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A look at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Seha virtual hospital – a vision for the future?

What’s happening in health tech in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? Let’s take a look at the Seha Virtual Hospital (SVH), a programme aiming to enhance access, increase capacity, and support innovation.

KSA’s Ministry of Health describes the hospital as “empowering the best health consultants and practitioners in micro and rare specialties using the latest medical technologies to provide the highest level of medical services to beneficiaries in all cities and governorates of the Kingdom”. A priority initiative in KSA’s health sector transformation programme, SVH opened last year and supports 130 hospitals across KSA. It aims to enhance virtual health care; achieve innovation in the health sector; develop resources and achieve sustainability; and achieve institutional excellence.

The hospital offers a variety of virtual services, including emergency and critical consultations; supportive medical services for rays, pathology and pharmacy services; and home care services including home hospital and virtual monitoring of heart failure patients. Virtual multi-disciplinary committees are available for teams working in heart, diabetes and psychology, enabling consultants and experts from multiple sub-specialities to meet and review cases transferred from various health facilities. There are also a number of specialised clinics available for patients in blood disease, psychiatry, kidney disease, endocrinology and diabetes, genetic and metabolic diseases, geriatric diseases, medical rehabilitation and heart disease.

The Ministry of Health shares how SVH utilises artificial intelligence to prioritise examinations that require urgent medical intervention. Medical imaging algorithms are conducted on cases such as strokes, CT scans and chest x-rays, which the Ministry says “makes the accuracy of diagnosing the target diseases up to 95 percent”.

Augmented reality is also used alongside direct transmission of surgeries, with the aim of advising the surgeon during surgery and transferring knowledge and experience through an electronic platform. The Ministry of Health states that this technology has “increased the quality of services provided and reduced the proportion of medical referrals between regions”.

The Ministry also draws attention to SVH’s use of Internet of Things technology, to enable staff at SVH to remotely monitor patients, check for any issues with vital signs, and enable an immediate alert to be sent to medical staff in the event of negative readings.