Professor Maha Barakat, Director-General, Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD): Interview

Professor Maha Barakat, Director-General, Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD)

Interview: Maha Barakat

In what ways is the Capacity Master Plan (CMP) improving the investor experience?

MAHA BARAKAT: HAAD is taking a number of steps to ensure it improves the investor experience to incentivise investment and ensure that it is contributing to the growth of the sector. This includes providing a complete analysis, as well as defining baseline and measurement systems to assist in identifying capacity gaps. We have developed a methodology and a new, more comprehensive CMP, which provides detailed, supply-side modelling at district, centralised and regional service levels, and provides a detailed interactive electronic mapping system at the facility level. From the CMP, we are then able to define policy for areas suffering from shortages, link the provision of land for investment with the needs outlined and target the licensing needs of professionals.

Releasing the new CMP is a big step towards more optimal management and regulation in the sector. It is designed to help Abu Dhabi respond to its current and future health care demands, establish a health care planning culture, and introduce guiding principles and specific plans for health care capacity and provision. The CMP identifies and prioritises issues, and provides the solutions and implementation plans for the guidance of investors and health care developers. The system is designed to support the overall investor experience in all areas of the health sector from primary to specialised care.

In what specific fields are you continuing to identify and address capacity shortages?

BARAKAT: The CMP identifies specialty shortages; for example, there are major, emirate-wide shortcomings in the supply of primary health care services. In emergency care, the CMP shows we are adequately supplied for urgent care until 2035; however, there is a major shortfall in complex emergency care and trauma care. Specialist outpatient care is generally well covered, but there are significant gaps in some services, such as obstetrics and orthopaedics. In acute overnight care, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain are on target to have a sufficient supply of beds without the need for any more until 2025. There is a need for investment in acute overnight care for certain specialties in all regions. There is also a need for a dedicated specialist children’s hospital. In acute same-day care there is a general shortfall in Al Ain and Al Dhafra, and an emirate-wide shortfall for certain specialties, such as orthopaedics, cardiology, neurology, rheumatology and respiratory medicine.

As we continue our efforts to work closely with the right investors, we are on the way to significantly filling these gaps in the near future, as well as to ensuring the delivery of quality health care to all patients across the emirate.

How do you see quality metrics for hospital performance driving improvement in health care?

BARAKAT: The introduction of the Abu Dhabi quality index is the first of its kind in the region in terms of its comprehensiveness in measuring different domains and in providing high-quality care. The programme has been running since 2014, and continues to expand and evolve while improving care. It currently measures over 100 indicators of hospital performance across four domains: care effectiveness, patient safety, patient experience and timeliness of care. HAAD introduced the index and continues to prioritise it with the strong belief that the focus should always be on promoting the improvement of health care.

Our vision is that the index will continue to evolve in terms of its impact on health care quality, and its links to population health management e-health systems and payment. We are already at an advanced stage of designing a system that will reward high-quality healthcare providers and penalise those that fall below the expected standard. Once this is fully implemented, we will be among the first in the world to have done so.

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The Report: Abu Dhabi 2017

Health chapter from The Report: Abu Dhabi 2017

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