The top priorities of hospital executives in UAE and Saudi (in 8 charts)

20 February 2023 5 min. read

What are top priorities of executives in the hospital sector of the in UAE and Saudi Arabia? Global strategy consultancy L.E.K. Consulting teamed up with Guidepoint to find out – a round-up of the report’s key findings in 8 charts.

For their study, the global strategy consulting firm and expert network surveyed 50 hospital executives from both public and private hospitals in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The researchers asked the executives to identify their top priorities across three dimensions: financials, strategy, and digitization.


Notably, the survey found that private hospitals have recovered better than public hospitals from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Private hospitals also have increased optimism for higher profitability over the short-to-medium term.

Public hospital budget outlook

In the private hospitals segment, larger hospitals have both been less severely impacted by the pandemic and have a more optimistic profitability outlook (measured in terms of EBITDA margins).

Private hospitals-profitability / EBITDA margin outlook


Asked about their strategic priorities over the next 3 years, respondents provided a roughly even split between care enhancement and operational enhancement. Key priorities are: improving clinical outcomes, improving workflow optimization, and reducing the cost of medical supplies.

Strategic priorities over the next 3 years

From a spending perspective, over 55% of surveyed hospitals plan to increase spending on infrastructure, prioritizing digital and nearly 60% on expanding/developing clinical staff including their pool of physicians

Spending prioritiesoverthe next 3 years


The report by L.E.K. Consulting and Guidepoint found that digitization is one of the top trends across areas of investment, spanning the entire hospital value chain – from client onboarding and diagnostics through to care delivery and back-office support.

As it stands, there is broad adoption of online patient registration and appointment booking solutions across the UAE and Saudi Arabia with over 80% of hospitals having adopted or are trialling the solution.

Online scheduling / appointment booking + Patient online registration

Remote consultation adoption is advanced in the UAE with over 80% adoption in hospitals; Saudi hospitals have indicated an interest in closing the gap.

Remote consultation (GPs) + Remote consultation (Specialists)

Over 60% of surveyed hospitals have adopted or are trailing personalized information pushed to patients. Meanwhile, roughly half of the hospitals surveyed provide their patients with digital access to their health records, with that number expected to rise to 70% in the foreseeable future.

Personalized information pushed to the patient + Patient accessible health records

While the adoption of post-discharge monitoring solutions and automated follow-up systems for patients/virtual nurses is relatively low in both the UAE as well as Saudi Arabia, there is strong interest in trailing and adopting such solutions over the coming period.

Digital-enabled remote patient monitoring + Automated follow-up systems for patients/virtual nurses

However, with digital spending and adoption on the rise, hospital executives have several concerns, including around patient privacy, staff readiness to adopt digital solutions, and funding.

About the authors

L.E.K. Consulting is one of the world’s larger strategic consulting firms. The firm serves the Middle East region through its offices in Europe and Asia, and was last year named one of the Middle East’s top healthcare consulting firms. Guidepoint is a worldwide expert services network, operating out of the UAE since 2019. The firm partners with many of the region’s leading consultancies.

According to a 2022 study by McKinsey & Company, further advances in digital could add billions in value to the healthcare system of the GCC region. In Saudi Arabia alone, the benefits could save over $15 billion in internal operations by 2030, and unlock billions more at the side of patients (better health, experience, etc).