The Business Year

Dr. Ahmad Al Haje

CEO, The Health Medical Services

Dr. Gowri Sankar Bapanapalli

CEO and Internist,, Al Raha Hospital

Often more nimble, private firms are filling niche geographical gaps and maximizing preventative methods to minimize the dissemination of lifestyle diseases, among others.

What inspired you to enter the UAE market?

AHMAD AL HAJE Seeing multiple gaps in the existing healthcare market, we began as a healthcare consultancy 10 years ago, setting up businesses for more than 100 medical facilities, including clinics, medical centers, homecare, and pharmacies. We chose Al Ain as it has a developing healthcare market and the prospect of being a medical tourism destination. The population of Al Ain previously had to travel, either to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, or even abroad, to benefit from tertiary or supportive healthcare; however, the gap has been bridged, to a certain extent, due to an improvement in outreach and accessibility to care. After the initial few years, we also diversified into providing homecare services, having exponentially grown in the number of personnel providing quality service to our clients, and garnered a fair geographical distribution across the UAE. Over the years, with the help of feasibility studies and population surveys, we have addressed the special needs segment of chiropractic, occupational therapy, speech therapy, ambulance services and audiology by establishing a rehabilitation center. The US-based Accreditation Commission for Health Care vetting our quality of service to clients was also an important milestone. For the future, we are thinking of establishing medical centers with multinational healthcare personnel to enhance the communication channels between clients of different nationalities, resulting in effective healthcare delivery.

GOWRI SANKAR BAPANAPALLI 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 and cross 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 psychosocial 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.

What are some of the biggest gaps in the current market?

AAH The feasibility studies and surveys have helped us in understanding that the outreach of supportive services is an area that needs to be tapped. There is also a need for effective patient and family education. Healthcare personnel need to deliver a variety of services, engage constantly with clients and make them aware of their contribution toward the wellbeing, as prevention is always better than curing. This will require an active involvement and co-operation from all the stakeholders in the healthcare market and should be driven by the regulatory bodies in the UAE. Once these issues are solved, major areas of focus that hold a good deal of potential are rehabilitation centers and tele-medicine, another uncharted territory in the UAE.

GSB 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. We look at the patient’s information and evaluate their individual risk stratification of a particular disease. If they are at risk, we educate them with preventive measures before the disease can take hold. These technological advances are progressing rapidly.



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