The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that countries around the world including those with the most robust healthcare systems were not well prepared to handle a global health crisis of this magnitude. The pandemic has exposed the gaps in the current healthcare sector, testing the readiness of the international health community to deal with the situation. While unprecedented challenges still arise as COVID-19 evolves, more opportunities have opened for nations to step up and build stronger and more coordinated global response with enhanced strategies to save and protect lives.

The international community has deployed fundamental measures with far-reaching impact to help all affected communities and ease the burden brought about by the crisis. In the Middle East, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been an active contributor to global efforts to beat the pandemic. The Saudi Government has, in fact, pledged hundreds of millions of dollars for the production and distribution of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools, as well as the delivery of sufficient protective equipment supply to medical workers who are battling the virus. Not stopping there, the Kingdom also recently announced that it would grant 500,000 riyals to the families of healthcare workers who died from COVID-19 .

The Kingdom’s timely and welcomed move has coincided with the Saudi Government fulfilling its duties and responsibilities as the holder of the G20 Presidency for 2020. Under this role, Saudi Arabia hosts various conferences on diverse pressing financial and socio-economic related topics, including global healthcare.cooperation. High-level delegates and representatives of the 20 global economies have been participating in these series of dialogues that have begun early this year.

At the beginning of the year, the G20 Health Working Group (HWG) convened in Jeddah to discuss a host of issues facing today’s health systems, especially the repercussions of the novel coronavirus. A statement released by the organizers after the meeting showed that the attendees discussed the role and importance of real-time information sharing, value-based healthcare (VBHC) and digitalized health solutions in implementing better prevention strategies and mitigation measures and enhancing patient care and safety.

Saudi German Hospitals Group’s digital transformation and innovation

Digital health has taken the centre stage as the pandemic evolves. Integrating technological advancements into the healthcare delivery process and practices has gained momentum given previously unheard-of reduced mobility, limitations and constraints. Many hospitals and healthcare institutions around the world have been ramping up their digitalization initiatives to meet the health demands of their patients.

In Saudi Arabia, Saudi German Hospitals Group, one of the largest private hospital groups in the Middle East and North Africa, is at the forefront of the transformation of the local healthcare industry, in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

Saudi German Hospitals Group’s purpose is to relieve people’s suffering and improve their lives. This means that we aim to reach as many people as we can to bring them world-class comprehensive care. Offering high-quality medical care to over two million patients every year, we want to accelerate the success of our global vision and, therefore, improve each patient’s experience, satisfaction and trust. We can achieve this by adopting next-generation digital tools, as well as leveraging our continuously growing network of accredited tertiary care hospitals and clinics, diversifying speciality areas, expanding community involvement and delivering world-class medical education.

Saudi German Hospitals Group strongly believes that the deployment and the full rollout of wellness and preventative care programs, telehealth, and further sub-specializations will transform the landscape of healthcare. In addition, it can provide a healthier and more holistic patient experience that restores the body, mind and soul.

Today, the group has built state-of-the art facilities supported by the latest technological and medical equipment. However, what matters most is that behind it are its talented teams of healthcare and administrative professionals who are committed to delivering care with empathy and compassion. Over the last few years, I have personally been focused on hiring the best team possible to meet the needs of the community. From highly educated administrative staff to the most medically successful clinical teams; everyone joining our group meets world-class standards. Saudi German Hospitals Group continues to build itself a reputation as an influential regional force that drives immense development within the healthcare industry.

Saudi German Hospitals Group’s core values and sustainable global health system

Embarking on the digital transformation journey is also the key to creating a sustainable global health system. In the case of Saudi German Hospitals Group, digital tools are essential to its daily operations to guarantee better health outcomes and deliver trusted and accessible healthcare solutions and services with greater social value. The group is taking this further by sustaining its compassionate and person-centered systems. This direction is reflected in the strategies of its hospitals and clinics located across countries in the GCC and MENA region.

The group aims to bring its commitment and dedication to creating a world-class healthcare system to as many global markets as possible, in addition to providing innovative, comprehensive, patient-centric care to everyone irrespective of their location to make a positive impact on their lives and help ease their suffering.

We seek to realize these goals by designing, building and operating greenfield multi-specialty tertiary care hospitals across the MENA region; supporting our hospital network with outpatient medical clinics, specialty centres, emergency departments, laboratories and pharmacies; and continuously enhancing the quality of healthcare services provided across our hospitals and outpatient facilities while improving financial and operational efficiency.

Moreover, we have been consistently collaborating with our strategic partners here and abroad. Through our foundational association with German university hospitals, which inspired the ‘Saudi German’ name, we have always believed in the power of partnerships with public and private entities such as the Batterjee Medical College and the Saudi Ministry of Health. In keeping with this belief, we have also implemented our International Visiting Professor Programme to develop the knowledge and expertise of our doctors through training. Under our International Visiting Professor Programme, globally renowned professors work together with our doctors to treat our patients as well as lead regular training sessions.

Adding to our string of global accomplishments is becoming a member of Mayo Clinic Care Network, a select group of independent health systems that are carefully vetted and chosen for their commitment to high-quality patient experience. Saudi German Hospital Cairo and Saudi German Hospital Riyadh are now part of the prestigious network, which carefully selects its members based on their commitment to high quality care.

Our other similar initiatives include organizing large-scale and specialized medical conferences, events and residencies that develop knowledge and enhance cooperation in the Saudi and regional healthcare community; raising awareness of public health issues in the community through workshops, events and training, including basic life support courses and seminars; buying and developing land and real estate to support the company’s strategic growth; contributing to thriving Batterjee Medical Cities; and developing telemedicine, including online video consultations, to remotely serve our patients’ health needs.

Starting as a small organization in 1988, with one hospital in Jeddah, Saudi German Hospitals Group is continuously growing – broadening its reach and covering more locations across the region. More than three decades since its foundation, it has firmly set its sights on its global expansion to help increase the quality of life of many more people through its innovative healthcare solutions. Saudi German Hospitals Group believes that integrating technologies into strong medical capabilities will have a great impact on its processes and procedures, saving time and cost, which will ultimately benefit the patient.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought immense lessons and opportunities that can make the world more resilient and motivate many industries to accelerate their transformation journey. In healthcare, digitalization results in faster and more efficient services to patients without compromising their safety. Using virtual clinics and electronic appointments are slowly becoming the new reality. Today, hospitals and doctors have been quick to adopt telehealth services to provide non-COVID-19 patients with alternative form of consultations with their physicians from the comfort of their homes.

The global healthcare community is now in a pivotal moment in history. It is now being called on to build on the momentum that has been created due to the pandemic, to not only reap the benefits today but to also be more prepared for a post-pandemic world.  

Please see Saudi German article on the G20 Saudi Global Briefing Report