Al Zahra Hospital
Al Zahra Private Hospital Dubai (AZHD) is at the forefront of medical advancement in the UAE as it works to integrate vital health services and provide all patients the care they need under one state-of-the-art roof.
The private healthcare operator, owned by Abu Dhabi-listed GMB, will also be a key partner in the Dubai government’s medical tourism initiative which it hopes will attract half a million visitors by 2020, the year of the World Expo.
Facilitating this growth and integration is a team of medical experts from around the world who are able to make use of the hospital’s continually upgrading technology and equipment to deliver the best treatment in the region.
Chief Executive Officer Dr Mohaymen Abdelghany also believes that a proactive collaboration between public and private sectors will help to lift Dubai to the global medical stage.
“Patients should be able to flow seamlessly across the different systems with someone in the background doing all the paperwork and services,” he said.
“This is starting to happen and we are working very closely with political authorities and other public hospitals to make this happen. Sometimes the private sector can move faster and we want to make this useful for the people of Dubai.”
All under one roof
Located on Sheikh Zayed Road in Al Barsha, Al Zahra Hospital is ideally located in the heart of Dubai between the emirate’s two international airports and is easily accessible by car. So far it has seen around a quarter of a billion dollars-worth of investment.
Its team of experts offers specialised services including Anaesthesia, Cardiology, Emergency, Endocrinology, Ear, Nose, Throat (E.N.T), Family Medicine, Gastroenterology and Endoscopy, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Intensive Care Unit, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Out-Patient Dietary Clinic, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedics, Pathology, Paediatrics and Neonatology, Physiotherapy, Pulmonology, Radiology, Urology and Andrology.
Dr Abdelghany said: “We try to approach our service provision in Dubai to match with the growing needs and demands within Dubai and the UAE, so we have integrated a lot of fragmented services under one roof. For example we have developed a strong women’s health service programme.”
This aims to provide a comprehensive medical service for women, covering areas from maternity and 24-hour midwifery provision to breast cancer screening.
“We are treating more and more patients and getting greater exposure every day,” the CEO added.
Platform to expand
With 120 of the hospital’s 187 beds still to be utilised, there is huge potential for AZHD to expand its services and benefit the lives of more people from Dubai and elsewhere.
For instance, a fourth delivery room is being added and all gastroenterology is now available at Al Zahra, with many other areas being invested including treatments for obesity across all ages.
“We have a very good infrastructure here with a state of the art building, non-medical and medical equipment, and staff who have helped us integrate a fragmented health sector, and we want to expand our services too as our hospital is not fully utilised yet,” Dr Abdelghany said. “The board are also very supportive and share our vision for expansion.”
Being based in Dubai gives AZHD a window of access to vendors and suppliers of the latest cutting-edge technology and medical equipment, many of which run regional bases nearby. As key players in the hospital’s supply chain, Dr Abdelghany views these relations as strategic partnerships in an ongoing evolution of healthcare technology.
He added: “Technology is the enabler of healthcare provision and we must make sure we buy the right equipment and update when needed. Things like electronic medical records, ERP and back office systems, evolve all the time.
“We are now completely updating our hospital information system, allowing more flexibility and mobility; there will be less potential for errors as there are more safeguards and this is certainly an investment rather than an expense.”
AZHD is investing around 10 million dirhams in upgrading IT, covering vital functions like ERP and HR systems.
Arguably the hospital’s most-prized asset is its team of 600 doctors, nurses, support and administration staff, a group set to reach 1,000 members in the coming year as services expand in areas like intensive care which requires large numbers of people to look after patients.
Many of the hospital’s doctors have experienced backgrounds from the United States and UK, a key pull factor for patients looking for treatment. A large number of nurses come from India and the Middle East, helping to make an extremely diverse workforce comprising 65 nationalities.
“Continuous training is key to our success in integrating services and we have continuous medical and continuous nursing education programmes ran in-house and externally,” Dr Abdelghany added.
“We also encourage our doctors and nurses to attend different workshops around the world, and some of our employees lead these sessions in the UAE.”
Each doctor is given the opportunity to travel and learn about the latest techniques and equipment thanks to AZHD’s investment, Dr Abdelghany stressing the need for them to remain at the forefront of service delivery.
This will be vital for when health insurance becomes mandatory in Dubai by 2016, with the hospital already working closely with providers and large companies in anticipation of this increase in demand to come.
2020 Health Hotspot
The Dubai government is also hugely ambitious in attracting medical tourists form outside of the emirate and UAE more widely.
Dr Abdelghany said: “The leadership of Dubai have been ambitious on all fronts and now it is one of the fastest-growing cities on earth and we have to keep up with that. There is a strong medical tourism initiative, and cancer and neuroscience are two areas which we are focusing massively on to get those services available here.”
The hospital is at most 15-20 minutes away from any point in Dubai , and thanks to Emirates airlines can be reached by anyone in the Middle East and GCC within four hours.
“The government is targeting 500,000 medical tourists by 2020 and this is very much in reach, and we are part of it,” Dr Abdelghany concluded.