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In Journal of the Medical Library Association : JMLA

Objective : Understanding health informatics (HI) publication trends in Saudi Arabia may serve as a framework for future research efforts and contribute toward meeting national "e-Health" goals. The authors' intention was to understand the state of the HI field in Saudi Arabia by exploring publication trends and their alignment with national goals.

Methods : A scoping review was performed to identify HI publications from Saudi Arabia in PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science. We analyzed publication trends based on topics, keywords, and how they align with the Ministry of Health's (MOH's) "digital health journey" framework.

Results : The total number of publications included was 242. We found 1 (0.4%) publication in 1995-1999, 11 (4.5%) publications in 2000-2009, and 230 (95.0%) publications in 2010-2019. We categorized publications into 3 main HI fields and 4 subfields: 73.1% (n=177) of publications were in clinical informatics (85.1%, n=151 medical informatics; 5.6%, n=10 pharmacy informatics; 6.8%, n=12 nursing informatics; 2.3%, n=4 dental informatics); 22.3% (n=54) were in consumer health informatics; and 4.5% (n=11) were in public health informatics. The most common keyword was "medical informatics" (21.5%, n=52). MOH framework-based analysis showed that most publications were categorized as "digitally enabled care" and "digital health foundations."

Conclusions : The years of 2000-2009 may be seen as an infancy stage of the HI field in Saudi Arabia. Exploring how the Saudi Arabian MOH's e-Health initiatives may influence research is valuable for advancing the field. Data exchange and interoperability, artificial intelligence, and intelligent health enterprises might be future research directions in Saudi Arabia.

Binkheder Samar, Aldekhyyel Raniah, Almulhem Jwaher


bibliometric analysis, biomedical informatics, clinical informatics, consumer health informatics, health informatics, public health informatics