For Abdullah Almana, Executive Board Member of the Almana Group of Hospitals, his top priority is simple and reflects a commitment to top-quality health care.
“We prioritize the patient above everything,” Almana tells The CEO Magazine. “Patient care above anything else; patient quality of life is our paramount aspiration to achieve.”
Almana Group of Hospitals has a long and distinguished history of serving patients in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, where its facilities predate those of the health ministry. The firm – founded in 1949 by Shaikh Mohammad bin Abdullah Almana – operates a network of hospitals in Eastern Province and is hoping to expand into the other parts of the kingdom.
“It’s a legacy that I’m trying to continue building on, and to grow,” Almana says.
“Patient care above anything else; patient quality of life is our paramount aspiration to achieve.”
That legacy includes upholding high standards, embracing new technologies and promoting a culture of innovation. Almana speaks of values, which have guided the company for seven decades and will continue guiding it through its impressive expansion. Putting the patient at the center of everything is the priority.
“Patient-focused excellence ensures innovation and adaptation for a world class experience across all patient-facing areas,” Almana says.
Key to ensuring excellence, he says, are “the values of trust, demonstrating ability, reliability and strength to build equity and value of the brand, integrity to keep our work and deliver honest, ethical and transparent action and services. We ensure we do this with care, compassion and collaboration, and have a strong determination to deliver excellence, care and support to our patients and customers.”
These core values are part of the company creed, he continues, “and we follow them closely”.
Almana General Hospital was the first private hospital in Eastern Province, geographically the largest of Saudi Arabia’s 13 provinces and its third most populous. It has expanded to operate tertiary hospitals and outpatient centers, as well as operate hospitals for third parties.
Along the way, it has always invested in state-of-the-art equipment and technology and employed the best healthcare professionals.
Innovation over recent years is evident in the upcoming inauguration of the largest, private oncology center in the Kingdom and a new facility in Aziziya near Dammam Corniche providing access and services to nearby areas such as Qatif.
“Human capital is the most difficult thing, to find qualified members to be part of the team.”
The expansion of private medical services is important, Almana says, as it relieves pressure on the government-run health system, where waiting lists can be long. Both sectors, he adds, complement each other.
The opportunities are expansive as Saudi Arabia boasts a young population and the government is attempting to diversify the economy and reduce its dependence on petroleum. The government has unveiled Saudi Vision 2030 as a plan for sustainable development and diversification in sectors such as education, technology, tourism, infrastructure and health.
Almana fully supports the initiative, saying in an October tweet: “Proud of our Group’s growth and partnership with public and private sectors and looking forward to more diversification in line with #SaudiVision2030.”
But there are challenges in expansion and reaching the company and country’s goals. The training and recruiting of medical professionals top the list for Almana.
“Human capital is the most difficult thing, to find qualified members and skilled labor to be part of the team,” he says. “It’s easy to build buildings and get them commissioned with the equipment and everything. But manning it is the main issue.”
Almana has always placed a priority on learning and self-improvement throughout his business career.
“Every day, I learn something new,” he says.
“Every interaction I have with my colleagues, our affiliates, business partners and clients, I learn new things in developing better health care and improving the quality of life for patients.”
“This industry is always evolving and developing,” he says, “So care providers always need to be monitoring new developments in the healthcare sector. Every interaction I have with my colleagues, our affiliates, business partners and clients, I learn new things in developing better health care and improving the quality of life for patients.”
Almana Group has stayed on top of cutting-edge technology and trends through its close relationships with suppliers. Almana says the relationships are built on “mutual respect” and “delivering what we commit to”.
He explains: “Saudi care providers support each other and the business, and contribute together into building the business by battling the big challenges together and supporting each other with a sense of partnership that is built on mutual respect.” Almana also attends various conferences, symposiums, trade fairs and similar short courses to be updated on recent market trends.
It’s the building of win–win relationships, which has facilitated impressive growth.
Under Almana’s leadership, Almana Group of Hospitals has positioned itself apart from other players in the industry.
He mentions its sister companies in the healthcare sector, which include a trading arm and college and assembly line for medical equipment. “That’s how we differentiate,” he says. Almana also has a construction company, which builds its hospitals and universities and collaborates with various government ministries.
“We are strong believers in digital transformation.”
“We are strong believers in digital transformation. We have significantly invested into digitally transforming our facilities,” he shares, adding his company boasts “the smartest hospital in the Eastern Province”.
“We have a good data collection process to better understand our processes. This has enabled us to improve our efficiency, which has led to providing the best quality available to the patients.”