Saudi Arabia 2017 | HEALTH | B2B

Integration of medical faculties and hospitals into the medical city model is swiftly changing healthcare in the Kingdom.

How has your medical city evolved over the years?

DR. ABDURAHMAN AL-MUAMMAR If we delve into a little history, King Khalid University Hospital was established in 1980 as a tertiary care teaching facility. Prior to it, King Abdul-Aziz had been independently operating as a teaching hospital. Both the hospitals were then linked to King Saud University's College of Medicine, providing tertiary care and specialized ophthalmology and otolaryngology care, respectively. With the continued expansion of services and increase in patient visits, a need arose to better reorganize the facility. Hence, in 2012, the foundation for an integrated healthcare system in the shape of King Saud University Medical City was laid. Within a year and half, we remapped our operating model, realigned our governance structure, and established a new strategic direction for the medical city.

PROF. MAHMOUD SHAHEEN AL AHWAL I joined the medical faculty in 1977, two years after it was founded. We used to rely on traditional curricula as our method of education and we used to have a well-known, world-class teaching staff, most of which came from outside of Saudi Arabia. At that time, the university hospital had only 250 beds and a basic layout and structure. However, the level of training was outstanding and the services provided were excellent. Since I returned to the Kingdom in 1992, we have not stopped developing. We went from an academic staff of around 50 to more than 400, and we have assistant, associate, and full professorships in all specialties and subspecialties. We send 70% of our young academicians to Canada to complete their post-graduate training, 20% to the US, and 10% to Europe and local programs.

How important is the accreditation process in facilitating connections abroad?

AAM We, as a medical city, have to consider the care and education functions for our institution. In terms of medical tourism, clinically, there are two aspects to consider. From the humanitarian perspective, our doors are open to provide care to all, regardless of nationality. From the business perspective, increasing globalization and corporate consumerism have led to an influx of people, particularly from the GCC, which calls for the establishment of high-caliber centers. Accrediting our institution not only ensures infrastructural capacity but also skill adequacy. If we talk about education, medical tourism opens avenues for knowledge sharing, evidence-based learning, and establishing long-term relations. KSUMC is trying to attract foreign students, particularly from the GCC and the Middle East, to further include students from diverse backgrounds.

MSAA One of the achievements that I am proud of, on the hospital side, is our Diamond level of accreditation from Canada International. We have also achieved JCI accreditation. We also have institutional accreditation from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada, and we are the first hospital in the Middle East to achieve this. We consider accreditation a tool, not an end in itself. It is a process that allows us to maintain the quality of care and service we are proud of. It also has substantial benefits for our students because it allows them to be trained according to the most rigorous standards and procedures. This prepares all of our staff to work with any North American hospital.

How do you fit into the requirements of Vision 2030 and what are your expectations?

AAM Vision 2030 has enabled us to streamline our priorities and steer our movement in the right direction. Our strategy was already in line with our national agenda, but Vision 2030 added more focus to it. We know where we fit in the competitive scenario and how can we facilitate healthcare, education, and research at the national level. Furthermore, since the development of an autonomous governance structure, our goals can be aided by corporatization as an integrated healthcare system. We are now looking forward to partnering with the private sector and seek opportunities of operational collaboration, turning our support functions, like laboratory testing, medical imaging, rehabilitation, and sterilization, into services for a larger population.

What role does technology and innovation play in your delivery of healthcare?

MSAA Technology and education go hand in hand. Technology has allowed us to achieve our goals much more quickly. Many new techniques and practices in medicine rely on advanced technology and we are dedicated to staying at the forefront of the field. Our health information system is called Phoenix, and we built it locally with the help of Al Enayah. We continue to develop and modify this program to make it fit our needs. We are planning on developing a new program with the support of the university and Jeddah Valley Company, and this program will give us mobile capabilities.