As the global landscape suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia experienced a double push for healthcare digitalization to cater to the growing needs of its population.
The crowded hospitals and mobility restrictions during the pandemic forced diabetes patients and other patients requiring regular treatments to leverage the presence of telemedicine players in the industry. At the same time, hospitals prioritized handling the COVID-19 infected patients.
Digital health in Saudi Arabia enables the market to access healthcare services seamlessly, helping shape people's mindset to opt for home-based services as measures to maintain their health condition.
At the same time, avoid going out and catching the chain of the COVID-19. The concept of telemedicine has been revolving around for some years, yet the government's regulation covering the industry's operations has just been finalized during the peak of the global crisis.
Saudi Arabia has seen one of the most significant diabetes prevalences compared to other gulf countries in recent years. The kingdom's diabetes takes the place of one in six adults, putting the urgency of efficient and timely delivery of healthcare services.
The rising number of diabetes means patients need regular treatment to manage the chronic disease, including collecting and monitoring blood glucose data every month.
Today, the regulatory infrastructure of telemedicine has positioned the industry as the natural progression in the healthcare industry, reducing costs for both patients and healthcare players while increasing convenience during the process.
A young demographic population in Saudi Arabia also plays a part in the robust growth of telemedicine, easing the adoption process due to the digital-savvy characteristics dominating the share of the kingdom.
Players of telehealth in Saudi Arabia have also recognized the importance of providing convenience for diabetic patients to retain their conditions during the pandemic.
Telemedicine capitalizes on the complexity of self-monitoring through virtual sessions, aligning one of Saudi Arabia's recently launched healthcare programs to provide one doctor for each adult in the kingdom.
Besides diabetic treatment usage, Saudi Arabia's telemedicine also gained popularity as a supportive tool for psychological wellbeing throughout the pandemic. The drastic global changes had put the kingdom's citizens in a more vulnerable position to depression, leading to increased use of online consultation and emotional therapies.
However, the trend of virtual psychiatric and psychological sessions required doctors to possess added professional competencies and skills to adapt to the virtual demands. Virtual online sessions have put forth the essentiality of user-first orientation, pushing consumers to opt for better bonds with their healthcare providers.
As Saudi Arabia emerges from the global crisis induced by the COVID-19 virus, telemedicine faces an important question of whether or not consumers would shift to digital healthcare operations rather than a regular visit to the hospitals. As a response, Saudi Arabia's industry players opted to adopt a hybrid mix of virtual and in-person proportions in their operations.
Regardless of the lingering question of how long the telemedicine boost in Saudi Arabia will last, the industry players are confident to invest in artificial intelligence as the future of telemedicine in Saudi Arabia.
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