TRANSFORMING HEALTHCARE

Saudi Arabia 2016 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Dr. Haitham Mohammed Alfalah, CEO of King Saud Medical City (KSMC), on increasing revenue, retaining staff, and enhancing patient experience.

 Dr. Haitham Mohammed Alfalah
BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Haitham Mohammed Alfalah is currently the CEO of the King Saud Medical City (KSMC). He has initiated a number of improvement projects, highlighted by the development of the KSMC five-year Strategic Plan. Dr. Alfalah has extensive experience in hospital operations, from when he first served as Medical Director of the General Hospital to serving as Chief Medical Officer responsible for the overall management of the medical affairs operations. With his Harvard Business School background, Dr. Alfalah has also established the Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery program in the Ministry of Health. He has published journals and books on obesity and is an active member of different international endocrine and metabolic associations.

The ministry is applying the Cooperative Health Insurance System in all its medical facilities. How will this measure contribute to the development of the sector and KSMC?

One of the initiatives of the Ministry of Health (MoH) is the provision of healthcare at all levels, which ensures that all people in the Kingdom are provided with excellent healthcare. This measure will stratify the relationship between patient, healthcare provider, and service funding. This will put all healthcare providers in real competition by improving the way the service is provided and enhancing the patient experience. At KSMC, we believe that it is a good opportunity for us to serve more patients and to contribute to the wellbeing of the community. We have started on the ground with the expansion of our small health economic office to engage real agreements with insurance companies and to modify our policy to accommodate the change.

A shortage of skilled professionals and an exodus of staff to better-paid private sector jobs is a major issue. What can be done to address this?

The shortage of skilled healthcare professionals is a global issue, but is more profound here since we are expanding our health services. Competition is stiff between government and private institutions in the international market, amongst the GCC countries, and even inside the Kingdom. The increased movement of healthcare staff creates a struggle for the facility and the patients. We are working hard and training our own people to build the internal capability to cover part of the gap. Over this year, we have sent more than 350 employees for further training abroad. We also provide grant opportunities for our staff in developing their research projects. We also packaged our salaries to attract high-caliber professionals and provide professional career development for them as part of our retention plan

Revenue is expected to reach SAR500 million by the end of 2016, up from SAR30 million in 2009. What have been the main drivers of this growth?

The MoH is the largest provider of healthcare services and has a huge number of medical facilities and it has a number of facilities that are underutilized. How can we generate revenue? We need a new mindset of achieving growth in assets and increasing income. With key people that can invest and generate more revenue from the core competency of the MoH; the medical services or utilizing the facility where the MoH owns multimillion-dollar prime leases of land in the Kingdom. It is also important to provide paid services to other facilities (government and non-government), like monetary consultation or training

What are your expectations and goals for 2016 for KSMC?

Since the inception of our strategic plan early this year, we have taken steps to implement our imperatives and to realize KSMC's vision and mission. This year is an exciting journey for KSMC. First, we are looking at having improved our patient's experience where measures are in place to validate their journey from their first encounter with our services to their discharge until our patients' achieve their desired health. We will expand our services to meet the community's needs. We are also starting to work on the transformation of KSMC to a corporate model as a non-profit organization aligned with the Vision 2030. We are continuously working in parallel with MoH strategy to position our role as a trauma center and improve our center of excellence in all our services. With regard to human resources, we are putting in extensive efforts to close the gap of skilled staff. Another exciting project we are looking forward to completing in 2016 is our modern maternity and pediatric hospital, with a 500-bed capacity that will bring added value to the people of Riyadh.