As the largest academic-affiliated medical centre in Saudi Arabia, Dr Ahmed Hersi MD, MBA, CEO of King Saud University Medical City, speaks to us about the hospital’s aim to advance medical practices by nurturing future generations of healthcare leaders.
TRANSFORMING INTEGRATED HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT
As one of the largest countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia’s healthcare system has undergone significant improvements in an attempt to better serve a population of approximately 34 million.
With recent investments in healthcare infrastructure, more individuals than ever have been able to access a variety of medical services across the country.
“This healthcare transformation in Saudi Arabia has spurred innovation, collaboration, and a focus on delivering high-quality care,” opens Dr Ahmed Hersi MD, MBA, CEO of King Saud University Medical City (KSUMC).
“We in the healthcare sector are encouraged to explore new technologies, adopt best practices, and implement efficient systems to meet the evolving needs of patients and the healthcare system as a whole.”
Despite the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia has emerged as a global leader in healthcare transformation and sustainability, having demonstrated resilience, innovation, and a strong commitment to adopting digital technologies.
KSUMC is a prime example of leadership and dedication to patient-centric care at a time when technological developments are rampant and even overwhelming if not implemented methodically.
Established in 1970, KSUMC initially functioned as a public institution, relying predominantly on government subsidies and following judiciary rules and regulations. However, a significant transformation occurred in January 2023 when updated bylaws placed the company under the umbrella of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC), gaining a legal personality and independent financial liability.
“This marked a substantial evolution, allowing KSUMC to navigate its activities and pursuits with increased flexibility and a more diversified approach to funding, aligning with the evolving landscape of academic healthcare institutions worldwide,” insights Dr Hersi.
Presently, KSUMC stands as a formidable healthcare entity comprising three major hospitals, each of which contributes to the institution’s overarching commitment to medical excellence and academic advancement.
A LIFETIME OF DEDICATION
Dr Hersi’s interest in the healthcare industry was sparked during his education and exposure to medical professionals, having witnessed their inspirational dedication and compassion.
From there, Dr Hersi rose through the ranks of various hospitals and organisations, playing a pivotal role in ensuring the delivery of high-quality healthcare services and gaining diverse experience in clinical practice, research, advisory roles, and leadership positions.
“I have a genuine passion for healthcare and the opportunity to make a positive impact on patients’ lives. As CEO, I am able to shape the organisational direction of our institution and contribute to the overall improvement of healthcare delivery,” he enthuses.
Committed to driving positive change, fostering innovation, and continuously improving the delivery of medical services, Dr Hersi’s ultimate goal is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of individuals and communities by shaping the direction of KSUMC and promoting the well-being of the Saudi community.
This goal is epitomised by KSUMC’s vision and mission, which it strives to embody in every step of its operations.
“Our vision is to be a global academic medical leader that advances the practice of medicine and nurtures future generations of healthcare professionals. It is our mission to provide compassionate, excellent care to our patients and to advance healthcare, education, research, and innovation,” clarifies Dr Hersi.
This responsibility and high standard of care that KSUMC places upon itself reflect the hospital’s commitment to excellence across various domains crucial to its mission and impact in the healthcare sector.
TRAINING THE FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE
KSUMC has set itself the ambitious goal of becoming one of the top 10 medical universities by 2030. To do so, it has formulated a strategy which seamlessly aligns with the aspirations of the Saudi Arabian healthcare sector.
This framework encompasses several key objectives designed to elevate the quality of healthcare provision, research, and education, thereby enhancing the institute’s global standing.
“We are committed to transforming our flagship hospitals into world-leading academic and research centres, aiming for global recognition and aspiring to drive excellence in medical delivery, innovation, research, and education,” expands Dr Hersi.
Poised to undergo a comprehensive transformation encompassing several strategic phases, this approach aims to position KSUMC as a beacon of excellence within the industry.
Offering an exceptional educational experience for its students, both local and international, KSUMC already leads the way when it comes to an extensive and thorough education as a primary training facility for medical and other health college students at King Saud University (KSU).
Despite a global trend in healthcare training emphasising postgraduate studies due to the rapid progress in modern medicine and the need for specialised skills, KSUMC facilitates the training of a substantial number of physicians and non-physician trainees. This encompasses both undergraduate students and interns, with an annual cohort exceeding 4,850 individuals.
“Students at KSUMC can benefit not only from the academic excellence ingrained within the bachelor’s programme but also from the institution’s dedication to the organisational and administrative aspects of postgraduate education,” insights Dr Hersi.
This strategic approach ensures that undergraduate and postgraduate students receive equal or higher levels of attention and care from the 31 general specialisation programmes, 92 subspeciality programmes, and various affiliated colleges that KSUMC offers.
“The structured educational programmes aim to equip healthcare trainees with the requisite skills and knowledge essential for their respective roles within the healthcare sector, reinforcing KSUMC’s position as a leading academic medical centre locally and internationally,” certifies Dr Hersi.
A HOLISTIC FUTURE
Presently, KSUMC is engaged in numerous projects aligned with its strategic direction and vision, catering to the institution’s overarching objectives. Each of these projects is meticulously designed to contribute to the advancement and realisation of the hospital’s goals, ensuring a comprehensive and integrated approach to its strategic pillars.
“This calculated alignment reflects KSUMC’s dedication to maintaining a leadership position in the healthcare landscape, fostering innovation, and positively impacting diverse facets of its operations,” explains Dr Hersi.
One such project is the KSU Family Medicine Centre.
Playing a pivotal role in fulfilling the organisation’s commitment to delivering high-quality, patient-centred care, this new five-floor establishment is a significant stride toward comprehensive healthcare provision. It focuses on patient service, population health, preventative care, and revenue enhancement.
Boasting over 64 clinics, the state-of-the-art medical centre’s importance lies in its dedication to family medicine, a crucial aspect of healthcare that addresses not only individual needs but also contributes to improving the overall lifestyle and well-being of the population.
Family medicine emphasises preventative care, early intervention, and the management of chronic conditions, aligning with global healthcare trends that prioritise holistic health.
“By providing a wide range of services and clinics, the KSU Family Medicine Centre will become a hub for promoting healthier lifestyle choices and offering preventative healthcare measures,” comments Dr Hersi.
In addition to the KSU Family Medicine Centre, medical tourism is of paramount importance to KSUMC.
The significance of medical tourism is multi-faceted and extends beyond conventional healthcare provision, including key aspects which align with the objectives outlined by KSUMC, Riyadh 2030, and Saudi Vision 2030.
Some of these aspects include global reputation and excellence, economic diversification, knowledge exchange and collaboration, boosting tourism and hospitality, and job creation and skills enhancement.
“Attracting patients from around the world fosters a global exchange of medical knowledge and expertise, and collaborations with international healthcare professionals, institutions, and researchers has become more prevalent,” expands Dr Hersi.
“Such collaborations contribute to the academic and research objectives of KSUMC, which emphasise knowledge transfer and the development of a robust healthcare system.”
Looking toward the future, KSUMC is dedicated to continuing to foster the professional development and educational advancement of emerging healthcare practitioners and providing a holistic, specialised, and globally relevant experience for every patient.