Progressing world-class healthcare in the Gulf states: what does the Hospital of the Future look like?

Deborah Kobewka

Progressing world-class healthcare in the Gulf states: what does the Hospital of the Future look like?

Deborah Kobewka

By Deborah Kobewka

Deborah Kobewka was appointed as Managing Director of Healthcare UK in March 2016. Deborah has over 30 years’ experience in healthcare, beginning her career in the pharmaceutical industry and most recently having run her own management consulting company, serving clients in healthcare business intelligence and informatics.

Deborah Kobewka, Managing Director of Healthcare UK, shares insights from the UK’s National Health Service, on how healthcare authorities and operators in the Gulf states can build, design, and operate the ‘Hospital of the Future’.

One thing we can be certain of is that healthcare is here to stay. Every person in the population will, at some point, make use of the healthcare system. As populations and life expectancies continue to grow so too do complex, long-term conditions and the pressure on healthcare systems to be able to respond appropriately and sustainably.

Detecting health issues before they require care is becoming a priority for healthcare systems around the world, with eyes turning towards technological innovation to help achieve that.  

In the Gulf states, the healthcare sector is experiencing rapid development. A readiness to forge partnerships with leading healthcare institutions around the world, along with a willingness to adopt new ideas and bring them to fruition, is paying dividends.  

The bold programmes of healthcare development underway in the region are facilitating and leveraging new partnerships with UK healthcare organisations and providers. After all, where better to come for support in developing a healthcare system than the UK’s National Health Service (NHS)? Since its inception in 1948, the NHS has ensured universal access to high-quality healthcare, based on clinical need and not ability to pay. 

It’s often said that necessity is the mother of invention. Through necessity, the UK has created and maintained the world’s best healthcare system, as recently ranked by the Commonwealth Fund. Over the 70-year history of the NHS, significant economic and population health challenges have necessitated incredible innovation in order to maintain free, universal, high-quality healthcare at the point of need.  

As an established global healthcare leader, the NHS continues its commitment to innovation today, providing for evolving,g healthcare needs as populations age, long-term conditions grow, the cost of care increases and the role of technology develops. The challenges faced today by the Gulf states – in developing a universal, sustainable healthcare system – are the same challenges the NHS has been using its decades of experience to address in the UK. For good reason, NHS expertise is in demand all over the world. 

So, what is the ‘Hospital of the Future’ and what does it mean for healthcare in the Gulf region? 

Put simply, the ‘Hospital of the Future’ is a framework for delivering a system of integrated care that is fit for the future. Harnessing the UK’s unrivalled experience in transforming healthcare from a ‘buildings-based’ system of hospitals, to a ‘person-centred’ system of care, the ‘Hospital of the Future’ uses intelligent design, pioneering technologies and advanced clinical services to improve outcomes, reduce costs and prioritise prevention. 

The ‘Hospital of the Future’ is a hub of innovation that can meet the evolving needs of its community. Using technology to push care beyond the four walls of one hospital, it connects multi-site systems to work as one, it connects people to their own care and enables integrated care to be delivered at a system level.  

It builds on the UK’s unrivalled experience in innovating to deliver integrated care, taking the very best components from the NHS that can be implemented at a system or individual supplier level. 

The ‘Hospital of the Future’, designed by Healthcare UK and underpinned by UK healthcare providers including the NHS, can bring to life the Gulf region’s aspirations to create not just a sustainable healthcare system but one that delivers a truly exceptional experience. 

For example, the UAE has created mandatory health insurance facilitating universal access to quality healthcare for its residents, with pockets of excellence in care already emerging. With the foundations now being laid, how can the UAE now develop its healthcare system to support the long-term ambitions of its transformative Vision 2021 programme, to strengthen its global reputation and develop an economy less dependent on oil?

The ‘Hospital of the Future’ offers a vision from which to deliver the core component of healthcare that all national systems can agree on – prevention and early detection and treatment of ill health. The Moorfields Eye Hospital centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are primary examples of this vision in action, where world-leading standards of treatment and care based on Moorfields London expertise are being used to transform eye health.

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