International Medical Center, a hospital's symptom checker as a gateway for new patients

Photo of Aleksandra KwiecieńAleksandra Kwiecień
May 12, 2021
... min read

Saudi Arabia, driven by its blooming economy, is one of the countries with the most unprecedented growth of population. In just a few decades, the country grew from 4 to 34 million citizens. The situation, while beneficial for business development, posed a multitude of challenges to the local government that had to build a national healthcare system and its infrastructure almost from scratch.

Operating in such a vivid and dynamic environment, International Medical Center embraces the challenge and uses digital technologies, like Infermedica API, to reach out to new customers and provide them with holistic, patient-oriented medical services.

Illustration by Jędrzej Rayski.

International Medical Center ranks among the best healthcare providers in the region. Their multidisciplinary hospital is operated by over 150 certified physicians from the US, Canada, and Europe. The hospital is also a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, within which it exchanges knowledge and expertise. Equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, the hospital provides a wide range of comprehensive treatment options for different health problems.

Digital transformation of the IMC hospital

Following patients' needs, IMC entered the path of digital transformation. Patients’ medical records are processed digitally, the hospital has an active presence and communication online, and selected medical services are available through telemedicine, all of which significantly improves access to medical support for the patients.

Modern technologies became an important part of IMC’s competitive advantage.

IMC was one of the first hospitals in Saudi Arabia that decided to use a symptom checking solution to collect patient data, propose appropriate medical services, better manage patient flow and improve the overall patient experience.

Symptom checker helps new and existing IMC patients

Implemented in 2020, symptom checker became an easy-to-use connector between patients and medical services of IMC. Available in Arabic, as well as English, it is a suitable tool for both Saudis and foreigners staying in the country, the latter of which accounted for 37% of the total Saudi population in 2017.

The tool is available free of charge on IMC’s webpage and dedicated mobile applications. Using the symptom checker is possible without prior registration. This makes it an innovative solution that is available also for those considering IMC services. With symptom checker, expats and tourists can initially analyze their health, discover medical services appropriate to their medical condition, and decide if they want to become an IMC patient.
Key steps from the patient journey using the IMC’s symptom checker.

Similarly, existing patients can use it to check up on their new symptoms and select medical or supplementary services as a part of their digital patient journey. IMC’s symptom checker is a tool that connects patients (sharing their symptoms) with a relevant specialist. This way, it became a gateway to secure more better adjusted appointments

A data collection tool supporting physicians

The collected data and suggestions from the symptom checker also help in the management of the hospital. With the symptom analysis and triage recommendation, patients are routed to the exact help they require, making it easier for the hospital management team to adjust services, schedules, and competencies to the actual needs of the patients.

The medical information provided by patients in symptom checker interviews supports physicians during the visit, as they are integrated into part of patients' medical records.

The Saudi healthcare system is staffed mainly with foreign doctors who constitute about 73% of the total medical workforce. The symptom checker’s bilingual form is also convenient for the physicians who, as a statistic majority, are non-Saudi citizens.

The average tenure among non-Saudi physicians and nurses is just 2.3 years. Maintaining medical documentation in English also supports knowledge transfer among physicians and the seamless continuity of patients' treatment.

Core solution of the IMC hospital symptom checker

In the course of digital transformation, International Medical Center intended to provide the highest standards of development and implementation. While building a symptom checker, they decided to use a proven technology for providing intelligent medical interview and symptom analysis. The hospital chose to base its solution on the inference engine available within Infermedica API.

Combined with the medical knowledge base meticulously built by Infermedica's medical team, it enables the collecting of patient data in a structured way, as well as connecting and exchanging them with existing software already used in IMC.

Medical content provided by Infermedica was available in the Arabic language, which significantly shortened its implementation time.

The implementation team used components from the Infermedica technology to build patient paths - including evidence collection, symptom assessment, and triage recommendations. All of them were adjusted to the processes and standards used in the International Medical Center, which was possible thanks to their flexible construction.

Implemented on the IMC's website, mobile, and patient portal, symptom checker helps the hospital increase efficiency through patient data collection, and enhance the patient experience through improved patient flow.

So far, it has performed over 12.7k digital health interviews, helping IMC correctly analyze patients' information and focus on a holistic approach to their health.

Check out this symptom checker on the International Medical Center’s webpage, and learn more about the Infermedica API that lies in its core.