CEO Today - Middle East Awards 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the healthcare industry globally. How has Al Sharq Healthcare adapted to the challenges posed by the pandemic, and what lessons have you learned from this experience? As the leading healthcare provider on the East Coast, we had no option but to pivot our organization towards supporting the UAE’s efforts on COVID-19. This included attending to COVID-positive patients and developing our own in-house Molecular (PCR) Laboratory to offer COVID testing 24/7, often dealing with 2,000+ tests per day at the peak of the crisis. We worked hand in hand with the UAE Government during this period, providing support in the Port of Fujairah, where our Marine Medical staff attended to COVID-positive patients at sea and onshore, often in the middle of the night. In addition, we deployed large numbers of our medical staff for COVID vaccination drives. We even supported the Ministry of Health and Prevention with contact tracing and follow-up of positive cases through our own Call Center. We also worked closely with the National Ambulance Service to accept critical non-COVID cases in our Emergency Department to allow them to focus primarily on COVID efforts. As an organization, we cemented our trust in the community and with external stakeholders, learning how to collaborate with Government entities proactively and seamlessly. We were very proud to see the fantastic response of the UAE during this crisis and even more proud of the dedication and hard work of our teams, who literally put their lives on the line to support our patients. We also learned the value of investing in high-quality services, taking measured risks during a period of severe uncertainty, and that as an equal partner to the Public Health sector, we can both scale up one another’s capabilities to ensure the safety and security of our patients, staff and the wider community. Finally – we are one of the few private hospital organizations in UAE that, despite challenging business circumstances during COVID, never cut salaries or forced redundancy. Instead, we realized that prioritizing our staff’s job security was not only the right thing to do but has also made us one of the region’s leading choices for healthcare job seekers. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve and new technologies and treatments become available, how do you stay current and ensure that Al Sharq Healthcare remains at the forefront of innovation and best practices? Al Sharq Healthcare takes a conservative but proactive approach toward new technology and avoids investing in every new “fad” that comes along. When other groups are scrambling to keep up by opening their hospital in the Metaverse, we keep it simple, improving the quality of our physical infrastructure and people and ensuring that we always have high-quality medical equipment. While we see value in the “hybrid” model of physical and digital healthcare and note the industry efforts towards pushing virtual healthcare, most of our patients still feel comfortable with a face-to-face consultation and examination. While this may be less cost-effective and inefficient, much can be “lost in translation” during virtual care. We are yet to see research proving improved clinical outcomes for telemedicine or remote care. Best practice can be subjective, so we follow a prudent path of clinical practice guidelines from the leading institutions in the world, applying local cultural nuances to ensure that the care we deliver is world-class and culturally appropriate to the context of our multi-national patient pool. Above all else, Al Sharq Healthcare prides itself on being truly outcomes-focused and clinical quality driven. We believe that no amount of technology can replace the healing hands of the doctor, nurse, or technician, which remain the center of everything we do. CEO Today Middle East Awards 2023 - UAE - - 109 -

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