role that King Fahad Medical City (KFMC) plays in the healthcare sector in Saudi Arabia?
KFMC started life as a tertiary care organization under the umbrella of the Ministry of Health. The idea behind its establishment was to serve tertiary care patients in Saudi Arabia. We cover the core medical care competencies including, but not limited to, cancer therapy and the treatment of neurological, cardiac, and endocrine diseases, among many others. We evaluated Ministry of Health statistics on the incidence and providence of diseases and the limited tertiary care services in Saudi Arabia in order to determine our specializations. Specialties were chosen based on demands not covered by other tertiary care organization like King Faisal Specialist Hospital, military hospitals, and the National Guard hospitals to avoid duplication of services. KFMC helps take care of the needs of those patients who are not otherwise covered by healthcare on a tertiary care level. It receives referrals from all over the country, which are filtered through a medical committee that determines what needs treatment at KFMC, and what can be treated at a local facility. Through this process the patient receives a continuum of care once they return to their local hospital.
How is KFMC investing to expand the capacity of the medical city?
In 2004 the current complex was inaugurated, and started out by serving a mixture of secondary and tertiary care. In 2005 and 2006 our healthcare studies revealed the need to expand by 40%. Accordingly, we are expanding from 1,200 beds to 2,000 beds—ongoing construction is part of that plan—and we will be able to deliver service as a 2,000 bed tertiary care facility by 2017. This expansion was based on the population demographics of Riyadh region and the care needs of the kingdom. We are now making attempts to expand our scholarship programs in order to provide more healthcare training for our workforce. We are developing local training programs in every specialty within the medical city. On the administrative side we have begun Master's degree programs in healthcare administration in collaboration with international universities, such as Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Minnesota. In the first program we had 17 candidates, followed by 25 in the second, and this year our goal is to graduate 35 candidates. We are also developing a Master's degree program in research with 25 seats and, in collaboration with a university in the UK, a degree program in Medical Education.
Is there a specific Saudization target that KFMC is working to achieve?
The difficulties we have with Saudization have to do with particular areas of the profession like nursing. At this point our target is to reach 30% Saudization by 2020. We are developing scholarships to give our young people opportunities in nursing education and training, and hope to send 100 students a year to international universities. These scholarships would be completely funded through KFMC. Upon return graduates would have a job at the medical city that they would be obligated to fulfill for a period of years matching the educational scholarship KFMC provided. It is an ambitious plan that we have been working on for the past five years. Outside of nursing, we stand at about 55% Saudization of Medical jobs & more than 90% in administrative jobs in the medical city.
What obstacles does the KFMC face operating within Saudi Arabia?
One of the obstacles KFMC has to overcome is the recruitment of the appropriate workforce. It has proven difficult to attract employees of the right caliber. This was foreseen 10 years ago, whereupon we began working on scholarship development for the local workforce. The other difficulty we face today is a lack of measurement of productivity. There are no set standards for physicians and nurses; every hospital has its own measures of performance. Consequently, in creating our own set of standards, we have turned to a consultancy firm to help develop our performance measurement scale. With this information we can gauge our own productivity, see where we stand in comparison to other establishments, and identify areas for development in our workforce. We have a highly talented workforce today, but do need to quantify their performance in terms of quality and quantity. We require a combination of quality and quantity to ensure proper productivity.
© The Business Year - April 2015