Saudi Arabia 2017 | HEALTH | COLUMN

TBY talks to Dr. Abdulaziz Ibrahim AlRajhi, General Executive Director, King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital (KKESH), on the sector.

Dr. Abdulaziz Ibrahim AlRajhi

How have the Vision 2030 reforms in the health sector changed the way you operate?

Since its foundation, KKESH has focused on delivering its services and training future ophthalmologists in the Kingdom and the GCC. In accordance with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, our role has expanded to include developing and supervising national eye care programs and community services. Thus, the impact of KKESH on Saudi ophthalmology, and even the GCC, is huge. In many aspects of eye care, KKESH is quite developed compared to other centers in the region. For example, KKESH is the first hospital in the Middle East to reach the highest level, HIMSS 7 stage, in the adoption of in electronic medical records (EMR) in efforts to achieve a paperless environment and optimize patient care.

What are the main challenges when it comes to implementing this new program of care currently being rolled out by the ministry?

In terms of the new model of care proposed by the ministry, there have been several pathways for care, and KKESH—because of its extensive experience in day care surgery and rapid delivery of services—was selected to lead the development of the “Planned Care" pathway for the whole country based on our own model. We are the only tertiary eye care hospital in the country, and because we serve the whole population as well as the fact that there are no primary standalone eye care facilities, it was a challenge to build a complete cluster around KKESH. The changes that are evolving are beneficial to KKESH's mission and to the service that we provide to the community because it now gives us larger influence in eye care throughout the whole country. As a result, this will help patients receive better and more efficient and comprehensive treatment. Our plan is to expand the services that we provide at KKESH. There are ambitious plans to establish other centers throughout the Kingdom that could be either part of KKESH or closely collaborating with it.