Wednesday, 21 October 2015

GCC countries well positioned to evolve an innovative model for healthcare delivery

Key findings of Aetna -commissioned RAND report recommend transformation of GCC healthcare systems to meet future demand

Dubai, London – October 21 2015:  An Aetna International-commissioned report produced by RAND Corporation* recommends Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries transform their healthcare systems, which over the last 50 years have been outpaced by rapid economic growth and epidemiological transition.  

Innovative and sustainable medical infrastructures need to be created based on Population Health Management (PHM) principles and sophisticated health information technology (IT) in order to address a large and expanding burden of chronic disease—especially diabetes—and disability.

“One of the key challenges facing GCC countries is orienting their healthcare systems towards prevention and treatment of chronic diseases which their populations experience at higher rates than nearly any other part of the world.  However, this region has the opportunity to create an innovative model for healthcare delivery that centres on the needs of citizens and, in the process, restore the leadership role of Arab medicine,” said Hisham Radwan, General Manager Middle East & Africa, Aetna International.

Titled ‘Population Health Management and the Second Golden Age of Arab Medicine: Promoting Health, Localizing Knowledge Industries, and Diversifying Economies in the GCC Countries’, the report explains that GCC countries’ future healthcare systems should follow two-design principles:
  • First, to cope with the relative shortage of health care professionals, GCC countries need to leverage highly skilled workers through sophisticated health IT and by shifting tasks to less-trained workers.
  • Second, the countries should adopt a PHM model, which unites the public health perspective of improving health at the population level with the medical care perspective of individual care delivery.

“The growth in chronic disease prevalence, which is on a path that could overwhelm GCC healthcare systems in its current form, could result in GCC countries having to face sicker populations, threatening not only civic contentment but also economic development,” the report states.

Thus, in recommending such transformation, the report identifies the unique opportunity for GCC countries to design and implement a healthcare system that meets the needs of the 21st century—one that is built on evidence and operated with industrial principles of process optimization and use of advanced IT.

The report further stated that taking the path of healthcare transformation can yield triple dividends for GCC countries: “Healthcare will help provide meaningful employment to highly educated citizens, diversify the GCC economies, and provide a model that incorporates Islamic principles as a source of emulation for other Islamic countries and the world.”

“While western countries’ healthcare transformation are being held back by legacy infrastructure and entrenched interests, GCC countries possess the infrastructure and resources that put them in a better position to adapt an innovative model for healthcare delivery, with a focus on better care, better health, and lower cost,”  concluded Hisham Radwan.