FOR YOUR HEALTH

Saudi Arabia 2016 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Ahmed Al-Bader, Founder & CEO of SihaTech.com, on the features of the new SihaTech platform, improving the quality of treatment, and future plans.

Ahmed Al-Bader
BIOGRAPHY
Ahmed Al-Bader is Founder & CEO of SihaTech.com. He has also founded Shughly.com and Db8.com. He holds an MBA from Oxford University and an Illumina Fellowship. He is a former advisor for Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and an advisor for King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND) and other private public and private institutions. He was also formerly Chief Strategy Officer of Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON).

What are some of the features of the new platform SihaTech is implementing in the healthcare sector?

Healthcare providers globally are moving to online and integrated services. Such growth is due to a shortage in physicians, hospital beds, and expanded healthcare schemes by both the public and private sectors; this shift preempted us to assist the market and regulators to build a gradual shift toward online e-health service. Our solution is a healthcare accessibility and engagement portal, bringing doctors closer to their patients and allowing patients to find the best-fit, most available doctors, book appointments, record results, schedule medication, and follow through on care even after visits until the patient is satisfied with the treatment unless another visit is needed. This is all with a goal of making healthcare services more easily accessible for the Saudi population and the GCC. The new platform will help doctors know and learn more about their patient's symptoms and complaints and communicate with them over the treatment schedule by using our advanced technology. Currently, patients cannot communicate with a doctor without going to the hospital; all other industries have moved electronically except healthcare, which moved more carefully. The engagement portal will allow patients to rate the level of satisfaction from doctors, which is a step forward for quality care; however, for the first time doctors will also be able to rate patients on how well they follow medical treatment and advice. It is a unique, unprecedented method to push both parties to collaborate to achieve better patient health and better healthcare provision.

What are the benefits of this new platform?

This new platform, called SihaTech, or “your health," is targeted for summer 2016. All doctors will have their own complete profile listing their education, specialties, sub-specialties, and so on. Patients will be able to choose which doctor to contact and can search by location, practice, gender, or just the closest available appointment. Patients want access to doctors with specific specializations, experience, language, or simply same-gender doctors but do not know how to find them. The number-one rule in healthcare is accessibility. The quality of treatment will improve if the right doctor is chosen and the proper information of the patients is provided. Our Kuwait pilot has succeeded greatly and received numerous awards and attention. SihaTech will save patients the hassle of traveling to hospitals hundreds of kilometers away and all the complications that arise from the follow up appointment. At the same time, it will encourage patients to report progress to avoid any complications arising from not visiting the hospitals, reducing unnecessary in-person follow-up appointment, while making sure the patients' progress is followed, too.

Do you have any concerns related to safety or privacy issues?

We are abiding by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires us to ensure that the data is secured from “reasonably anticipated threats." SihaTech user profiles are secure and saved on the customer's own device under encryption and healthcare provider systems.

How do you plan to develop this platform in the future?

We have already prepared the online consultations platform, which should enhance the accessibility even further more than booking and messaging by enabling virtual consultation and second opinions regardless of locations, improving treatment compliance through daily monitoring and app reminders, and allowing more than one provider to collaborate in a single treatment plan for better care, reduced tests, and less EMR variance. We currently have a relationship with two large online consultation agencies. As an entrepreneurial business, we need to do something that gives back to society. We are on cloud systems, allowing medical records to be shared and used across all healthcare facilities if needed. Today if a patient requires medical attention abroad or even locally, no one even knows what his or her history is.