Haj goes digital with ‘robots


Linking pilgrims with doctors in Riyadh, Jeddah


Saudi medical services during this year’s Haj season have gone digital. New robots can now connect specialized doctors from Riyadh and Jeddah with patients during their pilgrimage in Mina and Makkah. The robots are connected to 4G technology and will allow specialized doctors such as oncologists and cardiologists to provide remote assistance to patients on site in one of the 16 major hospitals serving pilgrims in the sacred sites of Mina, Muzdaliffa, and Arafat.
“We have the ability to now consult any Ministry of Health consultant from all over the Kingdom to be immediately within the hospitals. He can roam within the hospitals, go to any department or any bed and give the consultation directly,” Dr. Ahmad Balkhair, the deputy minister for eHealth and digital transformation, said while talking to Al Arabiya. According to ministry of health officials, medical doctors from major hospitals in Riyadh and Jeddah have been trained on using the technology.
“We introduced this service because during Hajj, it is very difficult to move within the Mina area,” Dr. Balkhair said, adding that they will be able to move the robots among the sprawling vast tent city of Makkah and help pilgrims without having to move them away from their accommodation during the Haj.

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