King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences (KSAU-HS) is a recently established university in Saudi Arabia. It was founded in 2005 under the umbrella of the Ministry of National Guard, Health Affairs. The Health Affairs as a governmental non-profit healthcare organization is comprised of two medical cities, one in Riyadh and the other in Jeddah. There are also hospitals in Dammam, Al Ahsa and Al Madinah, and over 100 primary healthcare centres across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. KSAU-HS is closely affiliated with the Health Affairs’ hospitals as the academic arm of the organization. The KSAU-HS university campuses and accommodations are physically located on the same grounds as the hospitals.
Despite the wealth of literature about health informatics education and the issues involved, there is very little discussion on the role of HI practice and tools in higher education in the health sciences and medical fields. This applies to health informatics education in Saudi Arabia as well, and more specifically within our university.
With the knowledge of an existing gap in HI education, our university already provides a masters health informatics program that is taught over two years. Upon discussing training and educational opportunities with many healthcare professionals, we have come to realize that not all professionals have the time or resources to dedicate two years of full time study to adequately learn about HI. We have therefore proposed the information and technology in healthcare executive certificate training program as a solution to help those interested bridge their knowledge gap in a professional training setting. The course not only proposes to provide quality training in an efficient manner, but it is also intended to run mainly over the summer months, and was designed not to interfere with the local Islamic holidays and religious periods of Ramadan and Hajj.
The following case study focuses on the need for a more concise information and technology in healthcare education program focused on accommodating working professionals and outlines the development of a program offering an executive certificate upon completion.