Singapore companies contribute to development of healthcare in Saudi Arabia

Riyadh, 24 April, Saturday
International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, an agency under the Ministry of Trade & Industry, organised a roundtable involving a delegation of Singapore healthcare companies in Riyadh today. Hosted by Engr. Feroz Siddiqui, who is IE Singapore’s Centre Director in Riyadh, the session was a showcase of how international collaboration in both public and private sectors can help to drive developments in the Saudi Arabian healthcare system, bringing about improved efficiency and healthcare services to the Kingdom.

The roundtable included the signing of a joint venture between Medisys and Singapore company, Mach 7 Technologies. Also present were two other Singapore-based companies, ParkwayHealth and ST Logistics who are leaders in Singapore’s healthcare value chain. The companies shared their plans in the Kingdom as well.

The roundtable follows a healthcare business mission that was led by IE Singapore at the end of January 2010. The delegation comprised Singapore companies spanning the healthcare value chain, from healthcare service providers, to supporting players in the fields of healthcare technology, training and logistics. The mission allowed Singapore’s healthcare players to gain valuable insight into the Saudi Arabian healthcare system and was also a chance for Singaporean and Saudi healthcare players to discuss collaboration opportunities.

Singapore’s Relevance to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Ranked among the best healthcare systems in the world by the World Health Organization (WHO), Singapore is reputed for its medical excellence, patient-centric services and consistent clinical outcomes. Singapore’s healthcare system is also marked by an efficient distribution of resources, with total healthcare expenditure accounting less than 4% of GDP, and public expenditure accounting for only 31.9% of total healthcare expenditure.

“Demand for healthcare in the Kingdom is set to continue, driven by the rapidly increasing population and changing disease profile. Singapore companies have a good track record of improving operational efficiency throughout the entire healthcare value chain. As these opportunities present themselves, IE Singapore will continue to actively facilitate win-win partnerships between Singapore and the Kingdom’s healthcare companies towards better healthcare services and support for patients in Saudi Arabia,” said Mr. Siddiqui.

Joint Venture Signing Between Medisys and Mach 7 Technologies

The joint venture agreement will see Medisys become the distributor of Mach 7 Technologies’ PACS-neutral healthcare image management solutions in the Kingdom. The partnership will include a comprehensive training programme for Medisys staff that will be extended to university and research hospitals to develop their bio-informatics capabilities.

Commenting on the decision to appoint Mach 7 Technologies as its medical imaging partner in KSA, Medisys cited Singapore’s track record of success as a key factor. “Our strategic goal for image enablement in our Health Management Information System is to create a national medical image archive that can be used by all hospitals and clinics. It is one of the needs we have identified in the Saudi healthcare sector. Mach 7 Technologies has the right product and the right technology solution that ensures we will achieve this outcome,” said Mr Mohammad Sherbini, Executive Director, Medisys.

Mr Thomas Riesenberg, CEO and president of Mach 7 Technologies added: “Medisys and Mach 7 Technologies are committed to bringing integrated leading edge solutions that can lead to a strategic image repository in Saudi Arabia to improve clinical care, lower costs, and support clinical research. The synergy between Mach 7 Technologies and Medisys will greatly benefit the Saudi Arabian healthcare market.”

ParkwayHealth in talks for projects in KSA

Knowledge sharing and hospital project development and management were also identified as areas where Singapore companies could contribute to the development of the Kingdom’s healthcare sector. Dr Reda Hewehi, Marketing Manager for ParkwayHealth in KSA, one of Singapore’s leading hospital groups, said he hopes that this collaborative approach will support the further development of health services in the Kingdom.

ParkwayHealth is currently in active discussions in two areas, namely in the development and subsequent management and operations of hospitals, as well as the provision of education services focused on training healthcare professionals at both hospitals and training institutions in Riyadh and Jeddah. “We hope to work together intensively with local partners and introduce some of our best practices from our network of hospitals and training institutions across Asia. At the same time, we are also keen to learn from our partners; this will hopefully be beneficial to all,” explained Dr Hewehi.

ST Logistics: Delivering healthcare to the market

Logistics and ancillary services management such as procurement and stockpiling of medical equipment and medicines are also critical aspects of the healthcare system. Good logistics management setup ensures that frontline healthcare operators have the necessary tools to maintain successful healthcare operations. ST Logistics has a well-established track record in the healthcare sector, having supported Singapore’s hospitals and been involved in international humanitarian operations such as the 2004 Asian Tsunami. Its range of services includes procurement, warehousing, supply chain management and healthcare support.

“ST Logistics hopes to exchange best practices with Saudi Arabia’s Healthcare organizations in healthcare services & logistics operations. Along the way we wish to identify opportunities to collaborate on new initiatives to enhance the healthcare system for the Kingdom,” said Dr. Peng Chung Mien, CEO of ST Medical Services & Executive Vice President of Healthcare Logistics, ST Logistics