UAE healthcare sector set for post-COVID revenue boost

Growing momentum behind private spending, privatisation and preventative care are key factors expected to drive market growth

  
Intensive care in the hospital, COVID-19. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Intensive care in the hospital, COVID-19. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Revenue generated from sales within the UAE healthcare sector is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5 per cent over the over the next five years to reach Dh39.4 billion in 2021, new analysis from Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry predicts.

Growing momentum behind private spending, privatisation and preventative care within the market are among the key factors supporting this growth trend, according to the findings, which are based on data from Euromonitor.

Private sector healthcare sector spending is set to outpace public sector health care spending over the next five years, due to increasing market activity driven by compulsory health insurance, privatisation of hospitals, a growing occurrence of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes or obesity and better awareness of preventive care among UAE residents.

Healthcare expenditure will likely see significant growth in the UAE and worldwide in 2021 as additional resources are required to reboot infrastructure for the return of elective procedures following temporary suspension of these services due to Covid-19-related restrictions.

Medical tourism gains momentum

The UAE government’s implementation of precautionary measures and smart technologies to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and the successful re-opening of the country’s economy and borders are other key developments that will accelerate a rebound in medical tourism and attract international visitors to Dubai who are seeking treatment, the analysis noted. These efforts should result in a positive impact on medical tourism sales in the country which are projected to reach Dh8.4 billion in 2021 and grow by a CAGR of 17.1 per cent between 2021 and 2025.

According to the International Healthcare Research Centre (IHRC), Dubai ranked sixth out of 46 destinations in Global Medical Tourism Index 2020-2021. In addition, Dubai ranked fifth in Quality of Healthcare Facilities and Services, seventh in Destination Environment, and 13th in Medical Tourism Industry, as reported by IHRC.

Telehealth growth trends

Although telehealth services were offered in the UAE prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the pandemic has accelerated the growth of this market segment. Today, telehealth and tele-radiology services are prevalent among leading healthcare providers across the UAE. Recent Google trends data also show that in online searches for telehealth services reached a peak point in April 2020.

It is worth noting that several healthcare service providers in UAE reacted quickly by providing telehealth services to patients during the lockdown. Lifestyle disorders, aging population and rising demand for personalised patient care as well as self-health management tools will continue to drive the telehealth market in the UAE. Besides, as per experts, telehealth can also improve quality, efficiency and customer service in medical tourism applications. In particular, telehealth in medical tourism may improve the process and quality of pre- and post-operative care.

 

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