A patient perspective on improving GCC's healthcare system

08 November 2023 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read
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The healthcare systems in the various Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations are rated as quite good overall by those who use them, but improvements are needed to ensure more accessibility, promptness, and equitability. That is according to a new report from Roland Berger, which surveyed nearly 2,000 people across the Gulf region.

The GCC countries are currently transforming the way they approach healthcare due to changing demographics, increased spending, and rising lifestyle-related diseases. This shift focuses on value-based healthcare, prioritizing outcomes and cost efficiency, make it vital to understand people's views for aligning reform goals effectively.

Across the respondents of the survey, overall satisfaction with the healthcare system was rated as positive, though the system was rated better by those with better health.

Rating of the healthcare systems performance vs the rating of health status

Source: Roland Berger

For those with excellent healthy, an overwhelming 97% rated their healthcare system as excellent, very good, or good. On the other end of the spectrum, for those with poor health, it was still a majority that rated it positively (65%).

“The results of this survey shed light on the views of a diverse sample of the GCC population on what they value the most in their healthcare system. It opens the door to a dialogue among key health sector stakeholders on how current reform efforts align with population needs,” said Sara Barada, partner at Roland Berger.

Achieving equitable access to healthcare for all residents regardless of geographic or socioeconomic factors is seen as a top priority for healthcare systems, including in the GCC. 23% of respondents noted not having a choice of facility or physician in their search for care. Another 21% noted having trouble finding a facility close to where they live or a suitable alternative like virtual care.

Overview of access and cost-related challenges across all respontents

Source: Roland Berger

Many GCC countries have universal healthcare coverage or mandatory health insurance schemes, which helps reduce financial barriers to accessing healthcare. According to the survey, affordability ranked last in a list of concerns from healthcare customers.

The report recommends that healthcare providers should address population engagement, which includes an active inquiry into people’s priorities and integrating their voices into reform efforts. Shifting to preventative healthcare is also important, but could be difficult to reach. Moving from a focus on treating illness to maintaining overall well-being will require changes in behaviors and mindsets.

More accurately collecting data is another point of improvement for GCC healthcare systems, said Roland Berger. Data should be better used for measuring value and making policy. Greater equity in healthcare should include programs that can reach underserved communities more efficiently, including the use of technologies that can overcome geographical challenges.