Riyadh: 25 December 2019 – New model of care programs, the goal of implementing accountable care organizations and other governmental reforms to achieve its Vision 2030 are helping to create an ideal enabling environment to develop a world-class primary care system in Saudi Arabia, KPMG Al Fozan & Partners said in its latest report titled “The Paradox of Primary Care: How Saudi Arabia can leapfrog world-class primary care systems”.
KPMG conducted a global study across high, middle and low income countries on trends and innovations in primary care. The research identified an almost universal ‘paradox’ between the critical strategic role assigned to the primary care system and its relative lack of investment, importance or influence. Leaders in healthcare see primary care as key to the transformation they want to make across the healthcare system but at the same time don’t allow it to have enough capacity to achieve this.
In Saudi Arabia the healthcare sector is undergoing a huge transformation as part of Vision 2030 which aims to strengthen primary care as a key vehicle for better access and affordability.
“The impetus behind the need to strengthen Saudi Arabia’s primary care system is clear, as the Kingdom already faces some of the highest population health risk factors in the GCC, including one of the worst rates of diabetes in the world”, Dr. Niti Pall, KPMG’s Global Medical Director said.
“From a health system perspective, the country is experiencing rising healthcare costs, increased waiting times for specialist care, and overutilization of emergency departments.
The population segment most at risk of chronic disease – over 50s – is set to increase rapidly in Saudi Arabia, from around 13 percent of the population in 2015 to 23 percent by 2030 unless concrete steps are taken to address the issue”, commented Emmeline Roodenburg, Head of Healthcare, KPMG in Saudi Arabia.
“Properly stewarded, the transformation program will create an opportunity to build a unique new way of delivering primary care, fit for the 21st century and the local assets and needs of the Kingdom” she continued.
Though Saudi Arabia’s primary care system is already noted for a number of successes, and improvements in access to care for rural populations, a host of challenges remain such as maturity of referral systems operating between primary and secondary care, number of fully qualified family physicians, persistent behaviors among patients that lead them to avoid primary care in favor of direct access to hospital, and a payment model that incentivize holistic.
“More than any other healthcare service, improvements in primary care need to be locally designed and led. But the speed and scale of wider change must be managed in such a way that doesn’t stifle ownership, innovation and buy-in from frontline staff and communities,” Niti concluded.