Connecting with Saudi Arabia

July 29, 2014

Zulfa and Amena2 Oxford 2014In June, Drs. Zulfa Al Rayess and Amena Munshi spent a week at Oxford University while attending the Evidence based health practice: knowledge into action course. Dr. Zulfa is a Family Medicine consultant and the Head of the Saudi Centre For Evidence-Based Health Care (EBHC).  Dr. Amena , a community physician, is also a project manager at the Saudi Centre for EBHC.

Sharon Mickan had the opportunity to meet with them while they were in Oxford studying for the Knowledge into Action module in June, and learn about the Centre and their clinical practice guidelines development program…


When did you establish the Saudi Centre for EBHC?

The Saudi Centre was officially established at the Ministry of Health (MoH) in December 2012. Since then, our mission evolved from delivering training on evidence-based medicine to the development of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) covering the most critical and prevalent diseases in the country. We seek to adapt the best available international CPGs for prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and to establish rules and regulations for their implementation. We provide guidance to specialists and practitioners and support them to provide the best health care in Saudi Arabia. The Center also seeks to raise awareness of evidence-based medicine and support its practice across the Kingdom.

How is this being received by health professionals?

There is high demand from many professional medical societies in Saudi Arabia for clear guidelines on best practices to apply across Ministry of Health hospitals and health care providers. With the collaboration of McMaster Guideline Working Group and the Centre for EBHC, a clear methodology has been established to revise existing guidelines and adapt them locally. Over 70 Saudi experts across the Kingdom distributed among 10 guideline panels attended a 4-day workshop led by McMaster Working Group in Riyadh last December. Each of the 10 panels averaging 7 members each were teamed with 2 methodologists from McMaster to work on the evidence to decision process which entails to going from available evidences to forming the decision that makes recommendation.

What is next?

Thus far we have developed new guidelines for 10 clinical conditions. We have surveyed our clinical leaders and have prioritised the next 12 CPG topics that will be working on in 2014. We have also formulated our expert panels for the upcoming second guideline development project.

Our next steps are to disseminate the 10 guidelines and support the clinical departments to implement them in their own health care setting. We will support several pilot studies in different hospitals to set up standard KPIs and to evaluate the best ways to implement these new guidelines. This will help us better understand and support future guideline implementation. We are now are preparing for the launch of the second guideline development project during the year 2014.

We hope to improve patient outcomes through reducing unnecessary clinical practice variation.

Our motto is “Advancing Health Care Through Evidence Based Practice”

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