Oman Ministry of Health

Oman Ministry of Health uses OpenAthens-Knowledge E library solution to transform healthcare services

07 June 2016 • Lauren Harding, senior marketing officer

The Oman Ministry of Health (MoH) is the primary healthcare provider in Oman. It manages around 35,000 clinicians and administration staff in clinics, polyclinics, health centers, and 10 hospitals. These staff need access to a wide variety of publications and medical information resources to improve healthcare provision and support research.

Medical student looking through microscope. Oman Ministry of Health uses OpenAthens-Knowledge E integrated library solution to transform healthcare services

The challenge

Some of the most important and most heavily used resources are point-of-care databases that doctors, nurses, and other health workers use to provide up-to-date consultation at the clinic, hospital, and even at a patient’s bedside. Previously, but for a few ad-hoc or site-specific services, the Oman Ministry of Health had no enterprise-wide access to clinical information resources. In addition, Oman’s 240 healthcare sites are distributed across the country, many in rural areas where there is limited IT infrastructure. For example, several sites did not have their own IP address, making authentication security difficult. The Ministry needed an effective way to manage and access medical information resources for better healthcare provision. For the tender, the Oman MoH specified that all bids had to be OpenAthens compatible.

The solution

The tender was won by Knowledge E – an OpenAthens distributor in the United Arab Emirates serving the Middle East. The integrated library solution, delivered by Knowledge E, is the Oman MoH e-library information portal. At the core of the solution is OpenAthens MD, which securely and effectively manages user access to online resources. The dual-language portal provides access to a host of clinical information, including mission-critical, point-of-care databases, for all healthcare and administration staff.

As well as designing, developing, and supporting the portal, Knowledge E also sourced much of the information content from around the world such as the BMJ (British Medical Journal), Wiley Online Library, and Elsevier Health. Knowledge E has incorporated a dedicated search facility in the portal to make it easy for users to find the information they need quickly.

"OpenAthens is an essential part of the Oman Ministry of Health e-library. It Not only does it enable simple, quick and secure single sign-on, it also serves as the standard authentication solution for all the world-leading publishers and information resources our staff need to help improve healthcare services. Since deploying OpenAthens, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the use of our information resources.”

Dr. Said Amer Alghenaimi, Dean of Rustaq Nursing Institute & MOH e-library task force Chairperson, Oman Ministry of Health

OpenAthens enables single sign-on for users to access any resource they are entitled to use. Administrators use OpenAthens to set access levels depending on relevant criteria such as the need or seniority of an individual or group. To improve management and control, OpenAthens also provides a range of reports on how, where, when, and by whom various resources are being used. Because OpenAthens is fully hosted in Oman, it overcomes the problem of poor IT infrastructure and removes the need for specialist IT skills.

"Our doctors and nurses rely on vital, real-time clinical information, best practice and latest innovations to help them provide efficient healthcare services to patients, families and the community at large. This is why OpenAthens and the Knowledge E solution plays such a critical, transformational role in facilitating a quick, simple and secure way to access the point-of-care database information for our clinicians.”

Mr Zaki Abdullah Alhashmi, Librarian, Centre of Professional Training & Development, Oman Ministry of Health

The Ministry has been so impressed with OpenAthens' integrated library solution that it has expanded its use of the solution to around 10,000 unique registered users including doctors, nurses, and other health professionals across the country. The number of users is potentially subjected to increase, as regressive training is being implemented.

"Excellent reporting features in OpenAthens give us a clear and accurate picture of how resources are being utilized. In addition, it also shows detailed statistical information about the usage by resources, and/or by users. OpenAthens has drastically enhanced the registration process, yet it has still overcome some of the difficulties that we needed to address.”

Mr. Saad Salaam Alyarbi, Librarian at the Royal Hospital, Oman Ministry of Health

Results and benefits

  • Transforms the ease, speed and reliability of accessing essential medical information
  • Helps improve healthcare delivery and advances healthcare research in the region
  • Fully hosted OpenAthens significantly reduces the cost and need for complex IT skills or infrastructure
  • OpenAthens addresses many of the challenges encountered during automation of the registration process
  • Automating and improving authentication makes it easier to roll out a electronic medical library nationally