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How Can Healthcare as a Service Lower Medical Costs for Women in the Gulf Workforce [2024]

Three women in scrub suits smiling and holding a tablet, promoting lower medical costs for women.

Across the world, women are playing a vital role in various industries, including in the GCC. As they balance work, family, and personal commitments, their health remains paramount to fulfilling their roles effectively. However, rising healthcare costs for chronic conditions such as depression or cancer pose a significant barrier to accessibility. Lower medical costs for women are essential to prevent delayed diagnoses, reduce the occurrence and severity of chronic conditions, and avoid either higher insurance premiums or reduced coverage in insurance plans.

This article will discuss how healthcare plans offered as a service lower medical costs for women and ensure accessibility.

Proactive Health Check-ups

Regular health checks are essential for the early detection of health conditions. Ideally, annual health check-ups aim to identify any potential risks.
For chronic illnesses such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, and other prevalent women’s health concerns, regular screenings are crucial.
Different studies indicate that early detection of health-related problems is often lacking, leading to severe physical illnesses and mental health issues.

Access to Women’s Health Specialists

The availability and easy access to affordable, trained professionals such as gynecologists, obstetricians, and other specialists.
Value-based care through partner clinics, hospitals, and purpose-built facilities.
Facilitate emergency appointments and consultation systems.
Studies indicate that some categories of women’s health professionals, such as obstetricians and gynecologists, will become scarce in the future (Rayburn and Xierali, 2021). Prompt action is needed to address this shortage.

Online Health Check-ins

Telemedicine offers convenient access to healthcare professionals worldwide.
Virtual consultations for non-emergency medical issues can save time and resources.
Secure platforms for online prescriptions and follow-up appointments.
Patients report satisfaction and connectivity with doctors through online platforms (Detz et al., 2013).

Designed for Women

Collaborate with insurers to bridge gaps and design benefits tailored to women’s unique healthcare needs.
Coverage for maternity care, contraception, fertility treatments, and preventive services.
Educate employees about available health plans and empower them to make informed choices.
Research indicates that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) faces challenges with healthcare resources due to a large immigrant population and a quadruple disease burden, including communicable and non-communicable diseases, mental health issues, and accidental injuries (Khoja et al., 2017).

Better Health Education and Enhanced Awareness

Comprehensive health education programs on women’s health
Cover topics from reproduction to menopause, including mental and physical health.
Conduct workshops, and webinars, and provide resources to build capacity and capability among professionals.

Wellbeing Programs at Work

Workplace wellbeing initiatives promoting physical and mental health among female employees.
Fitness classes, stress management workshops, and mindfulness sessions.
Help create a supportive environment that encourages healthy lifestyle choices and work-life balance.
Limited evidence exists on workplace health promotion implementation and evaluation in the GCC. A study in a hospital setting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, showed significant improvements in employees’ physical functioning, increased water and fruit consumption, decreased soft drink intake, and reduced absenteeism (Altwaijri et al., 2019).

Support for Pregnancy and New Moms

Provide comprehensive support for pregnant employees and new mothers.
Curate maternity leave policies that meet or exceed legal requirements.
Ensure access to lactation rooms, breastfeeding support, and resources for returning to work.

Mental Health Care and Stress Help

Prioritize mental health support by offering counseling services and resources.
Raise awareness about common mental health issues and reduce stigma.
Foster a culture of empathy and support, encouraging open dialogue about mental well-being.

Innovative Use of Health Data

Harness data analytics to identify health trends and risk factors among female employees.
Maintain strict privacy protocols to safeguard sensitive health information.
Leverage insights to tailor healthcare interventions and improve outcomes effectively

Nabta Health: A Practical Example to Lower Medical Costs for Women

Nabta Health exemplifies innovative and comprehensive solutions to address women’s health needs. Based in Dubai, UAE, our clinic is dedicated to improving health outcomes for women through a holistic care approach. As a healthcare company created for women, by women, we ensure proximity to healthcare facilities, allowing timely access to medical services.

Our collaborations with other institutions enable us to build strong partnerships, enhancing the quality and affordability of healthcare delivery. Nabta Health also offers corporate subscriptions to organizations, optimizing workforce health, reducing healthcare costs, and diversifying the talent pool.

We firmly believe that embracing healthcare as a service fosters a culture of well-being. This not only contributes to a more productive and thriving workforce but also helps lower medical costs for women, ensuring better access to necessary healthcare services for female employees.

References

Altwaijri, Y., Hyder, S., Bilal, L., Naseem, M. T., AlSaqabi, D., AlSuwailem, F., … & DeVol, E. (2019). Evaluating the impact of a workplace wellness Program in Saudi Arabia: An intra-department study. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 61(9), 760-766.

Khoja, T., Rawaf, S., Qidwai, W., Rawaf, D., Nanji, K., & Hamad, A. (2017). Health care in Gulf Cooperation Council countries: a review of challenges and opportunities. Cureus, 9(8).

Detz, A., López, A., & Sarkar, U. (2013). Long-term doctor-patient relationships: patient perspective from online reviews. Journal of medical Internet research, 15(7), e131.

Rayburn, W. F., & Xierali, I. M. (2021). Subspecialization in obstetrics and gynecology: is it affecting the future availability of women’s health specialists?. Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics, 48(4), 737-744.

Hajek, A., Bock, J. O., & König, H. H. (2018). The use of routine health check-ups and psychological factors—a neglected link. Evidence from a population-based study. Journal of Public Health, 26, 137-144.

Ito, M., & Matsushima, E. (2017). Presentation of coping strategies associated with physical and mental health during health check-ups. Community mental health journal, 53, 297-305.

Murray, J.Y. and Zhang-Zhang, Y., 2018. Insights on women’s labor participation in Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Business Horizons, 61(5), pp.711-720.