- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Telehealth integration are vital technological advancements towards achieving the aim of value-based care
- AI allows healthcare practitioners to focus on delivering greater value to patients
- Health systems will benefit most from the promise of system-wide telehealth for patients, as well as improved caregiver satisfaction
Riyadh, KSA: Royal Philips, a global leader in health technology, released two new Future Health Index (FHI) reports this year that discuss how integrating data and increasing vital technology adoption can help make value-based care more widespread. The research focuses on key technology enablers that have the potential to advance integration and enable data to be used more effectively – digital identity tools such as Electronic Health Records (EHRs), telehealth solutions and Artificial Intelligence (AI) with data analytics. These enablers can allow data mining for connections and insights that will benefit healthcare professionals as well as patients.
Commenting on the two new FHI reports, Ozlem Fidanci, CEO of Philips Middle East & Turkey (MET) region, expressed “The markers and recommendations these reports have brought forward to increase the integration of data and technology across the healthcare continuum are clear – and great steps have been taken by a number of countries including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We hope that the insights from the reports, which have been put forward to not just regulators but also the various players within healthcare system, help boost further dialogue and progress towards delivering value-based care across the region.”
Electronic Health Records (EHR) can make healthcare data more accessible
EHR is identified as a key Vision 2030 goal for the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Saudi Arabia. The value that unification of health records brings ranges from the identification of health trends at the level of an entire population, to more precise diagnosis, treatment and after care for individual patients.
Integration of Artificial Intelligence into the healthcare system
The report shows that by implementing AI, healthcare professionals can focus more on providing valuable, personalized care. For example, AI has demonstrated 99% accuracy and has shown to be 30 times faster than humans in reviewing and interpreting mammograms, enabling the earlier detection of breast cancer. Examples have also been put forward where the large amounts of data is translated into functional tools offering greater insights for preventative care and overall health management of patients. As of 2016, Saudi Arabia spent $0.1 per capita on Artificial intelligence in preliminary diagnosis.
Telehealth can help increase care for patients and improve caregiver satisfaction
The report suggests that with a more data-driven and connected approach to healthcare delivery, the future of healthcare is no longer tied to a particular location or structure.
Telehealth is the use of electronic information, connected care and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinician-to-clinician information exchange, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration. It can extend health care’s reach to unserved or remote areas by connecting physicians faster allowing for quicker diagnosis and expertise to break free from the geographical binds.
While a large proportion of healthcare professionals in Saudi Arabia are already using connected care technologies, there is room for growth in how healthcare professionals are using telehealth services to communicate not only with their patients, but also with each other to collaborate on diagnoses and treatment.
According to the FHI, 82% of healthcare professionals in Saudi Arabia reported using connected care technologies in the diagnosis of conditions, and 61% use connected care technologies for the treatment of conditions. Using these technologies to promote collaboration in these areas could benefit both patients and healthcare professionals.
The Saudi Arabian MoH is already addressing ways to engage providers and the population in telehealth. In 2016, it conducted a study to better understand barriers and the positions of key decision makers. More recently, in alignment with Vision 2030, MoH announced Seha, an e-health app for patient-physician consultations Kingdom wide.
This slow rate of adoption is also evidenced by World Health Organization (WHO) figures, which indicate that only 22% of countries have national telehealth policies. Additionally, only 31% of the countries surveyed for the FHI have clearly defined rules governing the collection, protection and sharing of data. Yet these policy decisions are essential precursors to national telehealth initiatives.
In the first FHI report earlier this year, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia scores amongst the highest in efficiency, and across several factors that evaluate the value of Saudi Arabia’s healthcare offers. An efficiency score of 44.17 is particularly strong, rising over 17 points above the 16-country average, and coming in just behind Singapore (50.11), indicating healthcare spend is being effectively utilized relative to health outcomes. Saudi Arabia has made investments in data collection, however, there is still a need for growth as the country falls below the 16-country average across data collection & analytics metrics. 92% of healthcare professionals and 75% of the general population believe that technological integration would make the quality of care better.
To download the full ‘Future Health Index: delivering value across institutional and geographical borders’ report, please visit this webpage.
The Future Health Index
The Future Health Index (FHI)  is a research-based platform designed to help determine the readiness of countries to address global health challenges, such as the aging population, and build sustainable, fit-for-purpose national health systems. Conducting research that spans 16 countries using a multitude of metrics, one of its key findings is that integrating connected care technology into health systems can accelerate countries along the path to value-based care, delivering better patient outcomes at lower cost via patient-centric delivery models. The latest report focuses on telehealth as a driver of change in the transition to value-based care and universal health coverage, one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The FHI survey data was collected January 18, 2017 to March 3, 2017 for 15 of the 16 countries analyzed in 2018 (Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US) in their native language. The survey had an average length of 25-30 minutes. A combination of online, face-to-face (computer-assisted) and phone (computer assisted) interviewing was used. Survey data for India was collected during February 16, 2018 to March 26, 2018 in a manner consistent with the other countries in 2017. The total sample from the survey includes 3,244 healthcare professionals (defined as those who work in healthcare as a doctor, surgeon, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or nurse across a variety of specializations) and 24,654 adults (representative of each country’s respective adult population).
About Royal Philips:
Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people’s health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips generated 2017 sales of EUR 17.8 billion and employs approximately 77,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries.
 World Bank. (2016).