Saudi Arabia plans to take the lead globally in the coming years through partnerships, upgrading the entire healthcare system by implementing AI in the data-monitoring of diabetic care services: Ken Research

18-Apr-2023   Mr. Fakhralddin Elfakki, Designation: Researcher, Ministry of Health, Saudi Arabia   Author: Ms. Kirti Saraswat (Research Associate)

In conversation with Fakhralddin Elfakki, an Independent Consultant of Preventive Medicine and Clinical Research in Diabetes and Chronic Diseases. We attempted to seek his opinion and understand the trends in KSA Diabetic Care Services.

“Home-based care services can be provided at the personal level, as the per capita is quite high, and is gaining the momentum.”  

Q1. What are the trends in the treatment of diabetic care services?

Diabetes and obesity are quite major issues in KSA, it's rather more in female as compared to male. All the citizens receive free services by Saudi Ministry of Health, and non-resident get grievances from the government. Government employees get the free services, but not the private sector employees, their companies have to pay for their health under the insurance category.

Patients can make use of mobile-based devices, for the online consultation, by making use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). And this would be helpful for the monitoring of bio-data. This should be accompanied by increase in public awareness and marketing programs.

Q2. When do people make a visit to a private hospital?

When the government services are not up to the mark, people visit private hospitals for special types of treatment. As, few people prefer not to wait more. Also, if the patients can pay, then they can shift to the private hospitals. Consultancy fee that goes upto 800-1000 SAR, for meeting the doctor at the private hospitals, and they have to pay separately for the treatment and medications.

Q3. What few regions that have reported have maximum number of private healthcare facilities?

Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, are the major cities, and Tabuk also have highest number of populations. Riyadh Medical Clinics Complex, Ain Al-Hayat Medical Complex, Salamat Medical Complex, Qassim National Hospital, are samples of the private medical complexes in KSA. Private health organizations when accredited according to the national guidelines and aligned with American guidelines, are believed to have deliver the most effective results. Plus, the specializations available in other GCC for diabetic devices are also quite popular ones in KSA.

Saudi Arabia plans to take the lead globally in the coming years through partnerships, upgrading the entire healthcare system, and retention of expertise in research and  clinical trials. Besides, domiciliation of all types of clinical care starting from planning hospitals to recruitment of staff, and allocation of budget for health care and health administration to meet the mark.

Q4. What are some of the intervention’s programs used for the treatment of diabetes?

The focus is on the management (pre-diabetic stage) of overweight and obesity, as it has been a major source of diabetes in Saudi Arabia. Some programs/ interventions are been curated for the management of obesity at the primary stage level i.e., at primary healthcare center. The programs include exercise, diabetics control, and support in counselling. Some biological parameters are being considered in an obese person; therefore, the monitoring devices can help in keeping the required records, which can be used for the follow-up. This is vital in the case of engagement of obese long-term management plan.

Q5. How these intervention programs are designed?

Using AI or digital monitoring device is promising as it could be connected to the person at the primary healthcare center, the device provides information about various aspects of the body such as triglycerides, cholesterol, body mass index, and state of cardiovascular system. Based on the records interventions are being made. This can be used for the management of both diabetes and obesity. The digital records help in following-up in every 2 months.

These systems can be provided at the personal level. In a home-based care system, a team of doctor and nurse visit the patients at their home, to provide the facility of consultations and 24-hrs monitoring and this would be more convenience in the near future. Also, it has been observed that this home-based care system is gaining the momentum.

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