Hospital leaders in the region face many of the same challenges as experienced in the United States and have similar goals, as well.
HFMA recently took its maiden voyage into the Middle East when a group of Association leaders traveled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) International Healthcare Information Summit in Abu Dhabi, the country’s capital city. HFMA was a sponsor of the annual event, held Oct. 3-5, with the goal of assessing market need and opportunities to grow membership, provide education, create adjunct chapters and develop new global networks — goals true to the mission of HFMA.
Revenue cycle rising
The country’s emerging healthcare revenue cycle is driven by an active insurance market supported by the fact that all those living in the country must have some level of insurance coverage. Consisting of seven provinces, the UAE has a majority non-national population of more than 7 million, while Emirate nationals are just short of 1 million people, based on 2016 government provided data.
Healthcare is administered through regulatory bodies and local government entities, with the Abu Dhabi Department of Health and the Dubai Health Authority regulating healthcare delivery in those sectors. The Abu Dhabi Department of Health sets policies, laws, regulations, inspections and audits. The department operates about 65 public sector facilities as well as more than 800 healthcare facilities in the private sector. U.S.-based health systems with a presence in the region include Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins.
Sharing common interests, challenges
UAE hospital leaders are facing many of the same challenges as the U.S. healthcare system, including aging populations, an increase in chronic diseases and growing costs to provide healthcare services. Leaders in the region we spoke with said they have similar goals as U.S. leaders, including moving to a value-based care model and creating a singular medical record with complete interoperability. In day-to-day operations, they are working on denials management and meeting key performance indicators (KPIs). Sessions presented by our HFMA team reflected these shared interests.
I was joined by Karen Fry, president, Scepter Healthcare Group, who is also a member of HFMA’s Florida Chapter, in giving a 30-minute presentation titled “Don’t Be Denied,” another executive session and a full-day workshop focused on denial prevention and denial management. I also participated in a panel discussion on the global healthcare ecosystem. We had great participation and interest both in our revenue cycle topics and in HFMA as a membership organization known for guiding improved financial performance of healthcare systems. Especially popular were our revenue cycle KPIs — an industry standard desired and needed in the region.
Also representing HFMA at the summit were Rich Lucas, director, channel assets, HFMA, and Florida Chapter member Anna Inglett, CEO, Putnam Health Advocates, who spent time meeting summit attendees in the exhibit hall and sharing HFMA resources. Booth traffic was lively with most attendees not having knowledge or awareness of HFMA, allowing our HFMA delegation to spend time explaining HFMA’s mission and discussing membership opportunities including enterprise agreements.
“During the conference, we had great conversations with attendees representing organizations from within the UAE and from other Middle Eastern countries,” Lucas said. “It became obvious that HFMA may fit into their educational and developmental goals.”
There are many opportunities in the UAE for HFMA. We look forward to working with their healthcare leaders to grow and share the HFMA mission.