Raheeq Al-Harbi: A feminine IT pioneer in Saudi healthcare

RIYADH: Raheeq Al-Harbi obtained almost excellent grades in her secondary faculty exams. In Saudi Arabia, that normally means a profession in medication. 

At the moment, nevertheless, her profession journey, spanning virtually a decade within the digital healthcare trade, is a booming success, and didn’t contain going to medical faculty.

Though excited on the prospect of a medical profession in her early years, Al-Harbi was dissuaded from turning into a health care provider by her household. 

“They feared the lengthy nightshifts on the hospital and basically giving up my life,” she stated. “So I believed OK, I’ll observe my older sister’s lead and pursue software program engineering as a substitute.”

Certainly, Al-Harbi went on to earn a BA in info know-how (IT) from King Saud College (KSU) in Riyadh. She fell in love with analytics and software program engineering the day she attended her first lecture. 


New beginnings

After commencement, Al-Harbi labored briefly at an area financial institution, offering IT treasury back-office help. 

“I labored within the treasury division, which was a core part of the financial institution. Whereas it was a really difficult expertise, I used to be nonetheless capable of show myself,” she stated. 

“However I may inform that working in finance — eight a.m. to five p.m. in a cubicle, with solely the pc to maintain me firm — wasn’t for me. Sure I really like software program engineering, however I additionally like to work together with actual individuals, fixing issues collectively. Most significantly, I needed to make the most of my abilities to enhance the standard of lifetime of these in want.”

So Al-Harbi determined to carry her IT experience to the healthcare enviornment and joined King Fahad Medical Metropolis (KFMC), one of many largest medical and analysis facilities in Saudi Arabia. “I keep in mind the primary day after I bought the job, I believed sure, that is me, I belong right here,” she stated.

Mockingly, her household’s issues about her spending all her time at a hospital did come true. “I virtually lived there, from morning to late at night time. At one level, I even slept within the ER as a result of I used to be engaged on an essential undertaking establishing the ER system,” she stated. 

“Regardless of all of the sleepless nights, nevertheless, I used to be glad and obsessed with working along with my staff on one thing tangible. You would see the influence of our work on the individuals — the sufferers whom we served. It was actually satisfying.”

Over the following few years, Al-Harbi gained quite a lot of awards, together with the Saudi Healthcare Innovation Award at KFMC for designing affected person pathways to scale back crowding in several departments. 

That 12 months, not solely was she the youngest individual to be thought of for such an award, however she was additionally the one lady to obtain one.

At that time, she was confronted with one other dilemma as her work had earned her a scholarship to pursue a grasp’s diploma within the US. 

She loved her job a lot she didn’t need to go away it behind, in order an environment friendly multitasker, she continued working whereas finding out part-time, incomes her MBA from Prince Sultan College. 


‘Wings to fly’
Shortly after getting her MBA, she was approached by GE Healthcare and “jumped” on the alternative.

“It was top-of-the-line choices I’ve ever made. GE has given me the wings to fly, so to talk,” she stated.

“I’m grateful for the alternatives that GE has supplied for each my skilled and private development — from undertaking administration to presales, from purely analytical roles all the way in which to the business world.”

At the moment, Al-Harbi is a senior resolution architect with GE Digital, answerable for the enterprise elements of buyer options. 

This implies she is well-versed in understanding clients’ wants and ache factors, and is well-equipped to design options that ship optimum enterprise outcomes.

“What I really like about my work is that I’m consistently looking out for brand spanking new concepts discovering options to issues. Every undertaking is sort of a jigsaw puzzle that must be solved,” she stated.

“That is the fantastic thing about our work — no two days are ever the identical. We try to be progressive and problem the established order in each state of affairs, and each buyer has their very own set of challenges and alternatives.”

Whereas at GE Digital, she has supported the Saudi Well being Ministry’s main digital medical information digital transformation undertaking, in addition to its extremely regarded Mawid affected person appointments app.

Notably, she created a affected person journey blueprint for ministry hospitals known as the “Golden Package deal.” 

This initiative has been carried out in ministry hospitals throughout the Kingdom, and is taken into account the usual that must be adopted. 


Perks and challenges

Al-Harbi has attended many worldwide conferences all through her profession, and has actively participated in quite a lot of panel discussions, together with the 2018 High CEO Arab Ladies Discussion board on empowering ladies entrepreneurs within the Center East. 

She spoke about the important thing position ladies’s empowerment performs in advancing companies and the client expertise, in addition to ladies’s careers in science, know-how, engineering and arithmetic, and past. 

Trying again at her profession thus far, crucial piece of recommendation Al-Harbi has for younger Saudi ladies is: “Spend money on your self — it’s the very best return on funding you’ll ever get.”

She additionally places nice weight on being genuine and true to oneself. “Be actual. Current your self as you actually are,” she stated.

“With social media platforms these days and every little thing being distant and digital, we generally crave authenticity and care.” 

That even extends to 1’s job title. “What does it actually imply?” she requested. “Discover a imaginative and prescient you really consider in, and contribute your abilities and items to assist advance that imaginative and prescient.” 

Lastly, “don’t take no for a solution,” she stated. “Go above and past the decision of responsibility, and provides 110 p.c.”

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