Beyond the Data: Putting Patients at the Heart of Healthcare

Beyond the Data: Putting Patients at the Heart of Healthcare

October 06, 2013 at 12:10pm

When talking about healthcare, we often look at the big picture, and this often means data and statistics. While useful in identifying important trends, numbers can hide the essential human element at the heart of healthcare.

Take Saudi Arabia’s stats as an example. We are well aware that approximately 30% of the Kingdom’s population is obese, one-quarter of the population has high-blood pressure (hypertension), and the prevalence of diabetes in Saudi Arabia is such that it has one of the 10 highest rates worldwide.

These numbers are particularly significant because of the Kingdom’s fast-growing population that will exceed 36 million by 2020, from 28 million today. As a result, it is vital to begin now to implement effective and efficient medical programs, systems, technology and procedures across government and private healthcare facilities.

Toward that end, Saudi Arabia is spending SR98 billion ($26 billion) in the healthcare sector, up more than 10% from last year. And GE Healthcare is partnering in this.

But what do all these numbers mean to patients, practitioners and healthcare providers on the ground?

A recent project at King Saud Medical City in Riyadh, also known as Shemaysi Hospital, gives a good example. In collaboration with GE Healthcare, the Ministry of Health undertook to improve the efficiency at the facility.

As a result, if you happen to be a patient coming into this hospital’s emergency department, you’ll find that your condition will be assessed much faster, and then you’ll be treated more quickly than before. Also, it will take one-third less time to get emergency department laboratory tests back.

From the hospital’s perspective, they are able to sort the medical cases coming into the emergency department three times faster than before, and the hospital also has increased the number of patients they treat and discharge from the emergency department by 70%.

This is just one example of GE’s engagement in Saudi Arabia’s healthcare sector. In fact, GE announced $1 billion (SAR 3.75 billion) in investment commitments in the Kingdom last fall. This included GE Healthcare working in partnership with the Ministry of Health to further boost the Kingdom’s healthcare sector competencies through training, technology advancement, and knowledge sharing.

More than 20,000 GE Healthcare technologies are deployed across the Kingdom’s hospitals. GE has also provided training to more than 4,000 healthcare professionals. In partnership with the Ministry of Health, GE has transformed operating rooms in 20 hospitals and 13 emergency rooms across hospitals in the Kingdom.

For more on GE Healthcare’s activities in Saudi Arabia, click here.

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