Healthcare consulting firm GS Health launches in GCC

04 February 2020 4 min. read
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Dutch healthcare sector consultancy Gupta Strategists recently expanded into the Middle East with the launch of Doha-based subsidiary GS Health. The founder of the Middle East operation, Mischa van Prooijen spoke to on the rationale for the firm’s move into the region.

Founded in the Netherlands in 2005 by former Arthur D. Little and Roland Berger consultant Anshu Gupta, strategy firm Gupta Strategists is a specialist healthcare consultancy serving the full spectrum of industry stakeholders – from public and private providers such as insurers, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies right through to governments, regulators, investors, and patient groups.

At the start of this year the firm expanded into the Middle East under the GS Health banner through an office launch in Qatar (recently marked by an in-depth research report into the local healthcare system), with the new regional branch headed by Mischa van Prooijen. Returning to the firm after a five-year stint with Dutch conglomerate Philips Healthcare in the Middle East, Van Prooijen reflects on her career move and motivation behind the launch.

Healthcare consulting firm GS Health launches in GCC

“I strongly believe GS Health can add value to the healthcare sector in Qatar and in the neighbouring Middle East countries,” she confidently states, having served Philips’ healthcare consulting division as head of the Gulf & Levant. “This region has invested a lot in world class-hospitals and highly capable staff and there are well written plans and strategies for the coming years. The biggest challenge now is to make those happen; to actually improve the care delivery. 

Van Prooijen was herself the driving force for the decision to launch in the region, over say larger markets such as Germany or the UK which are closer to the Netherlands and could be considered more similar. “I’ve lived in Qatar for the past six years and know the market and the stakeholders, which is a comfortable position to start from,” she says, noting that such a venture has been on the cards since her departure from Gupta, where she’d previously spent four years.

Committed to improvement

“Since I left Gupta in The Netherlands we’ve stayed in touch and always discussed the idea of opening a Middle East office, but I really enjoyed working for Philips and wanted to broaden my perspective and gain more experience first,” Van Prooijen elaborates. “In 2018, I moved to Kuwait and ramped up our business there. After the experience of starting up the business in a new country, I felt ready and excited to start GS Health in the Middle East.” 

In terms of that experience and the insights she gained at Philips as to opportunities for healthcare improvement in the Gulf, Van Prooijen states that she has learned a lot about the influence that regional culture and habits have on the way of working by collaborating closely with local hospitals and government. “After six years here, I understand why things are the way they are and have ideas on how to improve,” she says, but not without enthusiasm.

“There is so much eagerness to improve healthcare delivery in the Middle East region.”

“I also experienced the motivation that government and healthcare leaders have here to improve. There is so much eagerness to improve care delivery in this region!” continues Van Prooijen, who has been joined in the Qatar office by ten-year Gupta strategist Kees Isendoorn, with GS Health to continue to tap the expertise of the Dutch team. “Together with the people that deliver healthcare here – and know even better – we can really make a change in the next few years.”

Gupta Strategists provides a full gamut of advisory services – “from mergers to budgeting, from change management to new strategies, and from market analysis to implementing new ideas” – the focus for GS Health will be similar to Europe says Van Prooijen; on access to care, health financing and insurance, care integration, improving and innovating care pathways, operational improvement, and finally employee development through the firm’s Learn & Grow practice.

The big question though is how GS Health intends to compete in a crowded market? “Firstly, we are experts that exclusively focus on healthcare, while most other firms also cover other sectors,” forwards Van Prooijen. “This focus enables better ideas. Secondly, we are strong in using data analytics to create the required insights to base plans on. There is a lot of unused data in this region that can be used to gain insights and support stakeholder engagement to accomplish change.”

“Last but not least, we work hard to build trust with our existing and new relationships, and are committed to proving our value.”