WIT Press


ADVANCING E-HEALTH IN SAUDI ARABIA: CALLING FOR SMART VILLAGE INITIATIVES

Price

Free (open access)

Volume

249

Pages

14

Page Range

261 - 274

Published

2020

Paper DOI

10.2495/SC200221

Copyright

Author(s)

HASSAN TAIBAH, SUDHA ARLIKATTI, BILL DELGROSSO

Abstract

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) presents a unique case study for examining e-health initiatives as it is a country that has transformed itself from a predominantly rural population to an urban, developed one, within a short span of 65 years following the discovery of large oil reserves. This paper examines the tenets of the KSA’s eHealth Program, the progress made, and the gaps identified in meeting the needs of KSA’s rural populations. It begins with a brief review of e-health efforts in rural and urban settings around the world, followed by a concept map created from the Atlas of eHealth Country Profiles by the World Health Organization, to identify strengths and weaknesses across eight themes, within the participating countries. This is followed by a description of the KSA case study; and an analysis of advancements made and challenges faced, including e-health foundations, legal frameworks, electronic health records adoption, mobile health data access and social media use. Finally, we make suggestions regarding enhancement of rural health coverage through the creation of Smart Village initiatives in dispersed Saudi villages.

Keywords

e-health, eHealth Program, health communication, information technology, public health, rural populations, Saudi Arabia, Smart Village, World Health Organization