KSA ‘fastest growing’ eHealth market in the Middle East

Saudi Conference for eHealth is an opportunity for healthcare IT market leaders to share research and present the latest technologies

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Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz, deputy crown prince, second deputy premier, special envoy and adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and honorary president of Saudi Scientific Association for Health Informatics, called for qualified national cadres to raise the electronic health services provided to Saudi citizens.

Addressing the 5th Saudi Conference for eHealth organized by King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, he said the Kingdom’s leadership has paid attention and support to healthcare.

The three-day conference aims to bring together CIOs, practitioners and researchers interested in the application of information and communication technologies (ICT) to healthcare and medicine. Various experiences and new research in eHealth transformation and decision making improvement will be discussed in the conference.

Also, the conference is an opportunity for healthcare IT market leaders to share their latest research and case studies and also present the latest technologies in the conference associated exhibition.

Health informatics is a discipline which deals with the resources, devices, and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in health and biomedicine. Health informatics tools include computers, clinical guidelines, formal medical terminologies, and information and communication systems.

Strong political will and government initiatives are driving Saudi Arabia’s Health IT spending boom. It is the fastest growing health IT market in the Middle East, growing by around 11 percent annually, according to available figures.

The Kingdom’s 10-year ambitious eHealth strategy to modernize and expand its digital health system envisions connecting more than 3,500 healthcare facilities with about 70,000 beds under one integrated network.

The Kingdom will upgrade and equip over 2,900 Primary Healthcare Centers (PHC) with new automated, standardised eHealth solutions and connect them to be able to share patient information between themselves, hospitals, labs and specialty clinics.? To ensure smoother progress, the Saudi government is implementing a two-tier health eHealth service plan.

Tier 1 program for the first five years of 2011 to 2015 will build a network of primary healthcare centers and clinics established throughout the Kingdom. Tier 2 will support Tier 1 by developing a further robust network of secondary care hospitals and specialized treatment facilities from 2015 to 2020.

A version of this article was originally posted on the Arabian Gazette on Nov. 19, 2014.

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