GE Healthcare’s healthymagination highlighted as effective approach to manage healthcare costs in the Middle East

Published June 15th, 2010 - 11:02 GMT

The third GE Healthcare Middle East Media Summit held in Abu Dhabi recently highlighted the effectiveness of healthymagination, a powerful initiative aimed at driving innovation and improving efficiency, as an effective approach to address healthcare trends and challenges faced by the region's governments.

GE recently announced the first year milestones of healthymagination, recording significant progress by touching 135 million lives through 24 innovative products and services, a US$700 million investment in R&D and a US$250 million investment in an equity fund focused on growing healthcare technology companies.

The focus of healthymagination to emphasize on an earlier model of care is underscored by recent statistics revealed by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi, which stated that 70 percent of Emiratis above the age of 18 are at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, based on a screening program designed for UAE nationals. The results showed that more than 30 percent screened were overweight, another 30 percent were obese and more than 21 percent had diabetes or were in danger of developing this disease.

These health trends also call for a greater focus on healthcare spending. Today, the funding mechanism for healthcare spending is one of the pressing challenges faced by governments in the Middle East region. Morever, regional government healthcare budgets have been rising over the years to meet the demand of a growing population.

GE Healthcare's healthymagination initiative aims at complementing the efforts of the government and private sectors by emphasizing an 'earlier model of healthcare,' driving innovation and enhancing the quality of healthcare delivery.

According to a recent report by Alpen Capital, the GCC healthcare sector is expected to grow threefold from US$47 billion to US$55 billion in the next ten years. Other estimates state that the region is currently spending US$14 billion on new hospitals and healthcare facilities through joint ventures and public-private partnerships.

Aziz Koleilat, General Manager, GE Healthcare for the Middle East, said: "The third GE Healthcare Middle East summit put the spotlight on the current trends in the healthcare sector of the region and offered tangible solutions that can meet the most pressing challenges, especially in addressing the growing incidence of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes and stress."

He added: "The collective effort of the public and private sector, backed by an emphasis on earlier care can help address the burden of healthcare costs. Through this approach, advanced diagnostics solutions are integrated as part of the healthcare delivery model, and medical professionals are provided continuous training in advanced technologies. This will potentially help them to identify diseases at an earlier stage - and thus reduce the cost and increase treatment options offered, which ultimately benefits the patient."

GE, through its healthymagination initiative, has a six-year global commitment to spend US$6 billion towards better health for more people by decreasing costs, improving quality and increasing access to healthcare. Healthymagination touches multiple GE businesses including NBC Universal, GE Water, GE Capital and GE Healthcare and includes product and service innovations, groundbreaking partnerships, employee wellness programs and other solutions aimed at improving every level of the global health system.

GE Healthcare has an established presence across the Middle East region partnering with various healthcare providers in the private and public sector. In addition to providing the latest diagnostic and medical technologies, GE also has structured training programs to boost the skills of regional professionals. 

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