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Five minutes with.. American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital executive chair Dr Jeehan Abdul Qadir

Five minutes with.. American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital executive chair Dr Jeehan Abdul Qadir

Dr Qadir reveals the hospital’s plans to expand its headcount

How has the healthcare market in the Middle East evolved in recent years?

The healthcare market in the Middle East is not homogenous, so there is no ‘one size fits all’ model of healthcare in the Middle East. There are many cultural and practical differences in healthcare dynamics, which is further amplified by different demographic drivers between countries within North Africa or the GCC, as well as the wider region.

All MENA/GCC countries collectively spend much less on healthcare – only 2-3 per cent of GDP – compared to approximately 10-12 per cent in Scandinavian countries and as much as 20 per cent for the USA. This gap needs to be closed quickly because investment in healthcare contributes hugely to a nation’s economic growth. Healthy citizens are in turn more productive and efficient, contributing effectively to regional growth and development. Countries that offer good, safe and high quality healthcare services will be able to attract and retain top expatriate and local employees in the international war for talent. Medical tourism is another aspect of the healthcare industry that benefits from a strong offering.

The UAE healthcare space is maturing as more hospitals; primary care facilities, health insurance and specialised services become available. Already the traditional trend of locals and expat residents traveling overseas for their advanced or tertiary care is slowly being reversed, due advanced treatments and technologies available in the region. With this spend now being retained in the region, it becomes possible to invest more in local healthcare services, further supporting growth and development.

Following the launch of Dubai’s plans to become a medical tourism hub, how much of your business now comes from outside the country?

Dubai has witnessed a major growth in the medical tourism sector due to the emirate’s increased investment in this sector, and the growing number of healthcare centres that provide world-class facilities. At the AACSH alone, we have seen that overall approximately 30 per cent of our patients are from the GCC and other regional countries.

Do you consider accreditation important for attracting patients?

External validation is key to maintain the high international healthcare standards that patients have come to expect. The AACSH was the very first cosmetic surgery hospital in Dubai Healthcare City to receive international accreditation and has been re-accredited three times now by Joint Commission International.

What are some of your most popular procedures?

Botox and fillers are most popular when it comes to anti-aging and liposuction, while the most sought after surgical procedures are breast augmentation and post bariatric body sculpting. We have also witnessed an increased interest in cosmetic dentistry and hair transplant procedures.

Are there any up and coming healthcare areas or procedures you are investing in?

Yes, we have invested in autologous harvesting and the use of adipose tissue derived stem cells, which is used to increase and enrich stem cell numbers. We have also been investing in new laser technologies for weight loss and skin toning as we have seen a high demand for these services. Our recently launched ICU and clinical laboratory is a prime example of our investment in raising standards even further, as it enables us to prepare results rapidly and sufficiently. In addition to all this, we are building a new radiology department to support new orthopaedic, spinal and minimally invasive joint replacement and other orthopaedic services.

Does your hospital have any expansion plans in the UAE or wider Gulf?

We are always looking for opportunities to further expand and collaborate with other unique business models and healthcare institutions matching the high standards that we offer to our patients throughout the GCC region. We are currently finalising our 2017 plans that will outline our growth strategies for the year ahead.

Are you hiring?

We pride ourselves on our permanent and visiting faculty, and are keen to see this grow even further next year and beyond. We have headhunters out searching for 15 top plastic surgeons with international qualifications and their own Dubai-based patients to join us in 2017.

What is your leadership style?

Collegial and inclusive rather than autocratic. The AACSH is run by a managerially and medically qualified CEO and a professional senior management team. I leave the day-to-day decisions to the experts. I am chair of the board and focus on corporate and clinical governance. For example, we have just appointed two new non-executive directors who are both world class in their respective fields of law and international finance.

In my spare time I like to..

I like to travel and lecture and attend many international medical and aesthetic conferences as an invited speaker. I also write extensively and follow both the medical and the fashion trends in the beauty industry. I also often take part in local and International TV programmes and keep up with social media to familiarise myself with what is trending in the medical sphere, and to share my thoughts on the industry.

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