The new digital and social media to discover Arabia and the Middle East. Offbeat. Innovative.

“Drive-through” hospitals flourish in Saudi Arabia

While many pharmacies and other medical centers are updating their offerings to comply with the various measures implemented around the world, drive systems are constantly emerging in different parts of the world. The Arab world is no exception to the rule; it is even rather spearheading the issue.

A few weeks ago, we were telling you about the drive-through testing centers that were being set up in the United Arab Emirates. Today, it’s no longer just a question of sticking to viral tests and analyses of the population, but of developing a whole “takeaway” health service.

This is particularly the case in Jeddah, where King Faisal’s Specialist Hospital and Research Centre has set up a “drive” so that patients with chronic illnesses can access care without putting themselves at risk during the pandemic. Launched on April 5th, the service is now being maintained despite the easing of containment measures, because it has a number of advantages, such as reduced queues and guaranteed social distancing. In the west of the kingdom, several thousand patients have already taken advantage of this service, which is providential for many confined people who would not have been able to access care without going through a complicated administrative process.

The idea is spreading

Other hospitals around the world have begun to implement “drives”, such as in the United States, where the Katherine Shaw Bethea Hospital in Dixon, Illinois, is testing people without taking them out of the comfort of their own homes. Dallas and Seattle, among others, have also set up such services.

In terms of practicality, why not opt for a delivery service instead, thus avoiding long waits at the hospital drive? For purely medical reasons: biological drugs or refrigerated products are subject to a strict quality level that would become too difficult to maintain. It is therefore preferable for the hospital teams to be able to deliver the medicines themselves. Thus, if there is uncertainty about how to get off quarantine, the hospital intends to keep this innovation afloat and continue to treat patients in the most convenient and safest way possible.