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Speaker Interview

Blair Kennedy, Marketing & Communications Director, Amana Healthcare

Tell us about what Amana Healthcare does?
Amana operates medical and rehabilitation hospitals in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, where we treat a range of patients – from people who’ve been through a life-changing event like an accident or serious surgery and need specialized rehabilitation, to people who need long-term care for medically complex issues. We also provide transitional care and home health care to patients from all over the region.

Our approach is to provide patients and their families with exceptional medical care in a home-like environment, which maximizes quality-of-life and offers a much superior outlook to long-term residency in acute hospitals.

What are some of the key steps taken at Amana Healthcare in setting the standard of patient-centered excellence?

Our goal for every patient at Amana is the same: to offer them, no matter their condition, a chance to live the best life possible. It’s more than just making a patient comfortable – we work with post-acute patients who endure discomfort every day just to get out of bed and work on getting better. It’s more than hiring world-class physicians, too. Everyone at Amana knows that our goal is not simply to get patients from one day to the next, but to guide them along a path toward improvement, a single brave step at a time. 

It’s providing an exceptional standard of care, one that embraces the unique social and cultural role of the family, in an environment of peace and optimism.

Most of all, it means treating our patients as family. There’s a sense of empathy and compassion built in to the family unit which we try to emulate in our facilities – it can have a profound effect on each patient’s outlook and their response to treatment.

What do you feel are the challenges faced or gaps in the current and desired patient experience initiatives in the region?

The Middle East in general, and the UAE in particular, faces some unique challenges when it comes to patient care. Lack of access to easily-understood information is a persistent theme. Feeling uncertain about your health is a difficult emotion, yet many don’t know where to turn when something is wrong, or simply aren’t aware of the range of services available to them.  There’s also room to improve the level of patient involvement in medical decisions that affect them, which is a basic right and vital for patients to feel engaged in their journey  Autonomy and choice are fundamental to being human – and we try to ensure that wherever possible, even with the most complex patients, we give every patient the opportunity to be informed and involved in decisions concerning their care.  

How do you think this symposium will impact healthcare providers in their aim to achieve PX excellence and drive towards patient centricity, and why is such a platform important for the healthcare sector in the region?

The patient experience should be a priority for everyone in the healthcare sector. At Amana we don’t see excellence in patient experience simply as a competitive advantage, but as an imperative for achieving a much broader goal: to improve quality-of-life for patients throughout the region, no matter where they seek care. We see the symposium as an opportunity to collaborate, share the benefit of experience, and find new ways to build world-class continuum-of-care services all over the UAE. This is one thing we should all be able to agree on.

What are some of the challenges in establishing an optimal patient experience across an organization?

The challenge with patient experience is that it can be optimized, but not standardized. There’s no formula for it, because people aren’t numbers. Every life is its own little universe, and that means the patient journey is different every time. 

So how can we forge a consistent standard of excellence in the face of such variability?  At Amana we’ve found that what matters is to focus on our values and our vision, both of which are shaped by one thing: compassion. It’s compassion that drives us to connect with each patient on a deeply personal level, building trust and charting a journey forward just for them. Blending clinical excellence and heartfelt compassion creates an environment where every patient is seen as they really are – a human being with hopes, dreams and potential – and where every member of staff, every day and with every interaction, seeks to help realize them.

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