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Medcare Hospitals & Medical Centres | Dr Shanila Laiju

In the contemporary times of high-end technological advancement and ground-breaking research, the healthcare sector has not been left back. It is defined by the quality of treatment that patients receive. The entire ecosystem of effective healthcare is no longer run by how healthcare organizations choose to treat their patients but rather by putting healthcare users at the core of its care.

In this regard, Medcare Hospitals & Medical Centres, a leading hospital and healthcare group based in the UAE, operates its interactions with active participation in understanding patient needs. With its entire network of multi-specialty care units, the hospital group ensures the well-being of its patients and their families.

It has the promising presence to do everything it takes to make healthcare feasible and more accessible. To attain the objective, the hospital binds together several specialists and support staff workers in a compassionate manner, delivering the best care for all kinds of medical conditions.

To dive into the marvels of Medcare’s operations that meet its objective of patient-centric care, Insight Care crossed paths with Dr. Shanila Laiju, the Group CEO of Medcare Hospitals & Medical Centres, where she elaborates on the contributions that have succeeded the hospital in its mission of effective care.

Treating the Millions

Medcare Hospitals & Medical Centres is the premium private healthcare provider under the parent group, Aster DM Healthcare. With a need to cater to the patient population in Dubai, the brand was established by Dr Azad Moopen, Chairman and Founder of Aster DM Healthcare, in 2006.

Today, it has grown to operate four leading state-of-the-art hospitals, including two multi-specialty hospitals (Medcare Hospital Al Safa in Dubai and Medcare Hospital Sharjah) and two specialized hospitals (Medcare Women & Children Hospital and Medcare Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital). The Medcare network comprises of 18 medical centres in the UAE that serve the healthcare needs of the community.

Medcare Hospitals & Medical Centres treat more than 1.2 million patients every year in over 35 medical specialties, with more than 1,000 passionate and multilingual doctors, nurses, and technicians who come from different medical boards and institutions from around the globe.

The hospital has established a strong presence in the UAE as its staff lives by a simple promise: “We’ll Treat You Well,” and is fully committed to providing world-class clinical excellence and personalized medical care to every patient.

Evolving in the Journey

Dr. Shanila Laiju is the person overseeing Medcare’s network of 2,000+ clinicians and support staff. She began her professional journey back in 1994 when she started her career as a dentist, further progressing into hospital administration. She gradually evolved into a clinic supervisor and operations manager and then served as Chief Executive Officer for two flagship hospitals—Medcare Multispecialty Hospital Al Safa and Medcare Orthopedic & Spine Hospital.

As part of her continuous endeavor to promote safe and efficient medical care, she spearheaded the accreditation of two of the hospitals by the Joint Commission International and launched many centers of excellence, namely in gastroenterology and obesity, weight management, and orthopedic care in the UAE and its associated region.

Little Things Matter

Dr. Shanila realized that being the Chief Executive Officer of a hospital means being a part business leader and part human multiplier. It requires a blend of diplomacy, advocacy, business management, and financial sense.

In her position as a business leader, she learned much about the operations of a hospital, the roles of different personnel, how to be humble, have empathy for patients, the dedication of healthcare professionals, and how much “little things” mean to employees. Such a concept serves to develop a structured leadership approach toward hospital staff for greater collaboration and efficiency.

Dr. Shanila and her team increasingly call upon Medcare’s ecosystem to transition and modernize. For instance, today, data analytics and the integration of AI are providing new, complex ways to deliver top-quality care to its patients. And the industry-wide transition from a fee-for-service model to a value-based service model—one focusing on the quality of services instead of the number of services provided—meant that they were required to rethink its operations from the ground up.

As a human multiplier, I think about how the decisions I am making will affect the team members I am working with and what contributes to their professional growth and personal fulfillment,” adds Dr. Shanila.

Catering to the Needs

Medcare is always striving to improve the quality of life of its patients in the UAE by increasing access to professional care support and cutting-edge treatment. For this reason, it has managed to develop specialty centers of excellence across all the facilities to cater to the constantly evolving needs of the population that it serves.

Some of these centers include:

  • The Medcare Foot & Ankle Center deals with all sorts of related diseases and pain management.
  • The Weight Management Center supports patients in regaining control of their weight by following tailored weight management plans.
  • The Gastro and Obesity Center is dedicated to treating patients with complex conditions using state-of-the-art techniques.
  • Chronic Care Management was another major highlight for its patients. This is a comprehensive 12-month course that offers customized care plans for chronic diseases such as diabetes to help patients live a healthier life, and the organization provides guidance and monitoring tools for them to make positive lifestyle changes

On top of that, Medcare has added a number of medical centers to its portfolio in multiple premium communities, the latest ones were in Dubai International Financial Centre, Town Square, and Mirdif City Centres. The plan is to have more than 40 medical centers by 2025.

Attaining Heights

Opining about Medcare’s vision, Dr. Shanila quotes, “Our vision is to take Medcare to greater heights by keeping abreast of the top standards in preventive, curative, and rehabilitative healthcare, regionally and internationally.”

Medcare believes that core values shape an organization’s culture and significantly impact its business strategy. It creates a corporate purpose, improves team cohesion, and instills a sense of commitment in the workplace. To meet the objective, the organization ensures to operate on the following values:

  • Excellence: Surpassing current benchmarks by continually challenging its ability and skills to take Medcare to greater heights.
  • Integrity: To do the right thing without any compromises and embrace a higher standard of conduct.
  • Passion: Going the extra mile willingly, with a complete sense of belongingness and purpose while adding value to its stakeholders.
  • Respect: Treating people with the utmost dignity, valuing their contributions, and fostering a culture that allows each individual to rise to their fullest potential.
  • Unity: Going beyond boundaries with empathy and care while harnessing the power of synergy and engaging people for exponential performance.

Mapping Opportunities

The healthcare sector is facing multiple challenges, such as the need to harness advanced technologies, information and integrated health services, cybersecurity and protection of patient data records; rising healthcare costs; shortage of talent; and most importantly, the immediate need to keep investing in the digital and consumerism transformation of the healthcare industry.

Pointing to the matter, Dr. Shanila states, “To address these challenges, it was essential for us to map patient requirements and preferences that will help us understand what they want, who they are, and what their lifestyle habits are, so they remain engaged in their treatment, stay informed in order to be an integral part of their care journey. One way we’re applying this is through interactive, easy-to-use digital tools that help us work with our patients to be proactive about accessing care, ease of booking and managing appointments, and treatment planning.”

She continues, “Moreover, the staff are committed to delivering outstanding patient care and exceptional clinical services in our communities.  We strongly believe that adopting innovations and world-class technologies will renovate our patient experience and units’ operations.”

The hospital has implemented InterSystems, TrakCare as a Service electronic medical record system across all its four hospitals and 18 medical centers. It will be useful to improve clinical outcomes and patient care delivery by supporting the medical staff in their decision-making. Dr. Shanila believes that this will help the hospital strengthen its patient safety and privacy, patient record availability, and create more opportunities to offer the patients an enhanced experience and seamless care journey as they spend less time waiting and avoid unnecessary tests.

These steps have helped the organization recognize itself as a technology leader in the global healthcare space.

Technological Support

Medcare launched its teleMEDCARE platform for teleconsultations at the onset of the pandemic to provide immediate medical access to people who needed it from anywhere at any time. It allowed them to offer live video consultations where patients could consult a doctor without making an advanced appointment. All they had to do was click on the ‘Call Doctor Live Now’ button on the Medcare website to connect with a doctor.

Furthermore, homecare services were identified as an obvious need for its patients in areas such as lab tests, vaccinations, nurses and doctors on demand, and medication home delivery.

Ensuring Quality Treatment

We believe that healthcare is not just a service but an experience that enriches people’s lives at different levels and brings a positive change in the way healthcare is delivered,” states Dr. Shanila.

Medcare is at the forefront of best practices in the healthcare business, which allows it to stay ahead of the times and deliver promising solutions to its patients.

We move forward as a team by continuously attracting the best talent and therefore evolving as a successful, sustainable business. For us, it is all about enriching the experience of all those who come in touch with us and our services—starting with our patients, to our internal stakeholders and business partners.

Dr. Shanila demonstrates pride in Medcare by stating, “The availability of all major medical specialties in one organization means that our patients get comprehensive care for their health as well as convenience.”  

Moving Towards Patient-Centricity

From a business perspective, Dr. Shanila believes that there is an “always-on” demand for healthcare. It is one of the most recession-resistant sectors. Even when markets are unpredictable, the healthcare sector is resilient against possible economic downfalls because of medical advances, diversification of population needs, virtual care potential, and new infrastructure technologies—all of which support long-term investment growth.

However, to live up to the ambitions and expectations of patients, investors in healthcare organizations will need to continue the journey that makes patient-centricity a reality. It is very important to learn from other industries and import practices that enable access, convenience, and personalization of medical services,” concludes Dr. Shanila.