Barriers to the Adoption of EHR Systems in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

For this week’s coursework in MI227, I have focused on the article tackling the barriers to the adoption of EHR systems in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

What are the key points of the article?

The main points discussed in the article are the barriers to the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR) Systems using a Systematic Review of Literature. The literature was based on 6 search engines namely, PubMed, EBSCO Host, Web of Science, ACM, IEEE and Google Scholar. Articles were limited to peer reviewed, empirical studies within Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). 12 studies were used by the authors which were extracted, analyzed, summarized and categorized empirical results related to EHR barriers.

“Healthcare experts and policymakers consider Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to be essential for improving patient safety, improving healthcare quality, and transforming the healthcare industry. Evaluation studies have shown that an EHR that involves a Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) system can reduce medical errors by as much as 55%, and by 86% when coupled with a Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system. The benefits of an EHR have been well documented in the literature, including: optimizing the documentation of patient encounters, availability and timeliness of information, effective chronic disease management, improved quality of clinical decisions, supporting continuity of care and facilitating the exchange of up-to-date information among healthcare providers in distinct locations, reduction of redundant tests, and reduction of healthcare costs. In addition, EHRs are considered to be central in achieving patient-centered healthcare.” [1]


What lessons learned does it describe?

The article showed that the 4 main barriers that hinder the implementation of EHR system in KSA are (1) lack of computer experience, (2) lack of perceived usefulness, (3) lack of perceived ease of use by the healthcare professionals and (4) technical limitations. These four barriers along comprise 63% of the barriers reported in the literature. [1]

Some of the challenges in the healthcare system in the KSA as listed in the article.

Misdistribution of healthcare services – there is an uneven distribution of healthcare services within the KSA.

Rapid population growth – the rapidly increasing population of KSA will impose tremendous financial pressures on the healthcare systems.

Shortage of medical workforce – majority of health professionals in KSA are expatriates which leads to high levels of turnover and instability in the health workforce.

The need for effective Chronic Disease Management (CDM) programs – the constant increase in chronic diseases in the KSA calls for an early prevention as the best effective way to reduce said diseases.

How can this relate to the local setting in the Philippines?

The challenges in the healthcare system in the KSA are almost like the challenges in the healthcare system for the Philippines. The shortage of medical workforce might not be applicable as the Philippines have enough workforce, but with the limited availability of jobs.

Addressing the challenges in the healthcare system with the use of EHRs will greatly benefit the people by improving the delivery of healthcare services to those medically underserved through the different forms of telemedicine [2]. Using EHRs would make substantial cost savings to the healthcare system, as it was estimated that EHRs would make a potential savings of $77 billion per year in the US healthcare at a 90% level of adoption. [3] EHRs can also improve productivity of clinicians and decrease the time spent per patient visited by physicians which is a good sign for countries experiencing a shortage of clinicians. The use of EHRs could also assist in the changing of health behavior an individual and could be used to track the delivery of recommended preventive across primary healthcare centers.

The results from this article can be used and adopted to Philippine setting to assist in policy makers in planning an designing policies to increase the adoption of EHRs. The results can also help HER vendors in system development and marketing. This will also help researchers in further investigating the reported barriers in different settings and regions. As this study summarizes the current evidence regarding EHR adoption barriers in the KSA, future research will build upon this current evidence and will focus on developing the appropriate framework for the adoption of EHRs in the KSA. [1]



  1. Alqahtani, Asma, Crowder, Richard & Wills, Gary., Barriers to the Adoption of EHR Systems in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: An Exploratory Study Using a Systematic Literature Review. 2017 July 09. Vol. 11 No. 2, 2017. Journal of Health Informatics in Developing Countries.
  2. Raposo VL. Electronic health records: Is it a risk worth taking in healthcare delivery? GMS Health Technology Assessment. 2015 Dec 10;11.
  3. Hillestad R, Bigelow J, Bower A, Girosi F, Meili R, Scoville R, et al. Can electronicmedical record systems transform health care? Potential health benefits, savings,and costs. Health Affairs. 2005;24(5):1103–17.


#MI227 #HealthInformatics #MSHI #UPManila




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s