Dubai is a tourist’s dream! World class leisure activities, entertainment, landscapes and its diverse cultural heritage, are all elements that create a great mix for people throughout the world to travel to Dubai. Now, the city encourage even more tourists from all over to come be part of the magnificent health care offerings that are part of Dubai’s 2013-2015 healthcare strategy.
A much needed policy change, which was required to attract medical tourists, was put in place through a new health care plan. An expansion plan of Dh3 billion is planned to revamp Rashid Hospital, make 40 new primary healthcare centers and three new hospitals in the next 12 years, to create a breakthrough in Dubai’s health care industry and transform the emirates into an attractive option for medical tourist around the world.
The project pivots on the multibillion- dirham transformation of Rashid hospital that is known for its specialization in emergency, trauma, critical and ambulatory care and on development of the surrounding area. The hospital will include specialized health centers, as well as villas and flats for more than 5,400 members of staff and their families and a mosque with a capacity for 150 worshippers.
The massive plan also includes within it a rehabilitation Centre, with 500 beds, which will be connected with two hotels, and have 1,000 rooms with 20 chalets. It also encompasses within it new Centre’s for heart, cancer and kidney patients. Strategies to eliminate pressure on the hospital have also been made by investing Dh 38 million into outpatient building.
All these facts and figures represent a solid strategy, the focus on customer building, and to further strengthen the emirates in perspective of gaining clients and tourists from all over the world, to want to become the choice of destination for health care offered in the Emirates.
The management of the Rashid hospital has stressed on creating a health plan that will exceed the expectations of the customer leading them to be fully satisfied. All these services and offerings show goals of serving the customer and making sure all his/her needs are met.
“The expansion plans have been designed to provide state-of-the-art services to the population of Dubai as well as visitors who come to the emirate for medical tourism,” said Essa Al Maidoor, director general of Dubai Health Authority.
He also added that “Medicine is a noble profession and we are all lucky to be in a position where we can, through our individual roles, take care of the health of our community members. For us all, going forward, customer care has to be priority.”
This clearly reflects the philosophy of a customer centric approach and the desire to beat customer expectations and win client loyalties by providing a change in customer experience during their time in treatment and cutting through all other health care standards around the world, and tapping into creating emirates as a medical tourism spot as well. The Rashid hospital Revamp is a clear example of the gulf initiating efforts towards attracting the 1.6 million Americans that travel across to utilize affordable health care services.
“Customer care is at the core of the new 12-year strategy”, Mr Al Maidoor said. “Patients and their families need our utmost care and compassion, and excellence in healthcare services and customer care must go hand-in-hand,” he told DHA staff.
Dr Khaliq Raza Khan, of the Ismail Medical Centre, shed light upon on how this was a golden opportunity for medical tourism, and went on saying that “This is a positive step for Dubai health care and will benefit not only the medical industry but other industries, too. It is a wonderful thing.”
The hospital is also planning on launching a live customer feedback system, where customers can log in and give their satisfaction feedback by either choosing the happy or unhappy button. These results will be displayed in all DHA hospitals and primary health care centers giving the customer the utmost power over the services and creating a transparent health care system. This is a very useful tool as it makes the customer feel important and know that their opinion is valuable, also its helps create quality standardization for the staff as well as the management, who can keep a close eye on the service quality of the hospitals and centers.
“The thought process behind this service is to further empower customers to express their opinion and let them be the judge of the services provided by the DHA,” said Mr Al Maidoor.
Health care is one of the industries where customer service is a crucial part of overall experience of the patient, each moment of truth and touch point is crucial. In this industry a patient knows exactly how his/her stay will be at the hospital, the moment they enter the hospital premise. For example, the expressions and body language of the staff, from the receptionist to the nurses and the doctors, all play an essential role in making the customer comfortable. Staff must be trained to cater to situations, with irritated or depressed patients, and know how to liven them up. They should be able to observe and gauge the moods of the patients and react accordingly, helping them have a smooth experience and of course all the attractions in Dubai, gives the patient something to look forward to once they are out of the hospital.
Cost of healthcare in UAE is believed to be steeper as compared to Asia, and residents travel outside of UAE for their health care. A great amount of out bound patients travel to Asia, Europe and North America to get treated. Hence it is important that UAE tries to cut costs so that its own Health Care can develop and be able to treat its own citizens as well as attract medical tourists.
“Over the past year, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has witnessed a growing market of tourists from the UAE and across the Middle East travelling to properties in Europe and North America for medical purposes,” said Meenaz Lilani, the executive director of global sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa for Fairmont Raffles Hotels International in London.
Since customer service is the crux of providing good health care, the staff must be trained with attention to detail and focus on patient care and service. It’s essential that the hospital staff is trained in providing high quality service to its patients. Customer service training programs must be planned for helping the staff maintain a standard and knowledge of dealing with different situations.
In trying to increase medical tourism, staff must be trained to handle people from different nationalities and cultures and understand their needs and cater accordingly. For example American Patients are more talkative and open, so the staff should know how to converse with them and ask questions etc. Health care is a sensitive service and must be provided with great attention on detail as well as accuracy.
A lot of times patients complain that the nurses and hospital staff is too busy to help them or answer questions. Patients complain that they aren’t given enough time and a lot of their queries are left unattended. Hospital staff must show passion and care towards the person they are looking after and show affections, so they feel looked after and in good hands.
It’s very important to converse with the patient, politely explain them the procedures they have to undergo or the medication they need to take. Showing small gestures, like greeting them in a friendly tone and asking them how they feel can really brighten up the mood of a disheartened patient.
Providing high quality customer experience in the health care industry is impossible without maintain hygiene and cleanliness while serving the patient. Lack of hygiene can further affect the health of the patient, but also rubs off poorly on the impression of the hospital that is serving the patient. Nurses must be trained to maintain good hygiene for themselves, as well as the hospital rooms etc.
Keeping all the above elements in perspective and maintaining quality can help UAE win its medical tourism goal, retaining its customers, gaining medical tourists and hence gaining increased revenue.