MOH News
‘MOH and HIMSS Middle East Conference and Exhibition’ to Kick off Tomorrow under the Health Minister’s Auspices
30 March 2015
Under the auspices of His Excellency the Minister of Health, Mr. Ahmad bin Aqeel Al-Khateeb, the Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), will organize tomorrow (Tuesday) the MOH and HIMSS Middle East Conference and Exhibition. The conference will take place on Jumada-II 11th and 12th, 1436H corresponding to March 31st and April 1st, 2015, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Riyadh.

On this occasion, His Excellency the Vice Minister for Planning and Development, Dr. Muhammad Khoshaim, explained that the conference aims to shed light on the latest health techniques on the international level, and highlight the vital role of the e-health service and its contributions to providing the best possible services of rendering health care for all beneficiaries all over the world. He pointed out that the conference will also review the advancement accomplished by the Ministry of Health and the strategies it is adopting in developing the usage of e-health to boost quality and efficiency of health system for all Saudi citizens and residents. The conference will be attended by a constellation of specialists in the field of e-health on the regional and international levels, and with the participation of a number of leading officials in the MOH. 

Additionally, he said that the conference will provide a clear vision on the e-health strategy in the Ministry and its role in boosting health services in the Kingdom, as well as the future plans in this regard.

On his part, the Advisor to the Minister of Health and Supervisor-General of the Information and Communication Technology, Dr. Abdullah Al-Wehaibi, held a press conference to highlight the importance of the conference and the subsequent exhibition. “The conference represents a technical gathering for those concerned with e-health at the international and local levels, in order to exchange experiences, information, knowledge and the latest techniques in the field of e-health and to come out with recommendations which contribute to developing e-health services,” said Al-Weheibi.

Within the same vein, he pointed out that the conference will be attended by experts from a number of developed countries including USA, Canada, Britain, France, as well as the regional level.

Answering a question on the importance of reviewing the common e-health file in the conference, Dr. Al-Wehaibi said, “We have recently launched the first phase of the common e-health file. However, we prefer using ‘common’ rather than ‘unified’, for the word ‘common’ denotes openness for participation amongst the different health centers, and we are going to review a number of  experiences of countries in this respect.” 


As for the importance of e-government transactions, His Excellency explained that the Ministry has made many achievements indicating that building e-health services requires firstly building infrastructure for the data centers, setting institutional rules and regulations and then launching a package of e-services on the websites pertaining to the different parties. He confirmed that MOH e-portal is one of the best websites on the government level as per the evaluation of e-Government Program (YESSER) and the United Nations.

Likewise, Dr. Al-Wehaibi underlined the importance of the availability of the technical resources and human factor to inject this e-system with the necessary data and deal with the relevant forms, as well as setting specific administrative operations and user interaction as the user is the basic partner in the success. 

Regarding the coordination with the other health sectors other than MOH facilities in the field of the e-health services, Dr. Al-Wehaibi said that MOH provides 60% of the health sector services in the Kingdom, while 20% of the services are provided by the private sector to which MOH provides guidance and control, whilst the remaining 20% of services are provided by the health sector pertaining to other government bodies. He added that His Excellency the Minister of Health heads the Saudi Health Council which undertakes the coordination responsibility amongst all health fields including e-health citing the Saudi health standards put forth by the MOH that represent an outstanding achievement at the regional level, in addition to the Health Electronic Surveillance Network (HESN) as all parties are involved currently in entering Coronavirus data through this system. 

Further, Dr. Al-Wehaibi explained that MOH has more than 110 of data centers in the hospitals and its embarking currently on developing these centers and exceeding their efficiency. 

He stressed that there is no country in the world using currently a common e-file, saying "this is a truth which we have to face." Nevertheless, he underscored some pioneering experiences in this field, particularly in Canada. 

Additionally, he said that MOH Portal provides a package of information for the first beneficiary including Children Vaccinations, the Referral System "Ehalty", and "My Health" Service, through which the citizen can review his files. He added that the Ministry shows keen interest in adding more information of benefit for both the visitor and the patient.

Regarding the infrastructure of the e-file, Dr. Al-Wehaibi said, "Work is underway in the primary health centers and hospitals, as we have conducted a successful trial in Al-Aqrabiyah center in Kohbar, Eastern region by establishing a system for the healthcare centers, this system will be common at the level f he Kingdom as it provides health file services for the primary healthcare center." He lauded MOH experience in the e-health program of great benefit to some countries such as Turkey which was the ideal model for the Kingdom upon launching the program before three years.  

All the more, Dr. Al-Wehaibi will present a working paper during the conference on how MOH was able to boost healthcare results and increase efficiency in general, by harnessing health information systems techniques aiming at providing good and world-class infrastructure targeting all community categories. He underscored that the national strategy of the e-health is characterized by its comprehensiveness for including unique plans of its kinds in the region reflected in the massive implementation level and the varied deployment extending to five basic health regions, 13 health provinces and more than 300 hospitals. 

Moreover, Dr. Al-Wehaibi will provide the audience of the conference with the latest and detailed information on all e-health projects existing currently in the Kingdom, development stages of each, achievements made, and deadlines expected for each project.

Within the same context, the Executive Medical Director of US-based Avera eCARE, Mr. Donald J. Kosiak Jr. will explain, before the conference, the most significant world insights on the latest development in the field of health information technology by identifying the role of telemedicine in the care of primary healthcare patients, debating the difference between the telemedicine services of direct impacts to the patients, studying the programs available for this purpose, as well as discussing how these programs can benefit patients and physicians, in addition to evaluating and taking into account the future applications of telemedicine in the clinical practice from a medical and financial point of view.

On his part, Dr. Rafael J. Grossman, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, will discuss how the big and continuous development of technology provide us with  faster, smaller and less expensive devices as the smart usage of this technology idea behind using this technology is capable of revolutionizing the way we are providing and teaching healthcare, adding that the wearable devices such as Google glass could revolutionize this field as it represents the natural evolution of  the computer devices, the thing which enables us to interact more easily and effectively with the digital world.

Additionally, some of the working papers in the conference  will be presented by Dr. Amar Hijazi, Director of Information Technology at King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital , Osama Al-Swailem  Chief Medical Information Officer and Director of Medical and Clinical Informatics at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSHRC) in Riyadh, Eng. Ahmed Al Hodaithy, assistant of the Advisor to the Minister of Health and Supervisor-General of the Information and Communication Technology, in addition to a number of international and local speakers.

Over and above, the conference is very keen to organize an annual roundtable including a distinguished group of officials, consultants and experts in the field of e-health from inside and outside the Kingdom to open discussion for reviewing many of the ideas and opinions on the importance of developing and activating e-health. The roundtable will be held this year under the title: "Common Opportunities and Challenges in Implementing e-Medical Records in the Kingdom." Participants in the said roundtable include Dr. Saad Bin Abdullah Bin Othman Al-Kasabi, the President of the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization, Dr. Yagob bin Yousef  Al-Mazrou, secretary general of Saudi Health Council, Dr. Abdullah Al-Wehaibi, the Advisor to the Minister of Health and Supervisor-General of the Information and Communication Technology, as well as Dr Michael Bainbridge, Adjunct Professor Clinical Informatics, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and Mr. Triverhodg, the executive vice president of Canada Health Envoy Organization.

It's worth mentioning that the administrative information systems conference for health care will allow a group of specialties in the field of heath informatics technology from inside and outside the Kingdom to put forward and discuss some worksheets with the aim of exchanging experiences .The conference will concentrate on the most prominent axes to be discussed, such as the complete assessment of medical and financial benefits resulting from investment in Heath Informatics technology, the use of heath informatics technology for combating the wide-spread diseases, the use of e-health monitoring network, the integration of e-health records, integration of health care institutions, the way through which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will perform the structural aspects of exchanging the heath information among hospitals. The activities of the conference will include also subsequent exhibitions and pavilions for a group of companies and specialized agencies in the field of health informatics technology.

It should be noted that MOH hosted the first version of this conference in 2013 in Riyadh, and was attended by as many visitors interested in the field of e-health as 1700. However, due to the keenness of the organizers of the conference, given its benefit, to involve large numbers of those interested in this field in the different regions of the Kingdom following the success achieved in the first version, the second version of the conference was organized in Jeddah in 2014, and witnessed significant participation exceeding 1900 visitors and participants. Still, Riyadh will host the third version of this conference 2015.   


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