Interview with Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, Chairman & Managing Director, VPS Healthcare

Enhancing patient experience
“The healthcare of the future will be unique, convenient and on our own terms,” says Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, Chairman & Managing Director, VPS Healthcare. The healthcare pioneer sat down with Arab Health to discuss the changing healthcare landscape in the region and how as data becomes more extensive, providers such as VPS Healthcare will be able to use this information to enhance the overall patient experience. Excerpts: 1. Give us a brief about yourself. How did you come to work in healthcare? Before tackling the challenges of healthcare, I earned a bachelor’s degree in medicine at Kasturba Medical College in India and was awarded a MD in Radiology at Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute in Chennai, India. After working as a radiologist at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, we opened the first hospital in 2007. Since then, VPS Healthcare has diversified into related healthcare businesses within the Middle East and North Africa region and the Indian sub-continent. In about 12 years, VPS Healthcare has become one of the most dynamic healthcare companies in the region, spanning four countries, 23 hospitals, over 125 medical centres, more than 13,000 employees and one of the largest pharmaceutical USFDA-certified manufacturing plants in the UAE.

2. As an exclusive partner at Arab Health 2020, what different innovative products and solutions will you be bringing to the show? 
We are planning to present a unique healthcare platform that combines a Software as a service (SaaS) model and approach for critical services like electronic health records and revenue cycle management, among others. This pay-per-use service will reduce the financial and technical barrier of entry for many hospitals and clinics for these cost- and resource-intensive services. Our purpose is to provide the patients and providers access to reliable healthcare round-the-clock. We are confident that our solutions will help support an efficient and integrated delivery system that avoids unnecessary wastage of healthcare resources.

3. Connectivity for better healthcare delivery is the theme of Arab Health this year. What would you say is the current impact of connectivity on the delivery of healthcare? 
With the increased use of technology and data, we are seeing the emergence of new trends that have the potential of changing the medical experiences for patients and providers. In this fast-paced, and increasingly connected world, on-demand is becoming a habit rather than a feature. The availability of reliable, efficient and affordable services will help strengthen trust in the healthcare system. As an example, the use of telemedicine technology, including teleradiology can allow doctors to engage with patients and provide services, irrespective of their geographic location. This not only reduces the need for in-person services, but also drives efficiencies across the medical ecosystem.

4. What, according to you, are the healthcare trends to watch out for in 2020?
The healthcare of the future will be unique, convenient and on our own terms. As data becomes more extensive, connectivity faster and devices smarter, providers such as VPS Healthcare will be able to use this information to enhance the overall patient experience. These types of technologies offer safer, faster and more tailored treatments. They harness the power of collective data for the individual, achieving a far greater degree of personalisation in medicine than has ever been possible before. Our challenge will be to make these innovations affordable and accessible.

5. What, according to you, are the opportunities available to healthcare and trade professionals who attend Arab Health? 
Arab Health continues to be the must-attend event for the healthcare industry. We believe that it is the premier platform for showcasing best-practices and technologies that play a key role in the change of health service and providers. The exhibition has also helped policymakers, who are taking steps to enhance the health sector, in addition to boosting the sector and improving the performance of hospitals and other facilities.

6. Could you shed light on your future plans. 
Earlier this year, LIFEPharma, VPS Healthcare’s pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Jebel Ali that is the country’s sole facility certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, signed a 10-year contract worth AED 200 million to produce a billion pills for export to North America. This project represents an important milestone in the strategy to make the UAE a global hub for knowledge-based, sustainable and innovative industries. We believe that this is a steppingstone for us to produce complex therapeutics right here in the UAE for local and international markets.

We are also very excited about VPS Healthcare’s 400-bed Burjeel Medical City, that is designed to be a hub for tertiary and quaternary oncology treatment for adult and paediatric subspecialties, long-term and palliative care (including immunotherapy and molecularly targeted therapies). Burjeel Medical City will be a world leader in cancer genomics research and its translation into actionable clinical tests and for biomarker-driven drug development. The hospital is equipped with advanced radiotherapy and radiosurgery equipment. This includes two linear accelerators and Brachytherapy facility, with space for a Gamma Knife. In addition, the hospital will have advanced Radiology Diagnostics that include SPECT CT, two CT scanners and a simulation CT in radiotherapy Department. To complete the diagnostics, there are two advanced MRIs, with an intraoperative MRI that will be another unique system in BMC. This will facilitate minimal invasive stereotactic biopsies and ensure complete surgical removal of tumours. To achieve these goals, the hospital is supported by advanced laboratory and diagnostic facilities, these include advanced molecular and genetic testing, Stem Cell preparation and therapy, apheresis and HLA matching. BMC will devote significant resources toward developing clinical research programmes and trials to develop customised approaches for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and drug development for targeted oncology therapies.

7. Anything else you would like to add. 
As emerging markets achieve growth, there is a pressing need for them to build sustainable healthcare systems. World-class economies like the UAE need the best health services to cater to populations who potentially face increased lifestyle and wellness issues. In this new landscape, there is an urgent need for affordable and accessible services, without compromising on quality.