Interview with UEMedical CEO Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa
In 2005, United Eastern Medical Services (UEMedical) was established to inject life into the healthcare industry of Abu Dhabi. Ten years later, UEMedical has emerged as the city’s leading privately owned Healthcare Development & Investment Company. Tharawat speaks with Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Managing Director and CEO of UEMedical, to learn about how the company’s investments have delivered innovative healthcare solutions and drastically raised the standards of medical services in the Emirate.
What is UEMedical and what was its goal and vision?
UEMedical is a healthcare development and investment company that was born from His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s vision of taking the standard of healthcare service delivery in the UAE to an international level.
By building on the experience and resources of the parent company United Eastern Group, UEMedical was able to identify business opportunities within the healthcare sector to develop patient-centered healthcare. This vision was established to fulfill our social responsibility toward our community by improving the people’s long-term health and quality of life.
As a healthcare investment company, how does UEMedical operate and what are its investment strategies?
We invest exclusively within the healthcare sector. Our work consists of identifying existing investment opportunities and developing new ones in order to deliver the best strategies for long-term growth.
We achieve this by integrating investment and financial expertise with partners renowned for health care consulting and hospital management. This allows us to consistently deliver quality healthcare services and ensure targeted risk-adjusted returns for our investors and shareholders.
We also invest by acquiring majority stakes (or a minority stake with adequate protection rights) from existing organizations with a track record in delivering outstanding services. These acquisitions give us the tools to leverage resources and expertise towards strategic market penetration, improved asset utilization, and cost reduction.
All new investments are carefully assessed to see if they can and add value to our current assets or to fill a capacity or quality gap in the market.
How has UEMedical achieved such rapid growth in the healthcare sector?
One of our most important differentiators is the fact that our specialty clinics and hospitals are set up as one-stop-shops. This means patients can find all the medical services they need under one roof. Our facilities are staffed by specialists of various fields recruited from leading healthcare institutions around the world.
An example of this multi-specialty management approach is our HealthPlus Diabetes & Endocrinology Center, which was established by partnering with the Diabetes Zentrum Mergentheim (DZM) in Germany. The medical team consists of German-trained and certified endocrinologists, diabetologists, dietitians and even podiatrists, meaning that patients with diabetes and endocrine-related disorders can access comprehensive care in the center without having to consult specialists scattered around the city.
Tell us about the healthcare industry in Abu Dhabi and UAE. What makes it an attractive place to invest and what are some potential challenges that you face?
Not very long ago, health care options were very limited in the UAE, and especially in Abu Dhabi where many people had to drive to neighboring cities or endure long flights in order to access good medical care. Over the years, the demand for specialized healthcare services began to grow as citizens suffered from issues that stemmed from the increase in life expectancy and sedentary lifestyles, such as obesity and diabetes.
We believe that this demand makes Abu Dhabi an attractive emerging market filled with great potential for growth. Our goal is to bridge the various shortcomings in medical care and start a medical tourism boom into the city.
As we do this, we face one key challenge: hiring highly skilled professionals. We understand that our success depends on our ability to recruit and retain the best team of experts out there. So our task is not simply to fill vacant spaces but to find and hire the best in their fields of expertise.
What are UEMedical’s plans for the future?
Currently, our focus on the medium-term is to consolidate our current offerings and expand our existing facilities. As far as long-term is concerned, we are aggressively looking to expand into Dubai and the Egyptian market.
As a prominent business leader, what advice do you have for others looking to achieve success?
I have three pieces of advice:
- Do what you love and challenge yourself.
- It is okay to take risks, but you should only take calculated, scientific risks.
- You are only as good as the people around you, so make sure you have a good team to support you.