The Minister of Health, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, confirmed that during the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's presidency of the G20 and before the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, it accorded a high priority to confront epidemics and develop digital health as two major health priorities.
This came during the closing session of Riyadh Global Virtual Digital Health Summit hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and organized by the Health Affairs of the Ministry of National Guard and the G20 Saudi Secretariat in cooperation with Saudi Center for International Strategic Partnerships (SCISP). The following is the speech of the Minister of Health at the closed session:
Your Excellencies and distinguished guests,
I am honored to be with you today at the Riyadh Global Digital Health Summit, organized by the Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs - and - hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as one of its G20 presidency associated events - and - in collaboration with the Saudi Center for International Strategic Partnerships.
During the kingdoms presidency of the G20, and prior to the emergence of the pandemic, we have introduced Pandemic Preparedness and Digital health as key health priorities.
The emphasis on Digital Health was critical as it plays a fundamental role in supporting health emergency management, by strengthening existing response mechanisms. Digital tools also enable innovative equitable access to health services, data sharing and improved coordination.
We in the kingdom have capitalized on many of our existing digital applications that offer AI components in tackling this pandemic.
Some of which include:
·The Central Appointment System (Mawid) which is an App that enables patients to book, cancel or reschedule their appointments at primary health care centers, as well as managing their referral appointments.
Total Appointments more than 51 Million
Serving over 12 Million patients
·We also established a virtual medical consultation App (Sehha), with an AI component, that offers face-to-face interactions with medical professionals, and can be used abroad by Saudi citizens and residents, at no cost.
·We have also established drive-through testing capabilities which can be booked electronically to enable individuals to conduct tests from their vehicles on the day of their choosing for their convenience.
·We have also developed a dedicated App (Tatamman) for individuals in isolation facilities, which provides direct and continuous contact with the patients to provide them with up-to-date health care information as well and ensuring their compliance with health regulations.
·We have also concentrated our efforts on safeguarding our health care practitioners by developing dedicated Apps which allows them to share medical information, and to prescribe medications to patients remotely. With no physical interaction, to minimize the possibility of infection.
·We have also implemented Virtual Clinics and Tele-ICU, which provides healthcare practitioners direct access to patients remotely. This has allowed for seamless communications with residents and nurses to consult virtually.
·Tele-Rounds and remote consultations were also made possible through Robotics, which safeguards healthcare professionals by minimizing physician to COVID19 patients contact.
·Tele-Radiology has been expanded to cover COVID19 designated hospitals.
·And medical protocols and guidelines are published on-line and are available via an App to ensure dissemination of information in a timely manner.
These digital tools, along with the implementation of exceptional health and safety measures, have assisted us in successfully navigating what is typically one of the largest religious gatherings in the world under extraordinary circumstances.
Pilgrims arriving into the Holy Cities were electronically tagged with bracelets designed to monitor and record their health status and track individuals quarantined upon their return home, through the (Tatamman) App. And as a result, we have been very fortunate to have Zero cases of COVID19 during Hajj this year.
These initiatives prove that Digital Health has, and will continue to be the most effective tool in which we can ensure rapid response and delivery of efficient, safe and effective care.