MASTER OF HEALTH

Abu Dhabi 2017 | HEALTH | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), on enhancing the sector, promoting health tourism, and the Capacity Master Plan.

Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili
BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili spent the first decade of his professional career in the Special Department of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. He occupied several prestigious posts in the Department ranging from Financial Auditor to Director General, and Assistant Under Secretary. In 2005, he was appointed Secretary General of the UAE University, and in 2007 he became a member of the Federal National Council, the Khalifa University Board of Trustees, the Sorbonne Paris-Abu Dhabi University Administrative Team, and the Oxford University Advisory Board.

What have been the major changes in Abu Dhabi's healthcare sector promoted by HAAD?

HAAD works to fulfill its vision for a healthier Abu Dhabi by adopting a two-pronged approach that focuses on both prevention and treatment. Over the past few years, HAAD set out to transform the sector through 58 different initiatives to cover seven strategic priorities it outlined for a better healthcare system and a healthier community. These initiatives include providing a care continuum to reduce capacity gaps in healthcare services and minimize reliance on international patient care; improving the quality of healthcare through its routine quality standards and monitoring of the healthcare system—we accomplished a number of milestones in 2016 via our flagship quality program the Abu Dhabi Quality Index Program (JAWDA), attracting and retaining healthcare professionals with a special focus on increasing the number of Emiratis in its overall workforce; preparedness for emergency during emergencies and disease outbreaks; wellness and prevention of disease to focus on the Weqaya program, injury prevention, mother and child care, occupational health, combating and preventing communicable disease, updating vaccine programs, reducing hereditary illnesses, improving oral health, and combating obesity in children and much more; ensuring cost-effectiveness to sustain healthcare spending, optimizing spending on medical products, and a system to assess health insurance premiums; and a network of medical laboratories to achieve savings; and e-health, which entails the creation of a health information platform to enable the exchange of data among providers.

What are the main targets of your Capacity Master Plan regarding technological introductions in the healthcare sector and how will the plan channel investments into the sector?

Over the years, HAAD has consistently studied the needs of the healthcare sector for capacity planning, including demand within remote areas, in order to ensure optimal investment to meet current and future needs, and secure a return on investment. The statistics reflect the need for medical services and identifies gaps in healthcare offerings so as to ensure investors have the necessary information to make the best decisions. According to health statistics in 2014, there are gaps in beds of intensive care, orthopedic surgery, gynecology, cardiology, urology, and psychiatry. To fill these gaps, HAAD works closely with investors, providing them with all the necessary information, including the medical needs and requirements of the health sector to help them make the right decision. With these focuses in mind, HAAD guides and incentivizes investment in the sector through the provision of a complete analysis and defining baseline and measurement systems to assist in identifying capacity gaps, developing a capacity planning methodology, and a more comprehensive Capacity Master Plan to provide a detailed supply-side modelling at the district, centralized, and regional service level.

What are the prospects for the Emirate to become the region's medical tourism hub?

HAAD is proud to see where the healthcare sector in the Emirate stands today. We are indeed proud of world-class providers joining the local healthcare scene such as the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi to help increase the capacity of the sector. However, our confidence in the sector's performance is not just based on the increase in healthcare providers. Over the past year alone, we witnessed a series of impressive successes ranging from the introduction of effective programs and initiatives, to the development of various areas in the healthcare sector, with an emphasis on improving patient safety and quality. For example, we saw the Abu Dhabi Quality Index Program (JAWDA) positioning us in an increasingly distinguished position compared to other healthcare systems in the region. Building on our success, we were able to achieve another milestone by hosting the fourth Annual Middle East Patient Safety & Quality Congress in Abu Dhabi. The congress saw us bring together industry leaders to discuss the most pertinent issues in healthcare, such as effective regulatory engagement, innovation, quality, technology integration, and patient empowerment. We celebrated Abu Dhabi's pioneering healthcare efforts, showcased our quality model to our peers, and exchanged valuable knowledge to further elevate healthcare in the region.