GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Dr Azza
Title of Paper:
Successes and Challenges in the Implementation and Application of Telemedicine in the Eastern Province, KSA
Paper Proposal Text :
Background: Telemedicine is “the practice of health care using audio, visual, and data communications. In a vast country like Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), access to health care services in remote and rural areas is of prime importance. Also, Ministry of Health is facing a difficult challenge to provide high quality care to all population and to improve access to health care services. So, national strategic plan stressed the importance of adopting a national telemedicine network.
Aims: The study aimed to determine the opinion of health care professionals at hospitals adopting and not adopting telemedicine on benefits and challenges of telemedicine, and their willingness to use telemedicine, and to determine the extent of cooperation between Dammam Central Hospital (DCH) and National Telemedicine Network in KSA, other Telemedicine centers in gulf area specially Kuwait and Abu- Dhabi, as well as abroad.
Methodology: The study was conducted at the teaching hospital (not adopting telemedicine), and DCH, Qatif Central Hospital (QCH), and ARAMCO hospital (adopting telemedicine). It is a cross- sectional descriptive study. Target population was health care professionals (physicians, nurses, radiologists, pathologists, technicians, etc). They amounted to 252 at the teaching hospital. However, they amounted to 144 at hospitals adopting telemedicine. Data collection methods included a site- visit to DCH, and two paper- based questionnaires designed to collect the required data from different study settings. An approval from the committee of research ethics of Dammam University was obtained. Non-parametric statistical analysis was performed using (SPSS) Version 19. Descriptive statistics were used. Chi-square test was performed to measure the association between some variables. Kruskal Wallis tests were conducted to assess any significant statistical differences among the perceptions of more than two groups. Statistical significance between variables at P value ≤ .05 was used.
Results: All participants showed positive attitude towards knowledge, adoption, and usage of telemedicine services. Telemedicine can save both time and money, improve the quality of care, and enhance the communication among specialties everywhere in the Network. The main barrier for using/adopting telemedicine are lacking of sufficient knowledge about it, lacking of time to use it, and the difficulty of its application. Te main services of telemedicine in KSA are store and forward, follow up clinic, ICU second opinion, and teleconferences. For hospital adopting telemedicine, there is an association between the extent of the actual implementation of telemedicine and both profession and years of experience.
Conclusion& Recommendations:
Health care providers in the Eastern Province of KSA showed positive attitude towards knowledge, and implementation of telemedicine services. They believe that telemedicine have many advantages such as cost-effectiveness, improvement of the quality of health care, and enhancement of the communication skills among specialties. Despite that, they expressed their concern regarding lacking of sufficient knowledge about telemedicine application, lacking of time to use it, and the difficulty of its application as the main barriers to use/adopt telemedicine in their hospitals. The most popular services of telemedicine in KSA are store and forward, follow up clinic, second opinion, and teleconferences. Based on this conclusion, many recommendations could be drawn, as follows:
First, conduct educational and training programs for all health care providers to improve their skills of implementing different telemedicine services. Second, allocate sufficient times for all health care providers to learn and experience more about different telemedicine services.