Philips, STC partner on AI-powered telehealth

The new initiative powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI)aims to transform healthcare throughout the kingdom

June 2019

Royal Philips, a global leader in health technology, is partnering with the Saudi Telecom Company (STC), a leading operator in the Middle East, to rollout telehealth solutions powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The telehealth solutions provided by Philips allow hospitals and clinics anywhere in the country to be connected to command centres, through which doctors in other locations can treat patients remotely, providing better access to higher quality and more cost-effective care.

Riyadh Muawadh, Enterprise Senior VP at STC, commented: “We know that limited access to adequate ICT infrastructure is the biggest technological barrier to realising telehealth solutions for disadvantaged and underserved communities.

Officials at the sigining of the deal

Officials at the sigining of the deal

“We have invested in our state of the art ICT infrastructure to help support the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which has digital transformation at its heart. Spanning all corners of the country, our network is a key piece of the jigsaw puzzle in providing better access, higher quality and more cost effective care to all residents of the kingdom and helping healthcare professionals feel confident and empowered in their day to day working lives.”

With healthcare in Saudi Arabia free to all Saudi residents and expatriate workers in the public sector, national healthcare financing is under strain from rapid demographic changes, an increase in sedentary lifestyles, rising costs, increasing user expectations, and changing disease patterns. The cost efficiencies brought by telehealth solutions are therefore key, with the Clinical Command centre technology enabling scalable clinical productivity which leverages a foundation of advanced clinical software tools that support the monitoring and surveillance of up to 150 patients by one provider and 35 patients by one nurse.

Digitised and virtually enabled Intensive Care Units like those provided through the Philips eICU Program provide an additional layer of critical care service, with centralized co-located caregivers able to view interfaced physiologic data via workstations of 6-8 monitors and monitor patients anywhere in a hospital or across multiple hospitals to help detect critical issues and intervene before these advance.

Ozlem Fidanci, Philips chief executive officer, Middle East and Turkey, added: “Access to care and quality of care always comes with an effort in remote areas, and is compounded by the preference of many healthcare professionals to develop their careers in main cities.”

“A key challenge is attracting and retaining Saudi talent to the healthcare sector, in line with Vision 2030’s aim to add around 100,000 Saudi jobs. With access to technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, telehealth enables healthcare facilities to better use their existing staff resources, supporting young doctors to make decisions and benchmarking the quality of care given against levels set by the world’s best healthcare providers,” Fidanci added.

The combination of Artificial Intelligence and the data processing power of STC’s full range of cloud computing services means high volumes of patient data can be analysed in order to rapidly and accurately diagnose, treat and predict, remove human error, identify patterns and make real-time decisions.

This can include analysis of patients’ vital signs to predict whether their status is set to deteriorate or improve, and whether they can be discharged in the next 24 hours or not, meaning length of hospital stay can potentially be shortened. It can also analyse history of illness to predict future patient outcomes.


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