Dubai, UAE: The major challenge for the Middle East is how to finance our healthcare systems in the future. As government budgets for healthcare continue to rise, it is important for both public and private sector stakeholders to lobby for alternate ways of financing the healthcare system to create a sustainable healthcare economy.
“It is not as simple as developing a national insurance scheme,” says Dr Mussaad Al-Razouki, CEO at Kleos Healthcare Corporation, a Kuwaiti WLL that provides excellence in strategic planning and management for Middle East healthcare entities. “Insurance is only one, and a far from complete solution to diversifying the current petrodirham, dinar and riyal heavy spending on healthcare.”
Dr Al-Razouki will be speaking at the Leaders in Healthcare conference on Wed 15 June 2011 at the Middle East's foremost hospital build and construction event, Hospital Build Middle East Exhibition & Congress, which is currently taking place at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
According to Dr Al-Razouki, “The healthcare industry in the Middle East is currently underserved from both a demand and supply point of view. When talking about demand, we notice that Middle East populations are still growing aggressively at 3 to 5% CAGRs while the populations of the rest of the developed world (US and Europe primarily) are either stable or imploding. Furthermore, the populations of the Middle East are unfortunately also predisposed to chronic diseases which are expensive to maintain.
“The other side of the equation is the supply side; the healthcare infrastructure in the majority of Middle East countries is underdeveloped. Whereas the US and most OECD countries enjoy bed per population ratios of around four bed per thousand (population), most Middle East countries barely have bed/1000 ratios of above two. Using this rate as a proxy for the overall healthcare system, the Middle East can certainly afford to double its current healthcare infrastructure. However, intelligent investors will realise that healthcare opportunities exist beyond just building new hospitals and instead exist in more niche areas of specialised medicine that result in improving the quality of healthcare services in the region.”
When asked what hospitals of the future will look like, Dr Al-Razouki believes that in the short-to- medium term, hospitals will need to spend increasing amounts of funds on developing robust Health IT systems including electronic health records, electronic prescriptions and mobile health solutions that will keep administrative costs down, reduce the chances of medical errors and encourage preventative methods of medicine respectively.
In the long term, he believes that the concept of hospitals as we have known them for the past few decades will most likely evolve into more focused specialty care centers that excel within a particular modality of care.
Kleos Healthcare is currently working with a local Middle Eastern government that spends between US$200,000 to $250,000 per patient for the 30,000 plus patients it sends abroad annually. “Even though the treatment of most of the aforementioned patient cases does not exists in that particular country, it is certainly not sustainable for the Foreign and Health Ministries of most Middle Eastern governments to handle their overseas healthcare on an FFS or fee for service basis,” says Dr Al-Razouk.
“At Kleos we like to remind our investors that ‘healthcare does not equal hospital', but that ‘healthcare investment should equal investment in quality healthcare',” he adds.
Earlier today at Hospital Build Middle East, Kleos Healthcare held an exclusive presentation on the healthcare landscape of Kuwait including information on current projects underway in Kuwait, future projects and how companies can get invited to tender on forthcoming healthcare projects.
The Hospital Build Middle East Exhibition & Congress will continue on 15 June 2011, from 10.00 am to 17.00 pm at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Center. Trade visitors have unlimited access to the exhibition, and may register their participation any time during the event.
To hear more from Dr Al-Razouki, please call +971 4 336 7334 or visit www.hospitalbuild-me.com to register for Leaders in Healthcare conference at Hospital Build.