The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia wanted to deploy a unified communications system throughout the kingdom as part of its five-year National e-Health Strategy. The ministry chose Microsoft Lync Server 2010 for the infrastructure with Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 for messaging. The collaboration technology will improve patient care—the ministry’s top priority—by having all participants in the health community on a single unified communications platform.
The Saudi Ministry of Health comprises 244 hospitals, 2,000 primary healthcare facilities, and more than 250,000 physicians, nurses, and health workers. Free healthcare and surgical services are available to all the kingdom’s 27-plus million citizens and residents. In March 2011, the Minister of Health announced a five-year strategy to enhance the quality and speed of service delivery to patients across Saudi Arabia. The National e-Health Strategy is developed by the ministry and its goal is to connect healthcare providers,
cut paper-based systems, and introduce technology for capturing data and measuring healthcare performance.
Dr. Mohammed Alyemeni, Advisor to the Minister of Health, and General Supervisor of ICT at the Ministry of Health, says: “The National e-Health Strategy is an integrated and comprehensive healthcare plan to provide patient-centric services where patients’ needs come first, and care is organised around the best outcomes. We need a comprehensive IT strategy to achieve these goals.”
A key component of the strategy is a unified communications platform that supports the ministry’s 250,000 employees to communicate with colleagues in the most efficient way. Dr. Alyemeni says: “Modern communications technology can enhance the quality of care we offer patients. For example, when speed of decision making is crucial to a positive outcome, our physicians need to be contactable regardless of where they’re located.”
The strategy will be delivered in stages. By 2016, all partner organisations, pharmacies, and healthcare providers—including physicians and nurses—will use the system to record patient information, collaborate with colleagues, and organise the logistics of patient care. “All operations and patient data will be held in one place, so we can analyse the performance and progress of health providers, and continuously work towards service improvement,” says Dr. Alyemeni.Solution
In 2010, the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia began working with Microsoft to deploy a unified communications platform.
The platform is the first stage of the five-year National e-Health Strategy. It gives all ministry staff and contacts at external partner organisations the tools to switch between email, phone, instant messaging, and videoconferencing—at the click of a mouse.
Lync Server 2010 provides the infrastructure for connecting the different communications tools. Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 gives users large email storage capacity and the ability to share calendars with colleagues and external partners. As part of the solution, the ministry deployed Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager 2010, so IT employees can easily manage user permissions and administration of communications services, enhancing security. Doctors will be able to register with the Ministry of Health portal to request ministry email addresses, which are sent by secure text message.
In the second stage, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 will be deployed to give employees a gateway for the unified communications solution, access to ministry information, and as an extranet for patient support groups. Employees log on to the portal just once to access all their communications tools. Benefits
The ministry’s unified communications platform will connect every member of the health community in Saudi Arabia. It will improve patient care, while doctors, nurses, and clinicians can save time and avoid unnecessary travel by using a virtual environment for meetings and communication. Dr. Alyemeni says: “Our aim is to get all health professionals—including administrators—on one unified communications platform.”
Enhances patient-centric care in Saudi Arabia. “We’re increasing the precision of patient care in every corner of Saudi Arabia,” says Dr. Alyemeni. “Patient services will improve through the patients’ portal, which involves patients in a supportive e-network, resulting in better outcomes.”
Offers health professionals multiple collaboration channels. The Microsoft unified communications solution offers the health community presence awareness, instant messaging, and audio and videoconferencing with single sign-on, saving time and boosting productivity.
Helps monitor public services. By having a central repository in which to store information, administrators can better manage hospital and primary care provider performance.
Reduces need for business travel. The virtual communications environment allows communication and collaboration between specialists and partner organisations through instant messaging and audio and videoconferencing, with less need for expensive business travel.
Eases deployment and training timetable. The ministry chose Microsoft technology because it’s faster to deploy than other vendor systems. Dr. Alyemeni says: “Integration, familiarity, and speed of deployment were key factors in our choice. We’re starting with 100-plus health professionals, who will then train other users.”This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.