Aster reinforces the UAE healthcare mission with excellence

A renowned name in the UAE healthcare sector, Aster DM Healthcare has a unique portfolio of specialised brands to serve varied needs of their patients

The healthcare brand’s patient-centric approach and noteworthy contributions to local and global healthcare have gained them the recognition of a quality and consistent healthcare services provider. In an exclusive interview with the zone, dr. Sherbaz Bichu, CEO of aster hospitals and clinics, UAE, highlights their future plans, technological transformations and improved innovative solutions.

Aster DM Healthcare has expanded rapidly in the UAE. How has the UAE vertical contributed to the organisation’s status in the Middle East?

Our footprint in the UAE is a contribution to the growth of Aster DM Healthcare. Our hub-and-spoke model presence in the UAE allows us to offer holistic healthcare services. In the UAE, Aster has grown from a 20-bed capacity single hospital to six hospitals with approximately 350+ bed capacity in the past seven years. Aster clinics division expanded from a single doctor manned unit to 106 clinics across GCC. In the UAE alone, we have 91 clinics, and not only limited to capacity building, indeed we have raised the bar of clinical excellence from primary care to tertiary care.

Can we have an overview of your future plans?

Our near-future expansion is in Sharjah. We will be opening a 100-bed capacity hospital which is due for inauguration later this year. We will also be launching a centre for maternity and childcare as an extension of Aster’s Qusais hospital.

Also, Aster Cedar Hospital in Jebel Ali will see the introduction of cardiac and neurological services as we strengthen tertiary care facilities available in Jebel Ali and Jafza and in the long run, Aster DM Healthcare is looking to expand its footprint to the Western markets by setting a medical facility in Cayman Islands that will act as the hub for the Western markets, while we continue to strengthen our presence in the Middle East and India.

We leverage on operational efficiencies executed by a talented workforce; we are a patient/customer centric organization hence success is eminent.

Have the developments in the market impacted Aster’s market value?

We are a public listed company in India and thankfully our trajectory depicts increasing trends. We are the leading and the largest integrated healthcare provider in the GCC, providing comprehensive primary to tertiary care and also consumer and retail services through our pharmacies division. We operate in a unique spectrum and therefore market threat does not intimidate our achievements.

How has the company fared in the first quarter of 2021?

We are proud to declare it successful, attributing to the solidarity we maintained with DHA in fighting this pandemic. Also, our largest workforce contingent “Nurses” and “Doctors” did not hesitate to go over and above the call of duty, the organization in return could gratify the good work by increasing the salaries of nurses in UAE.

The UAE government has introduced several initiatives to boost the growth of the healthcare sector. How has Aster utilized these benefits to contribute to the economy of the UAE?

UAE offers diversified platforms to private healthcare providers; one such component is MVT – Medical Value Tourism, the ease of flexible visa process supports this initiative. Another emerging initiative is telehealth services, Aster DM Healthcare is leveraging these opportunities to enhance the economy of UAE. Furthermore, above all the use of digital technology and automation to make healthcare services accessible and affordable.

The industry, in recent times, has seen the rise of healthcare technology and digital services like teleconsultations. What’s next?

Robotics, telediagnostics, clinical decision support systems are just the tip of the iceberg, by and large the entire healthcare system will evolve from volume-based care to value-based care continuum, and the accessibility to health records driven by technology will open the gateway to a new world healthcare ecosystem. Aster was one of the first private healthcare players in UAE to introduce teleconsultation facilities for patients at the beginning of the pandemic and over the years, the service has received phenomenal uptake among our patients.

UAE offers diversified platforms to private Healthcare providers. Aster DM Healthcare is leveraging these opportunities to enchance the economy of UAE.

Dr. Sherbaz Bichu, Chief Executive Officer
Aster Hospital & Cilinics, UAE

Innovation is a key pillar at Aster. Elaborate on the brand’s digital transformation and innovative offerings?

Digital health, technology-driven transformation and innovation form the core strategy of creating an unique care experience for our patients and also make it affordable and easily accessible. For example, Aster was the first private healthcare group to introduce Telehealth services in the UAE which aided patients who wanted to avoid exposure to hospitals and Covid-19. Similarly, homecare services like doctors and nurses on call were introduced. We could shift the entire primary care model of booking an appointment to consulting the doctor, follow-ups, delivery of prescription medicine to the homes of patients. To be able to address the shortage of critical care doctors needed to serve the rising number of critical care cases during the first surge of COVID cases, we introduced the Tele-ICU facility, which helped our doctors based in India to support our doctors in the UAE to monitor and serve a large number of patients.

Aster’s Access Clinics are located in industrial and residential areas and cater mainly to the working class. What prompted the launch of these clinics that provide affordable yet quality healthcare services?

Through the Access clinic, we live up to our vision: A caring mission with global vision to serve the world with affordable and accessible quality healthcare. Aster commits to delivering healthcare services to all spectrum of communities, outstripping all boundaries of discrimination. Access clinics were launched to serve the low-income workers who would otherwise have struggled to access proper care.

Our presence in Jafza gave us insights into the Healthcare needs of the prople working and living there. We also discovered the opportunity to train and educate Industrial workers about basic life support and First -Aid courses.

Over the years, how has Jafza clinic contributed to the well-being of those working in the free zone?

The Access clinic in Jafza was set up in 2014. The clinic tends to industrial area workforce. The incidents of work-related injuries prompted the establishment of the unit which can offer care to skilled labourers. Also, unavailability of tertiary care hospitals in Jafza was an alarming concern in the past. Now, our Aster Cedars hospital is contributing to the continuity of care and we are in pursuit to introduce cardiac and neurological services which are crucial to save lives as the window to initiate treatment is narrow in such cases.

Finally, how has the Jafza ecosystem contributed to Aster’s success?

Our presence in Jafza gave us insights into the healthcare needs of the people working and living there. We also discovered the opportunity to train and educate industrial workers about basic life support and first-aid courses. We are conducting many community-based campaigns and offering awareness pertaining to chronic diseases and prevention. Also, we offer affordable health packages and provide free screening on site. These outreach activities help us to expand our scope of services tangibly.

  • 91 Clinics in UAE
  • 106 Clinics across the GCC
  • 6 Hospitals with approximately 350+ Bed capacity
  • 100 Bed capacity hospitals due for inauguration in 2021.
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