Can you give us a history of the Al Hayat Medical Center?
In 2003, Al Hayat Medical Center was a private practice working out of a small villa. In 2008, we turned the practice into a polyclinic with three or four specialties. In 2010, we moved to our current building, which is a purpose-built medical center. We have since been increasing the number of our clinics; every two or three months, we add another specialty. Now, we have two branches with seven gynecology clinics, two pediatrics, two internal medicine, one cardiology, one neurology, one physical therapy unit, one dermatology, one ENT, one urology, and two dental clinics. We also have a laboratory, an X-ray department, and two pharmacies. We are considering becoming Al Hayat Hospital in the near future, because Qatar is booming and the country's infrastructure is impressive. We now have around 130 employees.
Where does Al Hayat Medical Center's proposed hospital project currently stand?
We are currently arranging finances for the project. However, we must wait on the government's decision about whether permanent residents can own land here. I have already applied, and we will see if we get that approval. The planning stage has already started, and we expect to start the project within the next year. Also, we aim to receive Joint Commission International accreditation (JCI) in the coming months. This will give us greater leverage over other medical centers in Qatar.
Do you expect other healthcare institutions in Qatar to seek accreditation?
The Ministry of Health requires hospitals to have accreditation, but not clinics. We are thinking ahead by doing this. Currently, there is only one laboratory and three hospitals that are accredited, and hopefully we will be next. Many other healthcare institutions will definitely follow suit.
How do you assess cooperation between the public and private healthcare systems in Qatar?
There is a great relationship between the public and private healthcare sectors. We look forward to the day when both sectors will be able to share information electronically, especially regarding medical laboratory test results, which we should be able to access. We always follow developments at Hamad Hospital and the Ministry of Health to ensure Al Hayat Medical Center's digital technology is compatible with the public sector's systems. We adjust our IT system and programming to fit theirs because we look forward to the day when we will share the same system. Obviously, this will require patient confidentiality agreements to be put in place, though we will definitely line up to do this. Information sharing will help patients' diagnoses and treatment and save them and the healthcare system money. There will be no need for us to repeat tests that have already been done under the public healthcare system.
What are the main targets for Al Hayat Medical Center over the next year?
We want to concentrate on quality. There are too many private medical centers opening in Qatar now; there is a boom. When we started, there were perhaps five or six medical centers, and now there are more than 200; however, only the clinics offering higher quality services will succeed. Because of the high competition, clinics offer many free treatments, though this is not good business. Good business is providing high-quality patient services, which is what people seek. We are an affluent country, and people seek quality over quantity; hence, our strategy is to provide quality care, using the best and most advanced equipment.