Partnership between hospitals in UAE, U.S. improving patient care

Patient care and medical knowledge has already improved in the United Arab Emirates just two months into a new partnership between UAE health care facilities and those in the United States.

VPS Healthcare of Abu Dhabi and the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia announced their partnership Nov. 2. The two health systems have been in constant contact since, according to VPS Managing Director Shamsheer Vayalil, who recently spoke to the Gulf News Journal.

VPS Healthcare operates a wide network of hospitals and clinics in the UAE and employs more than 7,500 people, including 650 doctors. This new partnership is helping VPS meet its goal of providing world-class health care to UAE citizens at home, Vayalil said.

“Penn is renowned for their quality and we believe that as a local organization, it is our responsibility to provide world-class services to the UAE residents at their doorsteps, rather than having them to travel abroad for treatment,” Vayalil told the Gulf News Journal.

One of VPS’s major goals in relation to this partnership is to achieve Magnet status for the entire VPS network. The American Nurses’ Credentialing Center, an affiliate of the American Nurses Association, awards Magnet status to hospitals that measure up in terms of strength and quality of nursing staff.

To satisfy that goal, a nursing expert from Pennsylvania Health System spent time at VPS’s facilities to further train and educate the nursing staff.

“The interaction between them has been great and things have been progressing pretty smoothly,” Vayalil said. “So much so that all our nursing staff have taken the trainer to their heart and we can witness the enthusiasm and change in the functioning of our staff, which has in turn resulted in better experiences for our patients.”

In addition to visits and face-to-face meetings, the global partners have been communicating regularly by phone calls and video conferencing. Vayalil told the Gulf News Journal the conference calls have allowed UAE health professionals to interact for the first time with some of the best health professionals from Penn.

“We have been discussing our oncology services right from start, and we are looking forward to close collaboration for our upcoming facility, which will be a center of excellence for treating cancer,” Vayalil said.

VPS Healthcare serves more than 2 million patients per year, according to hospital data. The health care facilities run 42 operating rooms and perform more than 50,000 surgeries each year.

With growing demands for health care in the UAE, VPS has set a goal to raise its bed strength to 5,000 by 2020. Vayalil said the partnership with Penn will help them achieve that.

“We believe that our partnership has the potential to change the mindset of health care and insurance companies in the region" Vayalil said. "This would be possible courtesy of the processes and guidelines that meet international standards, which are already applied by one of the best health care providers in the world.”