In 2013, Saudi Arabia spent roughly $36 billion on the provision of healthcare. By 2018, it will spend over $48 billion. (Deloitte)
Worldwide, healthcare systems are struggling to overcome a number of deep-seated challenges:
- The growing burden of an aging populations and chronic, non-communicable diseases (such diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer) in terms of system capacity and budget.
- The global shortage of qualified healthcare professionals, which means that old staffing models are no longer tenable.
- The overdependence on acute care services provided in hospital settings, which has contributed not only to the exponential growth in healthcare costs, but also to the underdevelopment of prevention, primary care, and population health.
These challenges are particularly acute in Saudi Arabia and parts of the GCC, as lifestyle issues are causing massive health problems, medical talent is more difficult to recruit and retain, and there is little primary care and prevention efforts.
However, there are a number of advances in technology and bioscience that are fundamentally changing the way care can, and should be, delivered by:
- Fostering more effective collaboration between providers;
- Decreasing the reliance on highly specialized physicians while enabling nurses, technicians, and nurse practitioners to deliver quality care;
- Empowering patients to take an active role in their care and wellbeing.
As a result, countries are pivoting away from outdated, hospital-centric systems—the so called 20th century approach—toward systems where the majority of healthcare is consumed in lower acuity settings such as the primary care clinic, the community, or within the home. This 21st century approach deemphasizes the medical care system and its focus on hospital care, in favor of the individualized health system where distributed services such as wellness, prevention, and chronic disease management are coordinated, integrated, and personalized to cater to individual patient needs.
We believe that GCC countries can leverage these new technologies to address these broad health challenges, as well as regionally specific challenges, and we are committed to being a part of this change.
In 2014, it was estimated that there were 37 million diabetics in the Middle East a number that is projected to swell to 68 million in 2035. (International Diabetes Federation)
WellNovation’s core objective is to leverage science, technology, and data to improve population health and enable more cost effective and efficient care delivery in the GCC.
This is predicated on the following guiding principles:
- Encourage GCC governments to abandon unsustainable 20th century models of care in favor of 21st century approaches;.
- Improve access to primary care and promote prevention of disease;
- Enable patients to take a more active role in managing their health;
- Utilize innovative commercial and funding structures such as public private partnerships (PPPs) and pay-for-performance models (PFPs)
Implementing the wholesale shift in the delivery of care is a large undertaking and so we have decided to first focus on a few elements of the individualized health system where we feel we can have the most impact:
- Prevention and the early detection of disease, specifically screening programs using the most effective and least invasive screening technologies.
- Retail health that enables quick and cost efficient delivery of care,
- Digital health technologies to address patient empowerment, the lack of primary care, and care coordination.
These initiatives should provide treatment in an efficient and coordinated manner, and decrease mortality and morbidity—all at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.
Up to 70% of the national healthcare budgets in GCC countries are allocated to hospitals and high-end curative care, rather than primary care and health promotion. (International Journal of Health Policy Management)
We partner and co-invest with leading organizations from around the world to fulfill our mission. Our partner organizations range in size, scope, and maturity; however, they all share a common purpose—the use of innovative products and approaches to address unmet needs in the GCC’s current healthcare systems, sparking transformative change, and improving the health status of the region’s populations.
We leverage our on-the-ground presence in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dubai to help our partners understand the local market, identify opportunities, and shape their value propositions, business plans, and market entry strategies accordingly. We connect businesses with the region’s key stakeholders and decision makers and ensure that the appropriate channel(s) to market are secured. We work alongside our partners to evaluate potential commercial structures for their GCC business, from a pure private sector play to a robust public-private partnership. We can also help our partners understand and support the regulatory requirements of agencies such as the Saudi Food & Drug Authority. Finally, we will invest, or co-invest, in building new local entities, where required.
Currently, we are focused on partnering with companies that have developed new screening technologies and protocols, associated with some of the most prevalent diseases in the GCC.