Education: SA Healthcare Company Makes Good in Middle East
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Of particular interest is the fact that Agility GHS has its origins in South Africa. What has made Agility GHS such a formidable force, management says, is the knowledge and experience gleaned over several years in the local healthcare technology and funding markets.
Commenting on the considerable success of the company Mike Collier, CEO of Agility (GHS) said that the company has been active in the Middle Eastern market for four years. “We are extremely honoured to have secured some highly sought after agreements with a number of major players in that market. Eighteen months ago, we signed a cooperation agreement with Waseel, a Saudi-Arabian company based in Riyadh, that provides value added switching services to insurers in the Gulf region. In terms of the agreement we will provide knowledge-driven, higher automation technology and consulting services to Waseel’s customers throughout the Gulf region. Their highly prestigious client base includes NCCI and MedGulf, the largest two medical insurers in the Saudi-Arabian market,” said Collier.
He added that Agility GHS recently completed the first phase of a comprehensive automation project for Daman, the National Health Insurance Company of Abu Dhabi. The insurer covers more than 1,6 million lives representing more than 20% of the population of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As part of a further, more recent engagement – worth more than US$ two million – Agility GHS will also provide technology and services to automate claims, underwriting and authorisations for Daman over the next 12 months.
A fortnight ago Agility GHS signed yet another three year contract to supply risk management technology and services to Oasis Health Network, the first provider network company in the UAE. Oasis Health Network, with a shareholding in the Dr Moopen’s Group, includes seven specialist hospitals, 25 neighbourhood medical centres and 50 pharmacies across the GCC Countries* and India.
Centrally situated in Dubai, Agility GHS’s Middle Eastern operation is headed by Edward Kerby who spent time in Agility’s operations in both Australia and South Africa. “South African healthcare companies are particularly well-positioned to operate globally,” Kerby said. “The success of Agility GHS in the Middle East demonstrates that South African healthcare technology can compete with the finest in the world. Right now the need for a highly versatile healthcare product range and sophisticated healthcare information technology is at its greatest-ever in the Middle East.”
The ongoing implementation of compulsory medical insurance regulation in the GCC Countries* has lead to a substantially increased demand for healthcare insurance systems in the Middle East. It is anticipated that the insured population of Saudi Arabia would exceed 20 million people as the regulations are set to include expatriates as well as Saudi Nationals employed by companies. With the implementation of mandatory medical insurance regulation in the UAE the insured population has grown from less than 100 000 policies in July 2006 to more that 1,8 million policies in the space of less than 24 months.
Despite a delay in the implementation of regulation by the Dubai Health Authority, Dubai-based insurers including Agility GHS, have been active in developing the market. Countries such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman are all implementing similar medical insurance frameworks.
Because of the growing need for high automation solutions by medical insurers Collier firmly believes that South African healthcare technology companies have much to offer the Middle East when it comes to information technology, the structure of our healthcare products and even the way in which claims are settled.
“Long-term success in the international healthcare arena requires considerable insight, an innovative approach and expert skill. These are the qualities that we were founded on.”
“Information technology and expert systems are invaluable in providing healthcare insurers with the necessary information in order for them to make informed decisions. Unless a way is found to translate reliable data into useful information, medical insurers will not be in the position to know what they are managing. This is where Agility GHS comes in – we provide technology and services that increase the revenue and ability to manage risk of healthcare insurers while decreasing operating costs,” concludes Collier.
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