The following article provides a timely overview of how Abu Dhabi separated the governance of its healthcare facilities from the regulation of health policy to create a public-private partnership. Their system not only provides universal health coverage to citizens and expatriate workers, but it also fosters explosive private-sector growth: 70 new healthcare facilities gained licenses in 2011, and 125 more are waiting for approval.
Disclosure: I work for Dell Services, which operates an enterprise-level revenue cycle engagement for the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company, SEHA, and manages 12 of its government hospitals.
Healthcare in Abu Dhabi: A Beacon for the Middle East
By John Nicholls, Director of Healthcare Business Development, Dell Services, Middle East
Abu Dhabi has one of the fastest changing healthcare markets in the world today. In just two and half years, the city has initiated the privatization of healthcare, achieved universal health insurance for citizens, streamlined communication between health authorities and providers, and implemented a universal ID system. These are just the initial changes made as the government transitions from healthcare provider to healthcare regulator.
While healthcare in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) compares favorably to the rest of the Middle East, its capital, Abu Dhabi, definitely leads the way. With a life expectancy of 76.5 years, Abu Dhabi fares better than most Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. It also closely matches health indicators in other developed countries like the U.K., which has a life expectancy of 78. Abu Dhabi has even been named the third most popular medical tourism destination in the region by the World Bank.