Digital health care solutions connect Saudi patients with providers

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The UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Simon Collis, hosted a reception on Tuesday for representatives of five of the UK’s leading digital-health companies who were visiting the Kingdom. (AN photo by Bashir Saleh)
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The UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Simon Collis, hosted a reception on Tuesday for representatives of five of the UK’s leading digital-health companies who were visiting the Kingdom. (AN photo by Bashir Saleh)
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The UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Simon Collis, hosted a reception on Tuesday for representatives of five of the UK’s leading digital-health companies who were visiting the Kingdom. (AN photo by Bashir Saleh)
Updated 12 October 2018
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Digital health care solutions connect Saudi patients with providers

RIYADH: In line with the emphasis on digitization in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the Ministry of Health has initiated a number of projects to deliver e-health solutions in recent months.
During Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the UK earlier this year, the Strategic Partnership Council was established, reinforcing the UK’s commitment to support Vision 2030 in a number of sectors, including health care.
The UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Simon Collis, hosted a reception on Tuesday for representatives of five of the UK’s leading digital-health companies who were visiting the Kingdom to discuss the latest innovations in their field.
“Today is an opportunity to look in the health care sector, specifically after the crown prince’s visit to the UK, six months ago. Vision 2030 has emphasized the importance of digitalizing all sectors, including health care. We know that the Ministry of Health has many important programs and initiatives to realize Vision 2030 in e-health,” the ambassador said.
The five companies represented were Proxime, a ‘Software as a Service’ platform for health care providers and medical technology companies; global information analytics company Elsevier; digital-health consultancy Ideal; clinical software developer TPP; and Biotronics3D, which develops medical imaging technology.
Jacqueline Duvoisin, regional director of Elsevier, said that her company has been active in the region for several years. It has firsthand experience of the digitization process, she explained.
“We’ve moved from being a publisher that publishes books and journals that specialize in health care and science, to supplying them in digital form,” she said.
Digital health services are already making an impact in the Kingdom and are helping to connect patients and providers more easily. Vision 2030 includes a plan to establish a unified medical hub for the Kingdom to make it easier for patients to access their medical data from anywhere in the country. The minsitry has launched several initiatives to make consumers here more digitally aware.


Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

Updated 16 June 2019
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Saudi sources deny ‘unsubstantiated’ reports of permitting alcohol

  • “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,”SCTH source tells Arab News
  • The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has no plans to allow the sale or public consumption of alcohol, a senior government source has told Arab News.

The official with access to relevant decision-makers categorically denied “unsubstantiated” media reports in some international and regional news outlets.

“If you read the fake news, you will notice it is all based on hearsay and tweets by accounts known to have a questionable agenda when talking about the Kingdom,” he said.

“As the country moves forward with its reform plans, we expect much speculation and attempts by critics to hold us back. And while people are allowed to speculate and criticize, their speculation should not be treated as the truth.”

A second source at the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) also denied such reports. “The leadership has made it clear from day one; it is simply not happening,” he told Arab News. “I have not heard of any plans to allow alcohol in major cities, free zones or new projects.”

The SCTH is responsible for licensing and rating hotels and restaurants. Any plans for the sale or consumption of alcohol would have to go through the commission for implementation. 

Saudi Arabia has witnessed substantial social reforms over the past three years, such as the curbing of the previously unchecked power of the religious police, reopening cinemas and allowing women to drive.

There has also been a major shift on previously prohibited public entertainment and gender mixing. International artists including Mariah Carey, Yanni, Andrea Bocelli, Enrique Iglesias and Black Eyed Peas have all performed.

Tourism projects have included pop-up versions of international restaurants such as Signor Sassi, Nusr-Et and Nobu. None has served alcohol.

“Officials have repeatedly said all changes were and will always be in line with Islamic teachings and traditions,” the senior source told Arab News.