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by Karim Abd Elhay
Published on October 15, 2019

The Arab Hospital magazine talks to Karim Abd Elhay from Cerner about the business expansions it has been witnessing in Saudi Arabia in recent years.

Can you tell us about these expansions and the main projects that you are working on at the moment?

Sure, we have been operating in Saudi Arabia for over 28 years and had the privilege to be among the first companies to introduce health information systems (HISs) to health care providers in the country. Since then, we have grown our offerings from just covering the laboratory information system to a full HIS, including the majority of the departmental automation needed in one integrated system. We also expanded our service offering to include managed services for those clients who want to focus on the health care business and outsource the technology management to us. As for the projects we are currently running, we are engaged in two new implementations. One with the Ministry of Defense, which is a huge project and running very well so far, and the second is with Aldara Hospital, which is expected to open its doors for patients in Q4 2019. In parallel, we are running some enhancement projects for King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, as well as King Saud University Medical City.

What are the main partnerships that you have made in the kingdom?

First, I want to highlight that I don’t believe in succeeding alone. For any system to work, it needs multiple contributors and here comes the value of the partners you collaborate with. We view our clients as the first and most important partners in our journey. We have also partnered with other technology providers, locally and globally, who were selected carefully to join us in adding value towards the improvement of health care delivery.

There is no doubt that these partnerships result from the trust in your esteemed company. We would like to talk about the most important IT solutions that you offer.

We have multiple solutions and all of them are important, as they have been developed to satisfy our clients’ needs. Each client defines the level of importance based on their level of IT adoption. A new client will view the foundational solutions, i.e. the electronic health record and related departmental solutions, as the most important since these will be their initial building blocks. Once they implement and adopt these solutions, they will ask for more advanced solutions like smart rooms and advanced devices connectivity, where high levels of efficiency and increased satisfaction from both patients and end-users can be achieved.

What are the main innovative solutions that you offer to the kingdom's hospitals? What sets you apart from other companies working in this field?

Our solutions are designed with clinicians to provide the required decision-making support to care givers who deliver the best experiences and care to their patients. The solutions are highly configurable to enable our clients to use them as tools to achieve their goals of automation and improve patient safety.

How will Cerner's solutions enhance medical procedures and promote the quality of information for physicians?

Cerner’s solutions encourage the usage of evidence-based medicine and standardizing patient care based on approved protocols. It also facilitates the adoption of the health care best practices within health care organizations. We see this very obviously when our clients undergo accreditation programs, as the system supports the client in structuring the health care delivery to follow appropriate guidelines.

What are your future plans to keep pace with the development of the Saudi health sector and the growing demand for innovative technology solutions?

The Saudi health sector is very focused on innovative technology solutions and with Vision 2030 and NTP 2020. There are very aggressive plans to transform the health care delivery in the kingdom. Cerner has been heavily investing in developing its solutions to meet future needs and so far, we have a cumulative investment of over USD seven billion on research and development. In terms of our future plans, we are adding artificial intelligence to our solutions to assist end-users to perform their job in an easy and intuitive way, as well as improve patient safety and satisfaction. We are also investing in data interoperability to benefit from the mass of digital data available around us now in a meaningful way.

Click here to read the interview in Arabic. You can also click here to read the interview in the digital magazine of The Arab Hospital issue 157.