DR. CHRIS CANNING
I think we all agree that in terms of the way that the patient, the purchaser, and the provider work together, the balance in this country is not right. It’s not right because there is no gatekeeper that controls how many times a citizen of the UAE can access health care. It can be accessed as many times as a person chooses. A patient can go to 12 different doctors for the same condition on the same day, and the Thiqa Program will pay the invoices for each consultation. There is no incentive for the patient to stop getting health care. In certain situations pre-authorization is required, but anything under AED1,000 will be automatically covered. Patients here believe that they are only doing right by themselves in getting third and fourth opinions. This practice is not seen as being distrustful of any of the individual doctors, whereas in the UK people are rather diffident about asking for a second opinion. It erodes motivation for doctors, and in the long run, I firmly believe that it does the patient more harm than good.
The market here is unique purely because of demographics. Some sources put the average age at around 30-32. Less than 1% of the population is over the age of 60. Dubai has one of the highest migrant populations in the world—80% of the population is expatriates. Considering these factors, healthcare needs to be specially tailored, which means focusing on a lot of young families through pediatrics and maternity specializations. The other specific factor here is that there are a lot of conditions related to lifestyle, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, even in young people, and the corresponding treatments need to be accommodated within the healthcare system. Rashid Hospital also has one of the most fantastic trauma departments in the world, and this is crucial due to the amount of road accidents that occur here. We came here knowing there was going to be a lot of competition within Dubai Healthcare City. We felt confident that what we offer is unique, and we know we operate hospitals to the highest standards.
DR. MOHAYMEN M. ABDELGHANY
The services that we provide here are of a general and acute care hospital, where we have all specialties under one roof. You can call it a one-stop shop for healthcare services. We are also adding some new services because our target is to be a medical hub in the region. In that vein, in the second phase of the project we are developing six center of excellence with 50 beds each, so that we can foster different specialty centers. These specialty centers have been designed purely in partnership with the German universities. So, before people go to Europe, they will think twice, and consider coming to our hospitals for treatment instead. To further boost this idea, we have planned for a medical tower accommodating 200 clinics for the community-based doctors. Furthermore, this project will also include a post-graduate training center attached to these hospitals. This will help to identify and attract the best healthcare professionals from around the globe. In terms of our relationships with vendors and suppliers, we have developed very long-term relationships.
There is definitely strong demand in the market, and that is what is driving the success in the UAE and Dubai specifically. The health authorities are taking bold steps to open up the market to private sector players and increase competition and therefore quality. One example of this is Abu Dhabi’s introduction of mandatory employer-funded healthcare for all nationals and residents of the Emirate. This has opened up a great deal of choice for patients and enabled providers to compete in terms of quality. It has been a real success story so far. We have 1,300 registered patients, and that number is growing every week as more and more people find out about us and word spreads about the high-quality care we provide. Around 30% to 40% of the surgeries we have performed to date have been revision surgeries for people who have undergone procedures before either in the US or in Germany, Singapore, Thailand, or locally. Our physical therapy has been a hit, and we are very happy with the outcomes we have seen.
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