Discovering Gaps in Saudi Education for Digital Health Transformation
International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications
The growing complexity of healthcare systems worldwide and the medical profession's increasing dependency on information technology for accurate practice and treatment call for specific standardized education in health informatics programming, and accreditation of health informatics programs based on core competencies is progressing at an international level. This study investigates the state of affairs in health informatics programs within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to determine (1) how
... o determine (1) how well international standards are being met and (2) what further development is needed in light of KSA's recent eHealth initiatives. This descriptive study collected data from publicly available resources to investigate Health Informatics programs at 109 Saudi institutions. Information about coursework offered at each institution was compared with American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) curriculum guidelines. Of 109 institutions surveyed, only a handful offered programs specifically in health informatics. Of these, most programs did not match the coursework recommended by AMIA, and the majority of programs mimicked existing curricula from other countries rather than addressing unique Saudi conditions. Education in health informatics in KSA appears to be scattered, non-standardized, and somewhat outdated. Based on these findings, there is a clear opportunity for greater focus on core competencies within health informatics programs. The Saudi digital transformation (eHealth) initiative, as part of Saudi Vision 2030, clearly calls for implementation of internationally accepted health informatics competencies in education programs and healthcare practice, which can only occur through greater collaboration between medical and technology educators and strategic partnerships with companies, medical centers, and governmental institutions.