HEALTHCARE TRANSFORMATION

Saudi Arabia 2020 | HEALTH | B2B

The healthcare sector in the Kingdom has witnessed significant improvements in indicators for the past three decades and has passed advanced milestones in terms of improving quality and patient safety.

Nahar Mezki Alazemi
NAHAR MEZKI ALAZEMI
Secretary General
Saudi Health Council (SHC)
Mohanned Alrasheed
MOHANNED ALRASHEED
CEO
Lean

Could you tell us more about your activities?

NAHAR MEZKI ALAZEMI SHC is mandated to implement the National Healthcare Strategy that was approved in 2009. We identified five major strategic directions that we have translated into the following policy objectives: to support the newly established Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); support developing an integrated law for this public health protection; and focus on the continuous monitoring of causes and risk factors for priority public health problems. Related to that, we provide an annual assessment of road accident problems, prepare the national survey to measure public awareness and degree of the participation in public health protection programs, and organize periodic public health press conferences.

MOHANNED ALRASHEED Our portal for healthcare providers is now completely different, since we decided to open up three gateways, one each for patients, providers, and practitioners. It is a one-stop shop for each of those. The providers' gateway now has more than nine services, and we expect to reach 15 in 2019. We are working on more services with the Ministry of Health. We are working with the Saudi Central Board for Accreditation of Healthcare Institutions (CBAHI), the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance (CCHI), and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA), and some of the providers' services are found through there. It is more for the health sector at large. We moved up one executive level, since the services we are working on now are more national based. We want to serve the health sector, rather than the Ministry of Health itself.

What role do you play in the digitalization of the healthcare sector?

NMA SHC harbors the National Health Information Center (NHIC), which is responsible for the nationwide digitalization initiative within the NTP. One of the most critical and far-reaching initiatives are unified health records. NHIC is working closely with all service providers, including the Ministry of Health and CCHI, to support this project. The other landmark project is the data observatory that will help the Saudi healthcare system produce national-level KPIs and monitor the progress and improvements on critical indicators.

MA The way to work on technology transformation is by providing healthcare clusters with services that only serve them, all while using the same service management that we provide to others. The solution within the gateways is sometimes national for everyone and sometimes customized for clusters. For example, we are working with the East Cluster to identify the service we can add on the portal. We are also working on a referral system for only the East Cluster, using the same portal. If it works for other clusters, we could then deploy it for others as well. That is really one of the key features of our platform.

What are your main strategies to achieve the public health objectives of Vision 2030?

NMA In addition to our general mandate of implementing the national public health strategy, we recently established a health economics unit that works closely with the World Bank to conduct national economic studies to understand the economic impact of diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, and other diseases. Such studies will entice the production, revision, and monitoring of national policies and address the burden of disease. In addition to health economics, SHC has worked on health education and early detection national programs and is working on establishing a collaboration center for evidence-based policy.

What can you offer the private sector moving forward, and what public-sector projects have room for private involvement?

MA Lean plays a major role in enabling the private sector, and much of it already benefits from the services we provide. In terms of telemedicine, we enable the sector to gain access to specialized doctors. We also give the public sector images that can be read by private-sector specialists for further analysis. We are working on improving the quality of rehabilitation services across the board, transferring patients from the public sector to the private sector. We are also working on ways to outsource radiological imaging. There are other projects we are working on such as delivering and dispensing medicine to the private sector. We want to encourage the private sector to dispense medicine to the public sector as well.