• 23 Pages
  • Published On: 16-11-2023


Strategic planning and management in healthcare ensures systematic care plan and quality delivery of care to the service users which enhanced their health and well-being. The aim of the study is to discuss strategic planning and management regarding healthcare in Saudi Arabia.


The electronic research strategy is to be used in formulating the study. The articles are to be chosen from platform such as CINHAL, Google Scholar, etc by following inclusion criteria.


The results represent the different strategic planning and management in healthcare is practiced at local, national and international level by Saudi Arabia.


The study shows that strategic planning and management are essential for the health sector since it involves developing changes that improve the sector.


Strategic planning in the ministry of health includes the activities used to set priorities, enhance operations, and prioritize resources and energy within the health organizations. This paper will include health development efforts that will be illustrated by the activities, programs, targets, funding, and the frameworks developed for regulations. Health organizations have made numerous contemporary changes to their management method due to increased economic and technical factors. This has led to numerous changes to ensure health organizations can meet the standard requirements and optimal solutions to the numerous challenges. Globalization is considered the primary factor imposing challenges in the health sector around the world. The strategic planning and enhancement of management practices are present in both private and public organizations. Through strategic planning and management, health organizations can make necessary operations such as planning, analysis, assessment, and monitoring to ensure target achievement. These changes have also made it a necessity to plan for the future to ensure the success of future healthcare practices. This process involves planning on how to be well equipped for any changes that may happen in the future.


There are numerous aspects of healthcare that are focused on when developing a strategic plan for the healthcare sector. The main aspects of being the decision structure and financial structure that require necessary planning to ensure they run as expected. Strategic planning in Saudi Arabia also requires the improvement of strategic management to meet the positively changing environment. This study will be focused on investigating how healthcare organizations within Saudi Arabia develop and adopt strategic planning and management. The paper will focus on illustrating the strategic planning adopted in Saudi Arabia health sector. This will help understand the aspects that have led to improved health in Saudi Arabia and what made it successful. Through this study, we can deduce the recommendations that can be implemented in the Saudi Arabian health sector to improve operations, success, and strategic planning. This paper will explore strategic planning methods used in other countries to ensure extensive information can be used to improve other nations' health care sectors. This study can be used as a reference by other countries with a plan to improve their health sector.

Numerous studies have been conducted in the past, focusing on different countries and of different timelines. This makes it necessary to conduct this study on the current timeline and on different locations to ensure that the information on the strategic planning and management is up to date. This will also help include new changes in the health sector that can be introduced by globalization, technology, changes in lifestyles, and environmental changes. These factors will be included in this study to ensure that current healthcare organizations can relate to the study since the study will include the current issues being faced by the health sector and the factors that lead to the importance of including strategic planning in the health care organizations. The study will use a combination of sources to access information to be used in the study. The sources used will include published reports and articles from the internet and the world health organization (WHO). This study will be focusing mainly on the Saudi Arabia health sector, thus making the region the scope of the study.

Rationale of the Study

In the 20th century, the health sector had numerous changes in management and operations that have been affected by globalization and digital aspects. The changes in competition with the local and international health organizations lead to the health ministry in Saudi Arabia to make necessary changes to meet others' standards. This is done through strategic planning that involves developing policies and programs that will improve the nation's competitiveness and internationally. Saudi Arabia has also been hit by an information revolution that has led to an increase in the competitiveness of the health sectors in the regions and countries with better technology capabilities. Competition in the health sector also leads to the need for strategic planning to ensure that the country's health sector is not left behind. Saudi Arabia has been affected by the reduction of trade barriers since it left numerous health organizations at stake leading to the importance of strategic planning.

The traditional management method is based on forecasts and experience, which does not work effectively in the current world. This leads to the need for strategic management changes to ensure that effective management is utilized within the health sector in Saudi Arabia to enhance competitiveness and capabilities. The study will focus on the current issues that affect the health sector in Saudi Arabia and globally. This will be achieved by analyzing current publications from the WHO and other health organizations around the world. This will help conclude the effective strategic planning and management methods used in Saudi Arabia's health organizations. These publications will be significant for the study since they contain research on the topic that has been done in the current era, thus offering enough information on the changes that have affected the health sector. These publications will also offer recommendations that offer solutions to the issues that have been identified. Some solutions could also be used in Saudi Arabia to improve the competitiveness and the ability to reach the health sector goals in the organizations within the region. The publications also contain information on the strategic plans that have been used in international health organizations, thus ensuring Saudi Arabia health organizations will reach these standards.

This research will offer numerous benefits to the health sector around Saudi Arabia and globally since it will be focused on local, national, and international levels of the health sector. The data collected from the publications will be focused on the current changes and the trends of future challenges. This study will also identify new management methods and strategic plans that can be utilized in Saudi Arabia and around the world. Health organizations in Saudi Arabia can find a strategy they can use to identify the significant changes that can considerably affect the sector. This will allow the organizations to stay ahead of challenges, thus being at a better level in the international health sector. Saudi Arabia can also benefit from the research where the ministry of health can identify the strategies required to improve the health sector according to the challenges currently being faced around the country. The policies, programs, and initiatives developed in this study can be implemented in local health organizations before being implemented at the national and international levels to ensure they are effective enough.


The aim of the study is to discuss strategic planning and management regarding healthcare in Saudi Arabia.

Literature Review

According to Alomi et al. (2015), the ministry of health is responsible for determining and implementing health care and strategic planning within the health sector in Saudi Arabia. It is believed that it is an essential step in strategic management and planning concerning the health sector's development and success. According to a review of the international strategic plan in health care organizations, pharmaceutical care was improved and updated in Saudi Arabia. This included some general strategies, initiatives, and projects that were to be put in place to improve pharmaceutical care in Saudi Arabia health organizations. These were developed after analyzing the ability of the health organizations to reach their goals at that time. This illustrates that strategic planning was essential in ensuring the future of the health care sector in Saudi Arabia would be improved.

Strategic planning was considered to select the health sector's main goals and develop policies and programs that will ensure the achievement of the goals. The strategies are also be focused on ensuring the policies and programs are implemented and followed correctly. The ministry of health has the responsibility of acquiring data on the international health sectors to acquire insights on developing similar initiatives at both local and national health levels. The information is acquired from different countries with organizations such as the WHO, British pharmaceuticals council, and the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) offering data on the strategic planning methods (Alomi et al., 2018). These organizations conduct their research on the strategic planning and management methods they should implement. This is done with respect to current challenges and trends in the factors that could affect the health sector tremendously in the future.

The authors of this publication researched how the Saudi Arabia Ministry of health with the General Administration of Pharmaceutical Care's help conducted their research. This was done in the pharmaceutical care department since it was considered numerous challenges in its strategic planning and management methods. The authors utilize the publications from the research conducted and use them to derive conclusions after analyzing the changes that were made. The authors found out that the ministry of health in Saudi Arabia utilized numerous health organizations to acquire their information (Alomi et al., 2018). The authors derived solutions that would help improve the health sector in Saudi Arabia. This strategic plan would involve strategic goals that were to be fulfilled through projects and initiatives. These initiatives include solutions to the identified issues and improve the entire health sector when implemented. The authors also derive policies that would govern the health organizations in reaching their targets. These policies would be implemented gradually from the local level to the national level after the results are convincing.

According to Ginter et al. (2018), healthcare organizations have become complex systems within society. This makes them have a necessity for management that can help in the operations of the complex system since there are numerous uncertainties of the future and instability. Through the health ministry and private health organizations, the health sector develops strategic management that can be implemented in health organizations for better operability. The main focus of strategic planning and management in the health sector is to ensure the best healthcare quality is provided within the region; these changes are being implemented.

The ministry of health does its research on the sections within the health sector that require immediate changes to ensure they are improved to enhance the health sector's quality. Saudi Arabia has had numerous changes in the current century due to developments and improved health systems. This makes it necessary to research the issues that require changes to ensure the Saudi Arabia health sector is up to date (Ginter et al., 2018). Rapid developments in this region require numerous researches in succession to ensure that the information with the ministry is useful in the present. This helps develop essential models and strategies that effectively ensure that the health sector does not lurk behind when changes come faster than expected. The book includes researches of the Saudi Arabia region that have been solved in the past. According to Ginter et al. (2018), the ministry of health is involved in all changes that are implemented in the health sector since it is responsible for the sector's success. The previous research illustrates that the ministry of health has utilized numerous reports from the local health organizations and international organizations to reach their decision on the solutions to be implemented.

According to Alomran (2019), strategic management practices are essential in the health sector and require significant solutions to improve the health sector's ability. Through his research, the author identified the central issue in the Saudi Arabia health sector. This issue is the positively changing management dynamics of health organizations. This is considered a challenge to the health sector in Saudi Arabia since the changes happen faster than the time taken to develop the solutions to these challenges. The author utilizes questionnaires that involve top managers in the health sector. The private and public health organizations provide the ministry of health the information they require concerning the challenges they face in their organizations.

The author also identified the reasons why health organizations within Saudi Arabia cling to the old management methods. The results were due to fear of change, lack of proper strategic planning, and inability to change. The development of the management framework would lead to the success of the health sector in Saudi Arabia. This is the primary focus of the strategic planning process since it involves actions and solutions that offer a remedy to the challenges that reduce the health sector (Alomran, 2019). The author identifies the need for management changes since there is a necessity for changes in Saudi Arabia's society since it is a developing country. The changes in society have a significant impact on the health sector since there are challenges introduced by society's changes and demands from the health sector. The author also identifies the government as a factor of the need for management since there are changes in operating policies and programs in the health sector. These changes require changes in the management method within health organizations.

Information technology (IT) is a challenge to the health sector since numerous operations in the current world use IT. Numerous equipment in the health sector utilizes IT to provide better results and offer better services than manual operations through automation of the processes and procedures. According to Alsharif et al. (2018), IT has a significant impact on the health sector and changes rapidly over a short period. This illustrates that technology is hard to predict how it will be in a few years, thus making it hard to develop solutions that can last long. This means that the ministry of health is expected to conduct researches as often as possible to ensure that the entire IT system is in place. The ministry of health also introduces IT equipment and systems to local-level health organizations to improve their productivity within the nation's health sector. The studies conducted may be late in terms of the current technology, thus making some policies and programs inapplicable in some cases. This leaves the ministry of health responsible for developing policies and programs that can be applied to last for a more extended period. Long term strategies are essential in ensuring that the health sector does not stay for a long time without a policy governing them, thus making it easy to develop the other policies that change rapidly over a short period.


In this study, the electronic search strategy is to be used in gathering information and data. This is because it allows collecting increased amount of information from any parts of the world without any geographical barriers. Moreover, the strategy is cost-effective and includes use of less time in deriving information for the study (McGowan et al., 2016). The platforms to be used for performing the electronic search are CINHAL, Google Scholar, MEDLINE, Cochrane Library and others. The keywords to be used includes “strategic management”, “strategic planning”, “strategic planning in Saudi Arabia” and others. The inclusion criteria for the articles chosen are that they are written in English, published on and after 2010, fully-accessible and academic in nature. This is because the researcher has only knowledge of English and gathering information from articles from the past 10 years would provide most recent information to be presented in the study.

Ethical Consideration

The research ethics acts as guidelines for the researchers in framing the study in an ethical way by following all the rules and regulations. In order to maintain ethical context in the study, all the information shared are to be referenced to the original authors. This is to avoid unethical presentation of data which leads to plagiarism. Moreover, assistance from the Ethical Review Committee at the University is to be taken to ensure that all the ethical aspects in the research are followed.

Results and Discussion

Strategic planning and management are developed and implemented at different levels that include local, national, and international levels. These levels conduct different researches since there different factors and challenges that affect each level. Therefore, it is essential for each level to have strategic planning and management methods that will help alleviate the effects of the challenges at each level. This helps each level reach its goals and targets of improving the health organizations within its level. Strategic planning can be conducted for the international level, then implemented at the other levels, and then enhanced using the solutions to the other levels' challenges.

Local Level

Saudi Arabia's health ministry is concerned with strategic planning and management improvement for local and national health organizations. The ministry researches on the challenges that the health organizations face at the current time to ensure the solutions provide comprehensive merit to the challenges faced. The Saudi Arabian Ministry of health's primary focus is on the pharmaceutical care that has been developed in the current decade. This strategic plan resulted from issues concerning the ability of the health organizations within Saudi Arabia to prevent diseases, patient care, and responsibility of the health care outcomes. These aspects of pharmaceutical care in the health sector have been challenged in the current world by numerous factors that have led to the inability to reach the standards of the required pharmaceutical care (Phelps et al., 2016). This department is considered to be in charge of detecting, preventing, and providing solutions to drug-related issues around health organizations. The environment changes rapidly within a society, thus requiring attention from the ministry of health to ensure that the issues do not become a challenge to the ability to meet the health sector's goals.

The local level of the health sector in Saudi Arabia can be solved through the pharmacists encouraging patients to comply with the instructions regarding their health. These compliances include drug-related issues, counseling, monitoring, and communication with physicians. This is a significant contribution to resolving the issues related to pharmaceuticals, including medication issues, to improve positive results from health organizations' operations. The first strategic plan is offering complete pharmaceutical care, including safety and best practices. This is achieved by developing and implementing policies that improve the performance standards of the department. Pharmacy laws and regulations are also revised and improved to ensure they are in place to improve the entire pharmaceutical care department's administration.

The local health organizations are provided with a solution for their pharmaceutical care department that involves designing indicators that offer information on changes that affect the department. The local organizations are also expected to implement national and international standards to help improve them to reach the expected standard by the ministry of health. Pharmacy practices are essential at the local health organizations since they offer services to many individuals, thus expected to be improved to be better (Alomi et al., 2015). The satisfaction of the patients is a significant objective for the health organizations, making it necessary for the organizations to do the strategic planning that will improve the ability to offer the highest quality services to achieve the expected customer satisfaction level.

National Level

The ministry of health offers strategic planning and management methods for the health organizations around the Saudi Arabia region. This makes it necessary for the ministry to work closely with both public and private health organizations to acquire information on the challenges being faced by the health organizations. These challenges then offer insights on how to develop solutions to the issues to improve the health sector's productivity and improve the ability to offer the services expected from them. In conjunction with the General Administration of Pharmaceutical Care at the Ministry of Health (GAPC-MOH), the ministry of health in Saudi Arabia was founded to develop strategic planning and improve management in the health sector. The administrative organization explores different issues such as management and improves them to better standards to ensure hospitals in the nation reach the other nations' level. This organization also has the objective of improving the pharmaceutical department in the nation's health sector. This illustrates that the organization's strategies after scrutinizing the current challenges that affect the health sector are implemented in all health organizations in the nation. This ensures some regulations and policies govern operations in the health organizations within the nation.

The ministry of health and the GAPC-MOH have conducted numerous studies on the challenges that affect the health organizations within Saudi Arabia. This helps them develop solutions that improve the capabilities of health organizations. This also improves the health sector's level at the international level by improving the health organizations in the nation to reach the expected targets. The organization's primary concern is on the pharmaceutical care that is concerned with offering solutions related to medication and preventing diseases (Alharbi, 2018). The organization, with the help of the ministry of health, conducts its research on the factors that may lead to the inability to meet the department's targets in offering health care. The organization then delivers the solutions that will be implemented across the health organizations within the nation.

The organization's main project in strategic planning and management is developing a human resource for the health organizations and implementing it across all health organizations in the country. The initiative will be first updating the existing workforce standards by developing policies on the work each department is required to deliver. This helps improve the workforce able to reach the targets they are required to meet. The organization also focuses on creating jobs through the human resource department and reviewing the job titles within the health organizations. The functional staff must follow the policies and regulations developed by the ministry of health to ensure they perform their tasks within the required boundaries and with the highest quality. The organization also develops national administration programs for better operability of the health care setting around the nation. This illustrates that the organization and the ministry of health are responsible for the strategic planning and management of the national health sector and develops policies and regulations implemented by health organizations within the nation.

International Level

The international level includes strategic planning developed and implemented by health organizations around the world. This level includes large organizations, such as WHO, that are concerned with improving the entire health sector worldwide. These organizations are focused on developing solutions to problems faced by the majority of nations around the world. These organizations offer both financial and strategic support for health organizations in different countries. This means that these organizations' focus is not on a specific country or continent but to the entire world. The WHO is responsible for researching the issues that could cripple the health sector around the entire world. After finding solutions, they communicate them to the affected countries and offer solutions to them to implement them. They also help the affected nations with strategic planning and financial help that will enable them to develop the necessary changes that will help safeguard the health sector around these nations.

The WHO develops solutions for countries with low ability to predict the health sector's future through the provision of electronic technology. This is strategic planning that allows the countries around the world to analyze the sector's issues and provide the necessary solutions to the problems they find out to bring challenges to the sector. The international level offers training to the health organizations on how they can utilize technology to their advantage (Harrison & Association of University Programs in Health Administration, 2016). In this process, they can understand the main issues that can be solved before being an issue to the sector. The international level offers initiatives to the national levels by delivering training on the usage of the electronic prescription or Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE), hardware and software used in the health departments, and how to use electronic documentation. These features introduced help the health organizations around the world to have the ability to improve health organizations.

Through the WHO, the International level introduces the pharmacoeconomics and health economics that are focused on tracking the efficiency of departments in utilizing funds. This is done through developing a productivity measurement that will ensure funds are regulated effectively across the departments (Byrne et al., 2019). Strategic planning at the international level involves developing a system that measures the cost of drug therapy around the world to develop a solution to the countries with a higher cost. This helps the middle-class countries to be able to improve on their ability to utilize their funds accurately and correctly.


This study offers insights into the pediatric profession since it is in the health sector, thus being involved in strategic planning and management. The pediatric department also has numerous challenges that change rapidly due to numerous factors that affect the other departments in the health sector. The study provides information on the challenges that are identified and studied before developing solutions that will be implemented to reduce the effects of the challenges. The policies developed in a specific department of the health sector can affect the others, making it necessary for all the departments to get information on the new policies and changes in the strategic planning and management to ensure they comply with those that affect them. This study is also essential in giving insights to the health organizations to conduct their research on the challenges they face and develop reports that they can share with the ministry of health. This will help ensure that the ministry of health knows the challenges that the local health organizations face.

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This study allows organizations to acquire necessary strategic planning and management methods to apply in their system. The policies and programs developed through the strategic planning study improve the condition and health organizations' ability at all levels. The policies and programs introduced by the ministry of health for implementation at the local level improve the departments' conditions in health organizations. This is through eliminating and defending issues that could arise in the future within these health organizations. Policies are developed by the ministry to ensure that operations in the health organizations are limited to those that improve the organization's abilities, such as reaching their targets and preventing future issues. The departments in a health organization have a common goal of delivering high-quality health care to the patients, preventing disease transfer, and develop new methods of delivering health care.


The study shows that strategic planning and management are essential for the health sector since it involves developing changes that improve the sector. These changes are derived from researching the current issues that affect the sector and develop solutions to them. The study also finds out that the ministry of health analyzes the future challenges that the sector could face and develops policies, programs, and initiatives focused on minimizing the effects of the future challenges on the sector. The ministry of health in Saudi Arabia researches the general health sector operations to ensure that the solutions developed are not focused on a single department in the health organizations. The ministry of health also acquires solutions and recommendations from the WHO and other international organizations on policies and programs they could implement to improve the nation's entire health sector. It can also be concluded that technology, IT, will have further advances in the future leading to the ministry of health being concerned with the next changes. These changes will affect the nation’s health sector, thus making it a necessity for the ministry of health developing policies that can be used for a long time even with the numerous changes. This helps the ministry have enough time to develop the short term changes that have been introduced by the changes.


The ministry of health is recommended to improve its research on current issues and future challenges. This can be achieved by improving the relationship with the nation and international private and public health organizations. This will help improve the amount of information that the ministry will get, thus improving the ability to develop the correct solutions for the health organizations. The changes should contain future analysis since the future should also be protected to ensure challenges that will be met later can be handled before they weaken the health sector in the country. The ministry of health should be concerned with the wellbeing of the health sector; thus, they should be involved in every change that is detected to ensure they are handled correctly.

The ministry of health is recommended to improve its budget to educate and fund the local level of health organizations. This will help improve their ability to research the challenges they have and develop solutions. The ministry should also be focused more at local health organizations than the national level since many citizens are treated at the local level, thus making the national level for exceptional cases requiring higher knowledge and skills. The local level should also be promoted with training centers and research centers to study the challenges and factors that affect the health sector within the local level. This helps acquire a large amount of information for the ministry of health to analyze the main issues and challenges. This will help improve the accuracy of the solutions that they provide local and national levels to implement.

The ministry of health is recommended to develop a group within its infrastructure that will be concerned with the short term changes that affect the health sector. This will help the ministry be at the advantage side when these challenges become hard for the health care to handle. This is because the group will have researched the challenge and come up with a solution before the challenge becomes worse on the national health sector. The ministry can also acquire data from the WHO through their website where predicted challenges can be tested in the nation to find out if the nation is ready for the challenge and how to mitigate the challenge’s effects on the health sector. Saudi Arabia should also keep a close relationship with other countries and the WHO to ensure that they provide help when the country faces challenges that are out of control for the ministry of health in the nation.

Concerns from the research

The study identified different issues that the Saudi Arabia health sector faces after analyzing the publications from different health organizations. The solutions are also identified, and the policies identified will help improve the country's health sector to reach international standards. The primary concern is in the implementation of international policies and solutions in local health organizations. This is due to financial constraints in the local area, thus leaving the local hospitals having local health organizations with lower standards. The ministry of health is mostly concerned with the hospitals' overall ability within the country in reaching the expected target and being standard with the international ones. This leads to the ministry of health being more concerned with the national health organization than the local ones. This leads to the local health organizations being left behind in the changes since numerous systems are introduced in the health sector to improve them. These systems are costly and are mostly implemented at the national level, thus leaving the local level less involved.

Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest was faced in the study.

Funding Source

Personal funding is used in developing the study.


Alharbi, M. A. (2018). The Status Quo of Health Information Technology and Health Information Management Efficiency in Saudi Arabia: A Narrative Review. International Journal of Health Research and Innovation, 6(1), 11-23.

Alomi, Y. A., S. J. Alghamdi, and R. A. Alattyh. "Strategic plan of general administration of pharmaceutical care at ministry of health in Saudi Arabia 2012–2022." J Pharm Pharm Scien 1.13 (2015): 1-8.

Alomran, M. (2019). Implementation of strategic management practices in healthcare sector in Saudi Arabia. Int J Bus Adm Stud, 5(3), 131-144.

Alsharif, S., Benslimane, N., Khalifa, M., & Price, C. (2018, January). Healthcare IT Strategic Alignment: Challenges and Recommendations. In ICIMTH (pp. 207-210).

Byrne, N., Cole, D. C., Woods, N., Kulasegaram, K., Martimianakis, M. A., Richardson, L., & Whitehead, C. R. (2019). Strategic Planning in Health Professions Education: Scholarship or Management?. Academic Medicine, 94(10), 1455-1460.

Ginter, P. M., Duncan, W. J., & Swayne, L. E. (2018). The strategic management of health care organizations. John Wiley & Sons.

Harrison, J. P., & Association of University Programs in Health Administration. (2016). Essentials of strategic planning in healthcare (Vol. 1). Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.

McGowan, J., Sampson, M., Salzwedel, D. M., Cogo, E., Foerster, V., & Lefebvre, C. (2016). PRESS peer review of electronic search strategies: 2015 guideline statement. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 75, 40-46.

Phelps, C., Madhavan, G., Rappuoli, R., Levin, S., Shortliffe, E., & Colwell, R. (2016). Strategic planning in population health and public health practice: a call to action for higher education. The Milbank Quarterly, 94(1), 109-125.

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