MOH News
Minister of Health Opens Today the ‘MOH and HIMSS Middle East Conference and Exhibition’
31 March 2015
His Excellency the Minister of Health, Mr. Ahmad bin Aqeel Al-Khateeb, has opened today (Tuesday) the ‘MOH and HIMSS Middle East Conference and Exhibition’ organized by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Riyadh.

His Excellency said that MOH is interested in providing a ripe environment for the investment in the Saudi Healthcare sector, and welcomes the serious partner who enjoys considerable responsibility and integrity to promote the concept of partnership based on clear outlines. The Minister underlined that organizing this conference reflects the MOH's keenness to resettle modern medical technology at all MOH facilities, looking forward for the experts participating in this conference to come out with recommendations contributing to boosting quality of health services provided for the citizens and residents living in this holy land.   
 
 Within the same vein, His Excellency said MOH is keen to apply the new concept of healthcare, pursuing two main paths for achieving such ambitious vision: firstly automating all its medical and administrative systems to provide high-quality services in a manner ensuring easy access for patients to primary or specialized healthcare, reducing medical and medication errors, boosting public health and prevention against diseases. “Therefore, we are following up implementation of the e-health strategy,” he said. “Thanks to Allah, 55 projects have been implemented so far and the work is underway to implement 39 projects to be completed - Allah willing - over the coming four years.”  

“The second path,” Al-Khateeb added, “is represented in transferring the advanced technology in the health field, as the Ministry is considering the project of building the first unit of proton radiotherapy, currently available only in the USA and Europe, to be established in King Fahad Medical City (KFMC).” He further explained that the Ministry is just steps away from entering the field of pharmaceutical industries and the medical supplies and equipments particularly after completing the study of building a factory for separating and analyzing blood products to extract nearly 20 new drugs. The Kingdom is currently purchasing from the US and Europe, but in the meantime, it is bound to complete the procedures of establishing the Saudi Company for Health Investments. 

“Besides,” Al-Khateeb continued, “we have shown keen interest in encouraging the world’s leading drug manufacturers to invest and set up drug plants in the Kingdom. As a result, our efforts have yielded an agreement with a French company to transfer the proton industry to the KSA.”
 
Answering journalists, Mr. Al-Khateeb, commenting on the importance of the conference and what it can add to the health services, was quoted as saying, “The conference and the subsequent exhibition are concerned only with technology in the health field and its currently being held for the third consecutive year in the Kingdom with the participation of more than two thousand companies and 1200 participants.” He added that the conference is reckoned an important and international event. "As we know, technology is currently important in the health field and the entire world is moving to use it for providing health services in many ways including, listening to the physician through the video, using e-services to book an appointment through the smart devices, requesting a certain medication or a medical report instead of going to the hospital. In addition, technology is also important for home care, so the patient currently can obtain various health services using the technology," he explained. 
     
All the more, he said "We are currently considered at a medium level in using technology in Saudi Arabia, but we have ambitious future plans to a much higher level of technology, starting by the big and important project we are going to launch which is the e-health file, in order for each patient and visitor to have a health file accessible by any physician at any hospital including those belonging to the ministry of health or the others."    

In replying to a question on the modern technology models the Ministry seeks to attract and benefit from in the Kingdom, His Excellency said, “We reviewed with a leading team of advisors last month the best technology models in the world. However,  we didn't find a specific country leading in everything; Canada, for instance, is famous for some applications, Fenland is famous for primary healthcare applications, and United Kingdom is famous for others. Thus, we are going to attract the best applications to form our special model in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia-Allah willing.” 

Moreover, His Excellency the Minister of Health said that his inspection tour to the hospitals and health facilities in the Southern Region last week aimed to review preparations of the MOH sectors in the Southern region within the emergency plan including all government sectors. He said, "There is an emergency plan for such events to be implemented by all government sectors including MOH, and as per the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, we have made sure that the hospitals and health facilities in the region are ready and provided with equipments, beds and blood when needed, in addition to the availability of ambulance vehicles and teams.” He added, “We have implemented the emergency plan and our hospitals, which I was honored to visit last Friday in the Southern Region, provide very high quality level; they are well-prepared to face any contingency."   

Regarding the deadline for applying technology in all MOH facilities, Mr. Al-Khateeb said, "Technology is currently providing about 10% of the services in the field of healthcare globally, but it’s witnessing continuous growth and rapid increase." 
  
In a similar fashion, Mr. Al-Khateeb answered a question about the MOH vision in developing its partnership with the companies inside and outside the Kingdom; the matter which in turn reflects positively on improving e-healthcare services, saying, "We are currently identifying our requirements thoroughly, and will start shortly by hosting a number of international prominent and outstanding companies to provide limited applications."      

It's to be noted that Mr. Al-Khateeb has inaugurated the subsequent exhibition that witnessed participation of various companies and health institutions from inside and outside the Kingdom with a number of outstanding applications in the field of e-health services. 

The inauguration ceremony included a speech delivered by the Advisor to the Minister of Health and Supervisor-General of the Information and Communication Technology, Dr. Abdullah Al-Wehaibi, who welcomed the audience and companies participating in the ‘MOH and HIMSS Middle East Conference and Exhibition’, highlighted the importance of the conference and the topics to be discussed in it, and wished a success for all the participants.   

 



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