Jul. 23, 2018


Dr. Gowri Sankar Bapanapalli

UAE, Abu Dhabi

Dr. Gowri Sankar Bapanapalli

CEO and Internist, Al Raha Hospital

“Using AI to manage hospitals is another area in which the UAE is advancing.”

BIO

Dr. Gowri Sankar Bapanapalli is CEO and Internist of Al Raha Hospital.

What drove Abeer Group to enter the UAE market?

Abeer is establishing trust and goodwill with the people of the UAE by providing quality and affordable healthcare. The plan was to expand and achieve a globally trusted partnership through which we redefine healthcare innovations across borders. We already have a presence in most GCC countries and India and plan to expand into the Far East in the near future, starting mostly with Malaysia. As for the UAE, Emiratis still go abroad to Europe, India, and Thailand for medical care. Therefore, there are still important gaps, especially in intensive care, critical care, and certain sub-specialties such as neonatology, oncology, psychiatry, and psycho-social services. Others such as cardiothoracic surgery and surgical oncology also need to be improved. Considering the population growth in Abu Dhabi, establishing centers of excellence, possibly through partnerships, must be a priority, especially in maternity and childcare and oncology centers. This also applies to the other Emirates, where we are planning to expand in the near future.

In terms of preventative healthcare, what is the best way to approach the risk management of healthcare?

One of the most troublesome factors about healthcare is lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, high-blood pressure, and heart and kidney-related problems. Since prevention is better than curing, doctors should keep counseling patients on how to change their lifestyles if they have these types of diseases. We also do a lot of health check-ups, which are requested annually by some companies and have really helped preventative medicine efforts.

What role will technology play in the medical field?

There is a need to understand how technological gadgets can help us learn more about the patient even before the symptoms arrive. There is a lot of technological expansion in the UAE, and the government is very keen on creating an electronic environment. For example, Dubai recently announced that by 2020 the entire healthcare system will be paperless. Before long, other agencies and Emirates will follow. Using AI to manage hospitals is another area in which the UAE is advancing. What we do is get the patient's information and evaluate their individual risk stratification of a particular disease. If they are at risk, we give educate them with preventive measures before the actual disease starts. These technological advances are progressing rapidly.

How are you attracting talent, and how do you balance it with technology?

Healthcare is not an industry that can go totally man-less (as of now/within the near future), we need people such as nurses and doctors, but technology will make our lives easier and our work more productive. We believe in equal opportunities and Emiratization. We certainly appreciate the efforts of the government in training new UAE doctors, which is going to add to our pool of health care personnel. Having local doctors would also be a plus point since they understand the social and cultural aspects of the population apart from language.

What are your key priorities and how do they align with Vision 2021?

Vision 2021 is a great initiative. As a part of it, the government and healthcare sector have come up with a 10-point plan to improve the overall quality of the healthcare system and reduce lifestyle-related diseases, such as child obesity. It also talks about increasing the life expectancy in the UAE and achieve universal healthcare. In a nutshell, it is a great health initiative by the government that Abeer and Al Raha are completely aligned with.

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