Interview with Founder President - Thumbay Group

"Arab Health sets the healthcare trend of the region" said, Dr Thumbay Moideen, Founder President - Thumbay Group.

Dr Thumbay Moideen, Founder President - Thumbay Group looks forward to the 2019 edition of the Arab Health Exhibition & Congress "to showcase achievements in medical education, healthcare and research, at the same time to gain insights on the latest trends and advancements in healthcare, to see more of VR-based technology and AI based applications, and learn about more efficient data management systems, better ways of patient-engagement as well as get a feel of things to come in the immediate and long-term future." Currently, the Thumbay chain of hospitals is one of the largest healthcare services providers in the UAE, serving patients from over 175 nationalities.

"A notable trend in the UAE is the way medical education is reinventing itself, at par with international standards," says Dr Thumbay Moideen whose Gulf Medical University (GMU) is one of the leading private medical universities in the Middle East region, attracting a student cohort of over 80 nationalities and faculty and staff from over 25 countries. Gulf Medical University recently celebrated its 20th anniversary of excellence in education, healthcare and research. The Thumbay Healthcare Division consists of academic hospitals, clinics, labs and pharmacies located at various places in the UAE, as well as in Africa and India.

As the Founder President of Thumbay Group, what do you think is currently driving the healthcare industry forward, both in the Middle East and Africa region and globally?

A rise in the number of private players in the industry, as well as increased public-private partnerships is definitely driving the growth of the industry in the Middle East region and Africa. Besides, the growing popularity of teaching hospitals and the establishment of Academic Health Systems in the private sector are also contributing to this growth. The region today boasts some of the best research initiatives in healthcare. The leading medical universities and healthcare companies are also entering into strategic partnerships and collaborations with world-renowned institutions and bodies, facilitating knowledge sharing and exchanges.

Apart from the above, the Middle East region in particular has taken to aggressively promoting medical tourism, gradually transforming the region into a popular destination for international medical tourists. In particular, the UAE has become a leading healthcare destination attracting medical tourists from all over the world. The country has also transformed into an education hub of the Middle East, attracting students from far and wide.

What current trends do you see specifically in the UAE healthcare industry and what do you see as the growth areas going forward?

Apart from medical tourism, day-surgeries is a concept fast catching up in the UAE. Of particularly high demand are treatments like cosmetology, knee-replacement surgery etc., which many medical tourists fly down to the UAE for. Online second opinion, telemedicine etc. are also gaining popularity.

Going forward, the UAE healthcare industry will focus more on AI-enabled technology, patient-centric services, precision medicine etc. 

As the UAE healthcare sector appears set to continue its impressive growth in the coming decade, what, according to you are the new trends, challenges and opportunities emerging in this sector for hospitals across the country?

A notable trend in the UAE is the way medical education is reinventing itself, at par with international standards. There is also a marked improvement in the way the country’s healthcare region keeps itself abreast with the latest healthcare technology.

The concept of 'academic health systems' linking medical education, healthcare and research, and 'healthcare cities' providing access to superior care and innovative treatments, are some of the emerging trends.

As technology is changing the face of global healthcare delivery, how is the ThumbayHospital network preparing itself to emerge as a hospital of the future by improving its workflow and architectural design to digital capabilities as well as the use of new technologies? How will this impact patient care?

The Thumbay Hospital network has made significant strides in harnessing the potential of technology, especially IT, to improve its services. The first-in-the-region technological innovations featured in the recently opened Thumbay Physical and Rehabilitation Hospital and Thumbay Dental Hospital at Thumbay Medicity, in addition to the soon to open Thumbay University Hospital which includes a Robotics Pharmacy, are some examples.

Thumbay Technologies, Thumbay Group’s own IT company recently launched the ‘Sehatak’ software, an advanced hospital information management system. It is being adopted by all Thumbay Hospitals. Its advantages include reduced administration overheads and superior compatibility on account of being platform independent. It features advanced security features including biometric authentication. One of the highlights of the application is its speech recognition functionality, enabling the conversion of audio to text. Sehatak 8.1 also supports e-records, significantly reducing cost and storage requirements, at the same time safeguarding against loss or damage of patient records. This, in turn, facilitates better analysis and decision-making and data exchange between and with entities under the parent facility.

What, according to you, are some of the promising healthcare technologies that will shape the regional/global healthcare landscape in the near future?

The growing role of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, increased specialization and specialized departments, regenerative medicine and nanotechnology will have profound impacts on the healthcare landscape regionally and globally, in the near future.

What is your plan for Arab Health 2019? What services will you be showcasing at the event?

We are showcasing Thumbay Medicity, with its latest healthcare technology and expertise, futuristic medical education facilities and state-of-the-art research infrastructure.

Thumbay Medicity houses the Gulf Medical University, Thumbay Labs, Thumbay Pharmacy, Blends & Brews Coffee Shoppe, Body & Soul Health Club and Spa, Thumbay Food Court, Thumbay Housing Project, Theatre, Center for Advanced Simulation in Healthcare (CASH), Thumbay Research Institute for Precision Medicine (TRIPM), Central Library, Research Center, Free Parking, Public Bus Station, Supermarket, in addition to Thumbay Dental Hospital - the first private dental hospital in the country and the largest academic dental hospital in the Middle East region’s private sector and Thumbay Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Hospital - the biggest and most advanced hospital for physical therapy and rehabilitation. A 500-bed academic hospital – Thumbay University Hospital - the largest private academic hospital in the region is at the final stages of completion at Thumbay Medicity, slated to open shortly. The specialized hospitals of Thumbay Medicity are Academic Health Centers of the Gulf Medical University Academic Health System (GMUAHS).

What are the new technologies/innovation that you look forward to witnessing at Arab Health 2019?

I am excited about Thumbay Group’s opportunity to showcase achievements in medical education, healthcare and research. At the same time, I hope to to gain insights on the latest trends and advancements in healthcare. I am also eager to see more of VR-based technology and AI-based applications, and learn about more efficient data management systems, better ways of patient-engagement as well as get a feel of things to come in the immediate and long-term future.

What, according to you, are the real benefits and opportunities available to healthcare and trade professionals to attend Arab Health? How would you evaluate the impact of the event on the healthcare industry in the MENA region?

Every year, Arab Health sets the healthcare trend of the region. Not only does the event give us an opportunity to showcase our own innovations and achievement, but we also get the chance to familiarise ourselves with the latest technology and global healthcare trends.

We are glad to participate in Arab Health, one of the biggest healthcare exhibitions worldwide. It is heartening to see that the exhibition has grown over the years, becoming one of the most awaited global healthcare events.

27 - 30 January 2020