UAE, DUBAI - Health & Education
CEO, Saudi German Hospital-Dubai
Dr. Reem Osman graduated from Tishreen University in Syria and continued her medical education at the same university, obtaining a Master’s in Eye Diseases and Surgery. She later gained an MBA from Sydney Business School at Wollongong University and became a member of the International Council of Ophthalmology. She is currently the CEO of Saudi German Hospital-Dubai, and has over 16 years of experience in the healthcare industry.
The Dubai government is a great help for us and for all of the private sector in many aspects of business. The government is pushing for the development, improvement, and expansion of the healthcare sector in Dubai. I’m sure that HH Sheikh Mohammed’s vision of making Dubai the number one destination for medical tourism in the region and the world will be achieved soon, as his many visions for Dubai have been achieved thus far.
This hospital has 300 beds, which is Phase I of the plans given to us by HH Sheikh Mohammed. Our second phase of expansion is for six extra specialty hospitals that will be located on the same plot. Each hospital will have 50 beds. Our dream and long-term plan is to build a mini healthcare city with 600 beds and a medical tower with clinics. Dubai is supporting this initiative and we are also carrying out discussions with other Emirates in terms of further expansion. The city has room for expansion in the healthcare sector, especially in terms of advertisements and buzz for medical tourism. We are creating demand throughout the world, and we now have to create supply. This is a growing industry that we are working on as part of a continuous search for talent all over the world.
We recruit from all over the world and we have 39 nationalities. The nurses are mostly from the Philippines, India, and Pakistan. The doctors are from all over—Germany, Europe, Austria, the UK, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Pakistan, and India—and all of them are Western qualified.
I’ve increased the stability and spirit of the hospital, as well as improved the relationships between the staff members. We’re working on recruiting and filling the shortage that we have here. We have so many projects we’re working on—the dialysis center is open, our sleep lab is open, and the ICU is fully equipped and fully occupied. Our lab has acquired gamma cameras and we are recruiting staff to operate them. We have many projects for partnerships with other national companies and many initiatives still in development. In October 2102, we launched a breast cancer campaign; we were very active with community activities aimed at raising awareness about the importance of child health. In November 2012, we launched a campaign to train parents to give first aid to children, and we are planning to make it a bi-weekly event. From my private experience as a mother, I want to focus on this training program for parents and nannies, because it is important to know how to resuscitate children. Our chief nursing officer is training parents to handle any small emergencies and possibly save a child’s life. We also sponsored a free campaign about diabetes with a free exam by our ophthalmologists who examine people’s vision. The hospital is not always for treatment, but also awareness, as this is our corporate social responsibility. Awareness and preventative measures are extremely important in medicine. Education and early detection can save many lives and also improve the quality of life in general.
The main draw is quality. We are the largest hospital and the biggest group in the region. Currently, we’re known because of our brand name. Many patients come to us because they know the SGH name. Many of them are already our patients at our hospitals in Saudi Arabia. Many are GCC citizens who visit Dubai, especially during the holidays. There will be 1 million tourists here over the holidays, and many are from Saudi Arabia. Around the world we are working on medical tourism, which means building a brand through advertisement. The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is helping us with this program, and Emirates airlines is also offering their support. Dubai meets all the requirements to become number one in medical tourism. There are daily flights to Dubai and many hotels, and the city is very beautiful with excellent infrastructure and a safe and stable environment. People are not afraid to come here. However, when medical tourists come, if they don’t see the good service they’re expecting, they will not come back.
Surgery is the most common, followed by general and executive check-ups. People want to see all the clinics and be tested at every lab. There are a few complicated cases for trauma and surgery, mainly people who have seen many doctors. We see either very easy cases or very complicated ones. Something routine such as appendix removal, we don’t see as much between international patients.
As CEO, I want to prove myself. As a female, that has been a huge challenge. However, all of my staff are very supportive. None of them want to disappoint their CEO, and I appreciate this allegiance as I consider it one part of success. As a CEO, it is important to ensure that your passion is your employees’ passion as well. Our staff considers this hospital their second home and they thoroughly enjoy their work. If anyone is having any difficulty, my door is always open and I will work to solve their problems. I also want to improve, grow, and build our brand name, proving that this Emirate is the place for growth and the place to attract investors from all over the world. We came in and we knew no one, but the authorities helped and supported us, and now it’s our job to prove to them that we deserved their support and will give the best care to the citizens of their city and Emirate.
© The Business Year – March 2013
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