By World Healthcare Journal-
Aiming at delivering the best of British clinical care and exceptional patient experience, King’s College Hospital in Dubai Hills strives to bring outstanding, compassionate and personalised care to the region. The recently opened $200m hospital is a joint venture with Al Tayer Group, Dubai Investments, and Ashmore Group, offering state-of-the-art outpatient and inpatient facilities.
The facility itself opened at beginning of January 2019, after a soft launch in December 2018 for outpatient facilities and stress-testing. The hospital is highly integrated with King’s College in London and offers services that before were not sufficiently provided within the UAE. It holds a strong presence in orthopaedics, obstetrical and gynaecological care, and its cardiology unit offers both interventional and non-interventional treatments.
King’s in the UAE operates the same model of clinical care as King’s London. Deeply anchored in the principles of being evidence-based, efficient and transparent, the clinical pathways and standards of King’s in the UAE come directly from London. King’s in London oversees the clinical governance of King’s in Dubai, whilst also drawing on the full wealth of knowledge, research and expertise that London has.
“What we really do differently is evidence-based healthcare. We do just the amount that is needed, not more and not less. To give a simple example, if you talk to people living in the UAE for a long time you will hear the story about going to a doctor with a cough and a cold and walking out with quite a sizeable amount of medication - including antibiotics,” says Christian Schuhmacher, CEO of King’s in Dubai.
The main problem that the hospital identified in the early stages of development was not so much service lines but the way healthcare was being delivered. Many members of the management team have been present in the region for a long time, working with various providers, and are familiar with local market needs. Marrying that need with King’s expertise was the main goal that the team wanted to achieve.
However, some service needs were obvious. Obstetrics, for which King’s London is well known, is in huge demand in Dubai which has a younger population with a lot of deliveries but less access to foetal medicine. Similarly, King’s London has an excellent reputation for metabolic medicine with many well-known professors and experienced doctors. As a result, King’s Dubai under Schuhmacher developed a system that is unique for Dubai and the wider region, adding surgery where needed.
Schuhmacher is confident that the hospital has accessed the best of British healthcare. “We marry it with Middle Eastern hospitality so that we offer the good service you would expect. We do not import the NHS. ”
Regulation and Governance
However, the clinical governance is the same as King’s London, reporting the same KPIs and following NICE guidelines. The UAE does not presently have an equivalent of the UK’s Care Quality Commission (CQC) but Schuhmacher is confident that they meet the CQC standards and would be happy to be benchmarked to international organisations - be that CQC or other evidence-based regulators.
"What we really do differently is evidence-based healthcare. We do just the amount that is needed, not more and not less."
In addition to the hospital in Dubai Hills, King’s also has three more Medical Centres: one based in Dubai Marina which opened in September 2018; a one-year-old medical centre in Jumeirah and the flagship Medical and Surgical Centre in Abu Dhabi. Each facility provides fully integrated care, 365 days a year. King’s is keen to encourage managed family medicine to act as a ‘personal health manager’, pointing patients towards the appropriate services that they need moving forward.
The majority of the care provided by the hospital is given in Dubai, but if clinicians come across a case they are unable to treat, or one that is too complex, they refer it to King’s London. This approach is the opposite of medical tourism, aiming to keep as much treatment as possible within the country. If a patient does need to go to the UK, the aim is to make the journey seamless “instead of leaving it to the patient to find their own way around the world”.
Innovation and smart technologies feature heavily at the hospital, enhancing King’s operations and patient experiences. Unique to King’s, the hospital is equipped with a brand-new education system, offering patients up-to-date, interactive information and education about their current condition. Patients have a one-stop portal which can be accessed from the hospital or remotely from home at any time. This network provides patients with the convenience of having access to their own medical records in a secure, protected and private manner.
King’s is also the only facility in the UAE to offer an EOS imaging system, an advanced orthopaedic imaging technology that gives doctors a clear 3D view of the patient’s musculoskeletal system. This offers the ability to make life-changing decisions regarding the patient’s treatment without the need to take multiple X-rays, as it automatically stitches the scans together and provides greater accuracy with far less exposure to harmful radiation.
Innovative electronic prescribing ensures medication management is optimised to a safe, fully traceable and paperless system at the point of care, providing clear visibility of patient therapy management. King’s is also the first facility to have an automated medication management solution in the operating theatres, making valuable steps towards patient safety.
King’s is passionate about technology as an enabler, instead of a barrier to patient interaction. Allowing patients to take hold of their own health, with access to their own data and medical records, is fundamental.
“We introduced an integrated pathway with one electronic health record in all the facilities, which can also link up with King’s London to bring expertise to us here in the UAE. For example, we have access to 140 radiologists worldwide, instead of being limited to a handful here,” says Christian Schuhmacher who has ambitions to continually grow the hospital. Hoping to add a further 100 beds as part of a phase two expansion, doing so will provide even more state-of-the-art and much needed care to the local population.
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