Muscat: Investcorp, a leading global provider and manager of alternative investments, on Tuesday released its white paper which examines the GCC’s evolving multi-billion dollar healthcare industry. It also offers recommendations on improving the operating environment, reducing costs and increasing opportunities across the industry’s value chain in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The white paper titled, “A Health Prescription for the GCC”, identifies four areas of weakness in the region’s healthcare industry, namely, insufficient access and quality of care, the high cost of treatment of a relatively young population and the increasing burden of funding on GCC governments — the current primary spenders on healthcare in the region.
Based on tried and tested models, global best practices and deep knowledge of the GCC’s healthcare industry, the paper offers six vital remedies and highlights key priorities to help improve it.
The paper recommends that the Gulf countries improve their wellness and prevention measures, for example, by promoting a healthy food and exercise regimen for their citizens and encouraging screening and health checks.
Second, to help fill supply gaps with adequate care, there needs to be a focus on increasing the number of specialised facilities and improving the quality of services, by, for instance, partnering with experienced Western institutions.
Third, healthcare providers, such as hospitals and clinics, need to consolidate to benefit from economies of scale.
Fourth, the paper stresses the importance of privatisation to improve the overall healthcare system and infrastructure.
Fifth, it recommends that governments try value-based care systems to incentivize good behaviour and reduce costs.
Finally, the paper emphasises the need for greater cooperation between GCC nations and pooling of purchasing power and infrastructure
“The GCC healthcare industry is undergoing a much-needed transformation, mainly driven by the pressure on governments to shift the burden of funding to the private sector and the rise of the patient as a ‘consumer’ of healthcare services. The change is creating plenty of opportunities, and the buildup of a more complete eco-system,” Tristan de Boysson, Co-Head of Corporate Investment for Middle East and North Africa (Mena) at Investcorp, said.
“Encouraging steps have already been taking place to help take the GCC healthcare industry to global standards. The magnitude of the transformation is highest in Saudi Arabia, where new regulations are being prepared as well as a substantial privatization programme. I believe the transformation will considerably raise the standards of healthcare and better meet the population’s expectations,” Rabih Khouri, Managing Director, Corporate Investment MENA at Investcorp said.