By Staff writer
EY survey also shows that more than half of Gulf healthcare professionals agree that service quality is inconsistent
Eighty-five percent of GCC patients believe not enough is being done to improve patient experience, according to a new report by advisors EY.
Consumers across the GCC are no longer satisfied with healthcare providers just meeting their basic physical needs, the report said, adding that most patients would opt to get care for serious conditions outside the GCC region.
EY said that many healthcare organisations in the GCC region lack a mature patient experience management function despite 82 percent of healthcare professionals indicating that patient experience is a priority.
A further 83 percent of respondents said they believe there should be a greater investment in healthcare technology.
In the same survey, 51 percent of healthcare professionals rate overall healthcare quality as inconsistent.
The patient experience is comprised of the various interactions that patients have with a healthcare system and is a critical component of overall healthcare quality. A positive patient experience focuses on the whole delivery of an interaction, from booking timely appointments to having their medical history easily accessible to healthcare staff across clinics.
Andrea Longhi, EY MENA healthcare advisory services leader, said: “Inconsistent quality of care has been a uniform challenge across the GCC. Establishing a patient experience management function will help improve accessibility to patients, quality of service, consistency and affinity.
"It will help patients appreciate the value of what they are paying for, improve loyalty and medical outcomes as healthcare providers recognise the importance of going beyond exemplary medical care to engage with patients.”
The survey also showed that limited engagement with clinical staff and the lack of consistency led to only 40 percent of patients believing that they were being adequately informed about their health.
Furthermore, only 34 percent of patients are relying on their physician for healthcare information above any other source, it added.
Mohammad Sear, executive director, advisory, EY, said: "Patient centricity is the key to sustainably delivering better experiences. To achieve this, stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem must make patient experience a top priority at all times."
EY said potential solutions for the GCC healthcare system include the digitisation of electronic medical records, which is happening in the UAE, mobile applications, remote patient monitoring, and the automation of medical centres.
Modernisation and digitisation is definitely a dimension to improve healthcare services in the gulf. However, that alone will not result in improvement in patient experience. Fact remains that not many successful doctors are willing to re-locate to Gulf by giving up their existing flourishing practices in their own countries. Unless and until senior doctors are available on full time basis, patients will continue to seek treatments abroad for ailments requiring complex treatments.