Healthcare models across the world will need to shift away from traditional reactive models, and instead focus on delivering preventive care, experts said at an event on Thursday.
Speaking at a session at Arab Health Online 2021, experts noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has placed an increasing amount of strain on the healthcare industry and its value-chain. From infrastructure readiness and talent availability to financial stability, the root-cause of the strained system has always been a fundamentally fragmented healthcare system, with an inability to scale in times of need. The vulnerability in the system was further exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Healthcare systems, they said, are not built to deal with a sudden surge like the ones seen during pandemics, and working in isolation has not worked out for both developed and developing nations.
Speaking in a webinar session titled Future Proofing Healthcare: Challenges and Opportunities, Faizal Kottikollon, chairman and founder of KEF Holdings, Meitra Hospital and the Faizal and Shabana Foundation, explained that there are several infrastructure challenges facing the industry today, such as long design and build cycles, budget overruns, poor quality, and lack of patient-centricity.
He also pointed out that there is an immediate need for the development of hospital beds, especially in underserved countries. According to the World Health Organization, a minimum of three beds per 1,000 individuals of the population is recommended. India has a 0.5 per 1,000 ratio, while the UAE currently stands at 1.4 per 1,000 ratio. Another big challenge that governments across the world have had to deal with are rising healthcare costs. Towards this end, he explained that KEF Healthcare’s strategy is built on creating a sustainable ecosystem, which is leveraging technology to bring quality care closer to the patient, by integrating all levels of care.
“I think, what we have done in India, with Meitra Hospital, is a model which can be replicated around the globe. The pandemic has proven that irrespective of a country’s healthcare capacity, we may struggle to meet demand. In addition to creating more capacity, the healthcare industry needs to transition from ‘diagnose and treat’ to ‘prevent and manage’. At KEF Healthcare, we are focusing on not just the health but the proactive well-being of the community.”
“Going forward, we feel that the hospital should only be used for surgeries,” he added. “We should move the care of the patient closer to their home, and this is something that we can do with technology. All the rehabilitation and wellness should take place in a separate facility that prioritises comfort and healing.”
KEF Healthcare has successfully implemented this collaboration at various operational and clinical levels and has created an asset light model that can be replicated anywhere in the world. Starting from India to the UAE, there are plans on expanding this model to the Africa region and beyond.
Ali Faizal, director of the board, advisor and senior consultant for heart and vascular care at Meitra Hospital, explained that access to care is a key issue for many patients, and that there is a shortage of trained professionals in peripheral hospitals.
Dr Dileep Raman, founder and director at Cloud Physician and member of American Board of Internal Medicine, also highlighted how technology, especially wearables, can be used to bring quality care closer to the patient.
“Patients are not receiving the quality of care that they need, and this needs to be addressed immediately,” he said. “Technology is just a tool that needs to be used efficiently to deliver care. We can use it to reduce inefficiencies in hospitalisation and improve patient access to healthcare via tele/remote monitoring.”