InterSystems opens Riyadh office, Clinton Health Matters project backing rural health IT

By Anthony Brino
03:55 PM

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based health IT firm InterSystems has opened a new office in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, to deliver the Saudi version of InterSystem's TrakCare health information systems.

The deal is part of the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health's five year eHealth initiative, and comes as the country experiences some of the fastest healthcare sector growth in the world, with a projected 12.3 percent of annual growth rate through 2015.

InterSystems has already worked in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emerites, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. 

Back in the U.S., the Clinton Foundation has launched a new project called the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, with the goal of reducing racial and economic health disparities and the prevalence of preventable disease here in the U.S.

Following some success in his foundation's internatinal health work, the former president has enlisted the help of technology firms Verizon, General Electric and Tenet Healthcare, which will create wellness programs throughout their companies and in local communities around their operations, as a way to address diabetes and obesity.

The wellness programs will include things like free exercise classes or walking groups in high poverty areas, the extension of farmers’ markets and sponsorship of tobacco cessation support in high-needs areas. 

This idea is similar to the Blue Zones project, a community wellness incentive program led by Healthways and the insurer Wellmark.

The Clinton Health Matters Initiative will start in Coachella, California and Little Rock, Arkansas. It comes as Verizon is trying to increase its presence in healthcare. Peter Tippett, CMO of Verizon's health information technology practice, told Reuters the company is expanding its health business  with the aim of bringing IT systems to underserved rural areas, with networks that allow rural doctors to send X-rays and EKG readings to hospitals for analysis, wireless networks that let patients self administer tests like blood pressure and technology that lets physicians track their patient's chronic disease management.