Now on its second year, the conference and exhibition brings together digital health stakeholders from Saudi Arabia and abroad as the event puts the spotlight on the country's Integrated and Comprehensive Health Program (ICHM) eHealth plan and showcases the best interoperability solutions for health care providers to carry the plan to fruition.
The conference held April 13-14 at the Jeddah Hilton Hotel kicked off with a plenary address dubbed "Vision for eHealth Integration" delivered by H.E. Abdullah-Abdul Aziz M. Al Rabeeah, MD, FRCS, Minister of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The speaker provided an overview of the progress of the Kingdom's Ten-Year eHealth Strategy to improve the quality of health care by building 3,500 eHealth facilities by 2020. A round table discussion about the integration for a national health record followed by a feature on the Saudi eHealth Transactions Program was presented to delegates.
The theme of this year's event was "Change Management and Strategic Interoperability" and various software vendors and health IT companies had the chance to demonstrate their products in the exhibition hall of the conference's Interoperability Showcase. To demonstrate interoperability, vendors let guests be patients in an interactive environment where health data can be seen moving seamlessly from one system to another. Rather than just listen to speeches on how things work, participants saw things as they happened within an integrated eHealth system.
Among the speakers were Kumar Sivaraman, Director, Product Strategy, Oracle, who presented “Enabling Nationwide eHealth Interoperability for Citizen-centric Care Coordination” while Alex Schaeffer of InterSystems presented “Using Interoperability to Create Engaged Communities” and “Using Analytics to Drive Action.”
Cambridge, Mass.-based InterSystems showcased its TrakCare electronic medical record system for hospitals, said to be the fastest growing EMR solution globally today. The company also showed its HealthShare informatics platform designed for interoperability of labs, clinics and hospital networks. Joe DeSantis, Vice President, HealthShare Platforms at InterSystems, talked about how the company's products can help fulfill the key principles of strategic healthcare interoperability at both local and nationwide scales.
GE Healthcare showcased its Industrial Internet approach of using big data to support the health care infrastructure of the MOH as it moves forward with its eHealth plan. “The rapid advancements in IT are today being leveraged to provide advanced care and in enhancing the operational efficiency of health care providers," Mazen Dalati, president & CEO for GE Healthcare in Saudi Arabia, told Arab News. The company also featured its Caradigm solutions for population health management using data control, healthcare analytics, care coordination and management, and wellness and patient management.
HP and Intel presented its version of eHealth strategy using big data, real-time analytics, mobility, integrated care and cloud computing capabilities. Key MOH officials also spoke about strategies to implement hospital information systems in Saudi hospitals, and UAE-based NVS Soft cited a successful plan already carried out that installed a full EMR system in King Fahad Medical City that is fully compliant with Joint Commission International (JCI) standards.
An update on the Saudi eHealth Interoperability Framework and Policies was presented by Dr. Ahmed Balkhair, Director of the National eHealth Strategy and Change Management Office, MOH of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A series of workshops and the Middle East Health Finance Executives (MEHFEx) Forum rounded out the activities at this year's event.
The MOH and HIMSS Middle East Conference and Exhibition 2014 highlighted the progress of Saudi Arabia's eHealth plan as well as some of today's industry-leading interoperability solutions. The country's healthcare IT market is growing at a robust 11 percent annually, the fastest in the Middle East. IT companies and sponsors of events like this are looking for opportunities to network with health care providers in Saudi Arabia as well as others in the rest of the Middle East and Africa, who will spend $2.8 billion on IT products and services this year according to a report by Gartner.