Organizational, Financial and Regulatory Challenges of Implementing Hospital Information Systems in Saudi Arabia

Mohamed Khalifa
2016 Journal of Health Informatics in Developing Countries   unpublished
Hospital information systems (HIS) are a core component of the healthcare system. These systems have been in use for decades worldwide and for many years now in the Middle East. Many hospitals in Saudi Arabia started to adopt HIS, but still faced with many challenges. On top of these come the organizational, financial and regulatory challenges. The main objective of this study is to identify, analyze and evaluate these three categories of challenges perceived by healthcare professionals in
more » ... to provide decision makers with suggestions and recommendations on proper actions. The study used survey methods to collect data from healthcare professionals at two main Saudi hospitals known for their experience implementing HIS, and then analyzed the results to describe and evaluate challenges. The study validated 10 organizational, 6 financial and 6 regulatory challenges and explored participants' experiences regarding each. The study sorted challenges importance from the most to the least; financial challenges came first, then organizational challenges while regulatory challenges came last. Government hospital users had more concerns than private, regarding all of the three categories of challenges. Some demographic variables, such as age, gender, experience and profession, had significant influence on the perception of healthcare professionals towards different challenges. The study recommends providing or outsourcing the required experience of hospital management to choose, to implement and to evaluate HIS performance. Redesigning workflows to match HIS is a viable option for successful implementation. Clear time frame for implementation is very essential. Allocating proper and enough investments, especially at the initial phase of implementation, is important. Feasibility studies on benefits versus costs of implementing and using HIS are crucial for decision makers. Much work still to be done on developing regulations, policies and procedures on both hospital and national levels to govern adoption, implementation and utilization of HIS.