Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030: Opportunities for public private collaborations

A panel of leaders came together at the HIMSS & Health 2.0 Middle East Digital event to discuss Saudi Arabia's strategic Vision 2030 and the importance of collaboration between public and private sectors for improved clinical outcomes.
By Sara Mageit
01:19 AM
HIMSS & Health 2.0 Middle East, Saudi Arabia Vision 2030

Left to right: Khalid Alodhaibi, medical service directorate, Ministry of Defence, Ibrahim Al-Omar, private sector participation project general director at the Vision Realisation Office – Ministry of Health, Sufana AlMashhadi, director, Innovation Center at King Fahad Medical City and Dr Ahmed Balkhair, advisor for digital transformation, Ministry of Health Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Experts from the Saudi Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Defence discussed practical steps towards delivering the Vision 2030 and shared examples of effective partnerships across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during the session, 'Vision 2030: Business Models and Opportunities for Public Private Collaborations.'

The speakers were Khalid Alodhaibi, medical service directorate, Ministry of Defence, Ibrahim Al-Omar, private sector participation project general director at the Vision Realisation Office – Ministry of Health, Sufana AlMashhadi, director, Innovation Center at King Fahad Medical City and Dr Ahmed Balkhair, advisor for digital transformation, Ministry of Health Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

WHY IT MATTERS

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has expressed that it aims to achieve its Vision 2030 objectives through three main pillars: a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation. The Vision is a strategic framework to reduce the nation's dependence on oil, diversify its economy and develop public service sectors such as health, education, tourism and infrastructure. 

The Kingdom's Vision 2030 aims to drive the digital transformation of health systems and inspire new collaborations between public and private sectors for improved clinical and financial outcomes.

ON THE RECORD

Khalid Alodhaibi started the panel discussion by giving an update on the changes faced by COVID-19: "It cannot be better time to be speaking about this wonderful topic, because we're going through a true transformation, implementing our centralised and unified electronic health record for all our facilities.

"We started this project two to three years ago and we're expecting this to last for another three years. In my view, it's one of the largest transformation projects and it goes with so many challenges, especially this year, when COVID was starting.  

"We use this as an opportunity because the slowness of clinical activities enabled us to have more time to be doing our IT and informatics activities. We're keeping one eye on our internal transformation. At the same time, we're very aligned with the national level transformation efforts and initiatives presented in the Ministry of Health or Saudi Health Council.

"We're in constant contact, working as one team and it's making everyone happy and more productive, that we're aligned. It's very tough, because we used to have very siloed systems within the organisation. Now we're unifying, according to clinical best practices."

Al-Omar explained the increasing demand for partnerships in the Kingdom that has followed: "The Vision 2030 objectives is also to increase the participation for the private sector from 25% to 35%. We consider ourselves as supportive and enablers for such projects and to moving towards the achievement of the goals and objectives of vision 2030."

AlMashhadi added: "At the end of the day, it's all to increase the effectiveness of accessibility and to reduce the cost while of course, we don't jeopardise the quality of healthcare delivery. This is probably part of the biggest challenges of the mindset change. That is what physicians and healthcare providers are going through. However, with those kind of visions and empowerment from the higher leadership, I think we are slowly but surely reaching there."

The panel also touched on the Accountable Health Organisations (ACOs) and the Ministry of Health being part of the plan to have health provisions delivered through 20 clusters across the kingdom. 

Dr Balkhair explains this in more detail: "Each of these clusters is considered an acountable health organisation that provided healthcare for almost 2 million of the population. They need to be optimised, they can use and reuse the resources across that accountable organisation. It's important for them to be running in the most cost effective way to provide the best quality safety and efficiency, as well as access to care for all the population."

AlMashhadi highlighted the importance of leadership in navigating the digital transformation: "The reinforcement from the leadership will really help a lot for people to comply with the new transformation. It's a very challenging time for all of us, but it's the time of disruption, where you can introduce change. People now are very vulnerable to receiving change with what is happening. I think it's a great time to introduce change."

Conversely, the panel also spoke about the challenges of creating clusters between the private and the government sectors.  

Alodhaibi conceded: "I am working so hard to unify and to reduce costs to align with the Vision 2030. There is a very big hidden benefit, where you can easily unify clinically, and implement clinical best practices and medical pathways. You can only do this if you have one centralised solution. It is easier if you target implementing a unified solution - this is what we're targeting now."

The panel discussed private sector empowering government projects, on this topic Al-Omar said: "We will implement this by piloting three clusters. We are able to maximise it to national levels and focus on the virtual care aspect of this project, during COVID-19, so that patients can access their doctors through technology or virtual care projects.

"We are working with this to look at how we can finance these projects with the private sectors and building the business models. 

"We will include in our teamwork, the technical teams, and legal teams and financial. Therefore, we end up with the business models where the private sector participate. I think the outcomes of such collaboration with the private sector will positively impact accessibility and availability and also expedite the process of us having this project to be completed."

AlMashhadi concluded the panel discussion by saying: "It's very inspiring to see that the government has thought collectively about all the aspects that are needed, really to conduct this kind of transformation. It's a journey. It's not only a destination, but it's also a journey, and each and every one of us is contributing towards that change.

"We are already starting to see and feel the transformation that is happening, and that is empowered by yourself and people like you who believes in the digital transformation era."

You can find out more about the HIMSS & Health 2.0 Middle East Conference and learn more about the latest news and developments from the event here.

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