Centres of Excellence (COEs) in Healthcare

Globally, the interest in healthcare excellence has grown exponentially, with public and private institutions shifting their attention from meeting targets to achieving excellence. Hence, healthcare delivery is inclining towards Centres of Excellence (COE).

Definition – “Healthcare facilities, which can provide an exceptionally high level of expertise and multidisciplinary resources centred on a particular service line and/or services and delivered in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary fashion to achieve the best patient outcomes possible”[1].

There are various demand drivers of COEs in the GCC:

  • Growth in healthcare demand due to various drivers (wide population base, disease burden, increasing healthcare expenditure, government initiatives etc.)
  • Service gaps in patient pathways for key tertiary care specialities
  • High waiting times for specialised services and high-end surgeries in public hospitals
  • Efforts to reduce outflow for specialist procedural care such as in cardiac care, radiation therapy etc.
  • Establishment of medical tourism destinations in the GCC (like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah etc.), which need further establishment of COEs in major specialities as it would be a huge boost for the region’s healthcare reputation

COVID-19 pandemic – Certain specialised healthcare segments have seen increased demand due to the pandemic e.g., Respiratory care, cardiac diseases, endocrinology etc.

Department of Health (DOH) Abu Dhabi has come out with guidelines for licensing healthcare facilities as COEs. The key criteria for being licensed as a COE are briefly listed below:

Only those institutions that meet all the above-mentioned criteria qualify as COEs. In the GCC, mainly public healthcare facilities have established COEs, as mentioned below:

There are some upcoming COE projects in the region like DHA Cardiac Centre of Excellence (Dubai), Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Oncology Centre etc.

Establishment of COEs in various specialities could help in expanding collaboration, providing the highest possible quality of care, attracting top resources, getting international visibility, and provide organisational robustness. Many public hospitals have been differentiating their offerings by developing COEs for specific specialities. Gradually, other key hospitals in the GCC are expected to move towards improving their positioning in the market by getting licensed as COE for specific specialities.

[1] DOH- Abu Dhabi definition
07 November, 2021 | .By Mashreq in Knowledge Partnership with JLL