Executive MHA prepares Saudi students to lead changing healthcare system

									Mona Rath |
																			March 25, 2016

King Fahad Medical City 600x400The University of Minnesota MHA program continues to influence a changing Saudi healthcare system.

In February 2016, a group of MHA faculty and staff traveled to King Fahad Medical City in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for four days of classroom instruction.

The team met with Fahad A. Al-Ateeg, CFO for KFMC, to discuss the rapidly changing Saudi healthcare system, and how the Executive MHA program prepares Saudi administrators and physicians to lead these changes.

Transition to U.S.-based model

Today the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is undergoing an unprecedented transition from a largely government-sponsored model of delivery and financing to one that includes privatization—funded by both government and employers using a third-party payer insurance model, similar to the U.S. Changing economics and a growing population are contributing factors. Furthermore, Saudi health systems face population challenges similar to ours: high rates of chronic disease, access to primary and preventive care, and increased cost.

As the Saudi health system continues to evolve into a data-driven, accountable care delivery system—similar to the U.S.— trained leaders are needed more than ever.

Teaching to anticipate challenges and opportunities

MHA faculty leadership and staff believe teaching from a U.S. perspective is helpful for healthcare leaders seeking to improve the patient experience, improve population health, and reduce per capita cost. The Program often draws upon our own changing healthcare system where leadership is required to anticipate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

While with the cohort, Associate Professor Richard Priore shared with Saudi students the following excerpt relating to the current U.S.-based approach to health care strategy and delivery.

“With the expected shift in the mechanisms of healthcare financing and delivery, the Saudi system is likely to not only acquire many of the features of the U.S. healthcare system, but encounter similar difficulties as well.” 1

Preparing to lead change

Al-Ateeg says the Ministry of Health is assessing ways to institute more business-like thinking and processes to reduce waste, improve operational and clinical efficacy and efficiency, align providers’ financial incentives, and rationalize services.

“We are pleased with how the Executive MHA program is preparing our administrators to achieve these goals,” he says. “The skills, knowledge, and abilities introduced to our students are instrumental to leading change.” He also shared that the University through the Executive MHA program were helping to develop the next generation of leaders within King Fahad Medical City to lead us through theses changes and into what we think is a bright future.

“After a few days on-site with our second Saudi cohort, it’s evident our program has and will continue to have a significant and positive impact in shaping the future of Saudi health care.”


1 Khaliq, A.A. (2012). The Saudi healthcare system: A view from the minaret. World Health & Population, 13(3), 52-64.



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