Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman, Department of Health (DoH): Interview

Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Hamed, Chairman, Department of Health (DoH)

Interview: Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Hamed

In what ways are public-private partnerships (PPPs) and overall private investment in Abu Dhabi’s health care sector being promoted?

SHEIKH ABDULLA BIN MOHAMMED AL HAMED: Abu Dhabi has worked to ensure all the necessary infrastructure and facilities are in place to facilitate international investment, within the framework of the UAE’s PPP model. This model is aimed at implementing a sustainable, competitive economy that is based on knowledge, expertise and diversity. Such investments will serve the public interest by integrating efforts, funds, expertise and technologies between government entities and private partners alike.

Through its Capacity Master Plan (CMP), DoH strives to spur investment opportunities for the continued development and expansion of local health care capacity and services, meeting the growing demand for health care services in Abu Dhabi. The CMP provides a comprehensive analysis of current and future health care capacity and service provision, as there is increasing demand across the health care system, identifying key investment opportunities.

DoH has put in place optimal equity financing models and has explored avenues to provide the private sector with sustainable funding through low-interest, longterm loans, fees, equity or deferred shares, in addition to facilitating financial support for small and medium-sized enterprises in the health care segment. This is set to encourage local and international health care facilities to expand their coverage across the emirate and entice potential investors who wish to enter the local health care market. As of 2018 the private sector accounted for 2974 health care facilities in Abu Dhabi.

What strategies will DoH implement to expand on Abu Dhabi’s drive for health care quality?

SHEIKH ABDULLA: Expanding on Abu Dhabi’s drive for health care quality, DoH recently rolled out a robust and comprehensive index programme, the Abu Dhabi Healthcare Quality Index, also known as Jawda, designed to assess the quality performance of health care providers in Abu Dhabi based on a set of quality outcome indicators under four main areas: safety, effectiveness of care, timeliness of service delivery and patient-centric delivery of care. The programme is based on international best practices and promotes continuous improvements, at both the individual level of providers and on the system as a whole.

Reducing the variation of quality within the local health care sector and improving quality in line with international standards will position Abu Dhabi as a centre for medical treatments. We are becoming pioneers in the health technology industry, enabling the kind of innovation that attracts the latest therapeutics, such as stem cell therapy and genomics.

How can new technologies be harnessed to improve delivery of care and patient satisfaction?

SHEIKH ABDULLA: DoH recently held a retreat entitled The Future of Healthcare 2019, which centred around how to future-proof the emirate’s health care strategy and how to anticipate the opportunities, challenges and needs of the sector. The event coincided with the announcement of the UAE’s 50-year development plan, which aims to build a knowledge economy based on innovation, creativity and modern science.

DoH also launched an innovative artificial intelligence lab dedicated to developing health care solutions through emerging technologies, like blockchain, genomics, predictive analytics and the internet of medical things. The lab is focused on four key strategic pillars: wellness and prevention; chronic disease management; clinical care; and regulatory management.

Additionally, Malaffi, the region’s first unified health information exchange platform, will securely connect all public and private health care providers in Abu Dhabi. Malaffi will create and provide unified access to patient records, deliver better quality of health care and enhance patient safety and overall health outcomes.

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