HIMSS22 in Riyadh: Ensuring digital innovation in healthcare is a cure for all

Farma Darya

Starting off the final day of the 2022 HIMSS Middle East Health Conference & Exhibition is a keynote session dedicated to the goal of eradicating healthcare inequity through digital transformation. An expert panel will look at how to ensure tech innovation is scaled responsibly, in order to increase healthcare access and equity for all. 


Digital roll-out could be make or break for closing the gap in healthcare access. Factors such as internet access, power supply, conflict and digital literacy could further marginalise certain communities, and impede access to healthcare as more services and administrative solutions go digital. 

But the power of digital innovations also have the potential to reach a wider population, bring down cost and other barriers, and offer a much more equitable system. Attendees will learn from the experience of pioneers of digital infrastructure in healthcare as they share insights from their initiatives. 

Appearing in “Achieving Global Health Equity Through the Power of Digital” are Prof. Alain Labrique from the World Health Organization (WHO), and Prof. Aziz Sheikh OBE of the Usher Institute at the United Kingdom’s University of Edinburgh, as well as BREATHE, the Health Data Research Hub for Respiratory Health. Joining them are Dr. Mohammed Khalid Alabdulaali from the Saudi Ministry of Health, Dr. Ranyah Nasser Aldekhyyel at Saudi Arabia’s King Saud University, and H.E. Dr. Bandar Abdulmohsen A Knawy of the King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences and the Kingdom’s Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs.


As digitisation continues to be a key concern for the healthcare industry, the Middle East region is seeing huge advances. However, the disparity between spending on healthcare advancements and accessibility for marginalised groups remains notable


In an interview at the third International Patient Experience Symposium in 2021, panellist Dr. Alabdulaali – who is Assistant Minister at the Saudi Ministry of Health – shared his thoughts on the future of digital healthcare: “There is no doubt that every healthcare organisation in the world understands the importance of digital solutions in the future of healthcare delivery.” 

He added: “There is no point creating more and more systems if they are not integrated and focused on improving the patient experience. The movement of the patient through the system must be made easier by technology, [and] not more complex.”


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