As insurance becomes mandatory in Dubai and medical tourism increases, hospitals are looking forward to healthy days ahead.

Mohaymen M. Abdelghany

CEO, Al Zahra Hospital

We have experienced considerable growth since beginning in 2013. In 2017, we were among the top three hospitals in Dubai in terms of patient activities. This remarkable achievement illustrates the diversification strategy we actively pursue. Fundamental to this diversification strategy is the development of excellence centers in different specializations. Our fully fledged program for obesity includes surgical and medical bariatric services. In Dubai, some services are notably overserved while others remain underserved. In particular, more beds need to be added for adults and pediatrics who require critical care services. Long-term care, palliative care, and rehab services are also underserved. These challenges are exacerbated by labor challenges such as the acquisition, onboarding, and retention of overseas talents. To counter this, Al Zahra has implemented a system that efficiently manages, supports, and engages with our employees. This has been instrumental in reducing our staff turnover to below 3%. Adopting a healthy people management system ensures we have the healthcare professionals we need to meet the growth of key services.

Elhadi Hassan

Managing Director & CFO, Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai

We have seen over 200,000 patients, a significant achievement for a specialized hospital. Despite the evolving regulations in the healthcare sector and Middle East markets, we have retained our high quality standards, governed by our parent hospital in the UK. We have also built an excellent reputation across the UAE. We provide the full spectrum of eye care services, from basic screenings to complex eye surgeries through a team of visiting and permanent doctors. We extended our reach beyond our base and successfully establish strategic alliances. In addition, our net profits have grown exponentially. We have seen a substantial growth in medical tourism to our hospital and the Dubai market; 20-30% of our market share includes medical tourists, and we expect this to grow. On the ground, acquisitions will continue; large hospitals with financial backing will continue to acquire smaller organizations. But the future sustainability of healthcare players revolves around quality. The new rating system announced by regulators will have a strong focus on quality, safety, patient experience, care excellence, and financial outcomes.

Alisha Moopen

Deputy Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare

The UAE was our core business for almost 15 years, and our experience gave us the courage to spread our wings. Now 32 years on, we have 2,000 doctors and almost 20,000 staff. We take the best of the world's expertise and provide local patients access to these experts. Within the GCC, we must find a balance in terms of the payment model. Before, the patient went to the provider in search of service and paid the provider. Now, it is moving toward being fully insurance led. Whilst that is a huge advantage for the population, it creates imbalances across the broader ecosystem. Insurance companies are interested in the best care at the lowest cost, while the providers are interested in providing the best care for the patient. To ensure the patients' best interests, guidelines must be set for each stakeholder. Dubai's vision is oriented toward creating this equilibrium, and we can see this in its move toward outcome-based payments for providers. This will ensure that everyone is incentivized according to the correct model.

Reem Osman

CEO, Saudi German Hospitals (SGH)

Our hospitals in Dubai have significantly contributed in building SGH brand name in general, regionally, and globally. Our brand name benefits from increased trust here in Dubai, and we maintain a good position here in the healthcare market in the UAE and Dubai in general. Since the beginning, our hospital has been a tertiary level hospital, providing all medical services under one umbrella. We are the only hospital providing all specialties and sub-specialties medical care including dialysis, nephrology, urology, transplants, open heart surgery, nuclear medicine, oncology, cancer treatment, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Mandatory insurance was announced in Dubai two years ago, which forced us to look at who will cover our patients. At that time, 80% were insured and 20% were uninsured. Our patients were already part of the working population and were often insured under their work contracts, so it did not affect us significantly. So from the beginning, the uncovered percentage was low. Even though it was mandated, the practice of having insurance was already present.

Riaz Khan

CEO, International Modern Hospital

We are part of Sunrise Healthcare Group. We have done well over the past 15 years and are recognized as a center of excellence for keyhole surgery. We feature a broad range of specialties, and we have treated over 200,000 patients. Until the era of mandatory health insurance, patients in Dubai were either going home or to other countries for cheaper treatment. Now that most are covered by insurance, demand for healthcare services has increased. This was a planned process, as the government was serious and proactive in introducing the system. The healthcare market and providers have evolved in anticipation. Dubai also aims to become a healthcare destination for the GCC and MENA region, with the health authority making tremendous efforts to put Dubai at the center of the region's healthcare map by providing an excellent regulatory environment that is forward looking and technologically advanced. However, Dubai is going through a period of supply-demand mismatch. In 2019-2020, smaller players might merge with larger ones or be acquired. Then, the market will stabilize.

Abdul Razaq Ameri

Director, Al Kuwait Hospital Dubai

In 1973, Al Kuwait Hospital was handed over to the government to be under the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP). The ministry now has just two hospitals located in Dubai under the federal government: Al Kuwait and Al Amal Hospital, as well as one preventative medicine center. Previously, the majority of healthcare providers in all Emirates were under MOHAP, except for Dubai because it developed its own regulatory environment through Dubai Health Authority. Then, in 2001, Abu Dhabi followed suit with its own health authority. Thus, MOHAP primarily covers the other Emirates, with a few exceptions. We manage our staff as a family and operate with a commitment to transparency. Our doors are always open, and we make them feel part of something bigger. We rotate our staff as needed within the ministry. The goal is to put people where they are needed. Notably, women play an important role in the healthcare system as they make up 90% of the sector. They are well-trained and valued members of our healthcare


Osman El Bakry

Group CMO & Deputy CEO, HMS Group - Al Garhoud Private Hospital

To improve patient satisfaction and attract overseas patients, we added specialized doctors, largely from the US, as well as from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. We have the latest medical equipment to support doctors and stay competitive with international standards and quality. Most of our patients are Emiratis and local residents. We focus on maternity healthcare services, as those numbers are increasing. However, we also have patients from the GCC, the US, Europe, Asia, and Africa. We cover the government sector when it is overburdened with patients or when patients require the specialized services we provide. Another way we attract high-profile doctors is through partnerships, like the FIFA 2022 World Cup. We are developing a medical center in the Al Shabab Club in Dubai. We draw footballers because we have 10 orthopedic and sport medicine consultants with a range of sub-specialties and high-quality medical equipment for rehabilitation. We built a new 50,000-sqm rehab center specifically for the World Cup. We will start another FIFA center, DXBONE, in Dubai Design City.

Jelena Bin Drai

Managing Director, Al Das Medical Clinic

For the first six years, we were the only clinic located in Palm Jumeirah. Before, people who needed care would have to travel 20 minutes to the nearest clinic. This need for a one-stop shop on the Palm was the main reason we entered the healthcare sector. Because we are working with patients and doctors, it took us more time to build. It was built more on word of mouth than anything else. It was challenging in the beginning because when opening a clinic, doctors will not come if there are no patients. At the same time, the most talented doctors, nurses, and receptionists already had positions. We started with general practitioners, pediatricians, and gynecologists, first fulfilling the need for family clinic services. We grew organically into other departments and now have 16 doctors who speak around 18 different languages, allowing us to offer more services and serve many groups within the whole Dubai community. We are now extremely well known as an excellent healthcare provider.