The University of Manchester

Middle East healthcare needs to develop leadership to meet the four major challenges facing the international industry

The Middle East healthcare sector is vibrant and active, and continues to attract investment as private and public-sector investors build the new capacity needed to serve a growing population of citizens and residents, and international healthcare tourists.

The global industry still faces a number of challenges; the fi rst and foremost, according to the World Economic Forum, is the spiraling cost of healthcare delivery, which is reaching unsustainable levels. With the rising cost comes the need to transform the industry and improve effi - ciencies, patient outcomes, and financial sustainability. Success factors include sharing and learning from international practice and experience, global perspectives, and individual and collective leadership.

Healthcare is arguably the world’s largest industry and is transforming rapidly. Healthcare systems are being continuously modernized and reformed, whether public, private or hybrid systems. The need to demonstrate improved outcomes will continue. Transformational change will be needed more than ever, with a focus on health outcomes based on an evidencebased approach. With changing demographics and newtechnologies, leaders will need to be more adaptive and prepared to be creative and opportunistic, within an appropriate risk assessment climate. These issues present a signifi cant leadership challenge within healthcare systems.

The opportunity to learn from other systems offers real benefi ts to healthcare leadership, in equipping leaders and managers with cutting-edge knowledge and practice from around the world whilst retaining a strong emphasis on regional, national and local systems and practices, putting the patient at the heart of all that healthcare leaders do.

Healthcare leadership exists at multiple levels with each level defining the type of leadership required through a collective vision. It is most certainly collective at the level of the patient, as often the health and well-being of the carers and nuclear family depends on this.

Collective leadership must build the capacity and capability of the people within the healthcare system through improved skills and the development of appropriate behaviours. The focus should be on how you lead within a collective healthcare system, always putting the patient first. Given the global nature of healthcare leadership, leaders need to adapt to changing markets and the potential for change in a complex and uncertain world.

Leaders who are unable to do this will remain rooted in the traditional form of leadership and continue to face diffi culties currently associated with cost, quality and access, with patients isolated from the leadership decisions and practices. The concept of the patient ‘as leader’ is starting to emerge.

There are four major global leadership challenges faced by healthcare systems across the world: Universal access to different levels of healthcare in a timely, costeffective and seamless manner; giving prevention as much priority as treatment and recognising long term benefi ts; delivering healthcare across a range of public/private and hybrid systems, and; integrating care across diverse primary, secondary and tertiary providers.

In the GCC, there are many similarities in the healthcare systems of member states, but there are also differences. The balance between public and private provision of healthcare is one such difference, although they are ultimately working towards a common standard of health and well-being.

In a complex healthcare environment, leaders need to focus at different levels. This forms the basis of a unique international leadership master’s programme where the learning will help leaders achieve this.

The University of Manchester’s new part-time MSc International Healthcare Leadership addresses these four global healthcare leadership challenges, and concentrates on applying learning to the practice of healthcare leadership and service improvement focusing always on evidence- based outcomes.

The Author
Dr Stephen Brookes is senior fellow in public policy and management and specialises in leadership and organisational development with a special focus on healthcare management, The University of Manchester



Date of upload: 18th Jul 2017

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