Health authorities in Qatar have been charged to ensure that the local population and the global community reap the benefits of the newly launched Academic Health System (AHS), which is being described as an “important initiative”.
The Hamad Medical Corporation on Monday launched the new initiative, under the patronage of HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, which aims to bring globally-recognised healthcare facilities, medical education institutions and research programmes to the country.
It is also expected to change the face of healthcare being provided by the corporation.
“The launch of the AHS is just the beginning and much remains to be done to ensure that the Qatari population and the global community reap the benefits of this important initiative. Whether you are a patient, healthcare worker, academic, politician, community leader or member of the public we encourage you to engage with this initiative, which has the potential to transform the healthcare service in Qatar and will ultimately touch the lives of you all,” two notable medical academic experts have observed.
In a joint forward address during the official launch of AHS, Association of Academic Health Centres president and chief executive officer, Dr Steven A Wartman, and HMC’s AHS chief policy adviser, Professor Edward Hillhouse, stated that : “In recent years, there has been renewed global interest in the role of Academic Health Centres (AHCs) in leading the transformation of health services through an integrated approach to clinical practice, education and research. A quick glance at the national and global league tables for hospital and medical school performance will testify to the success of this approach.”
They explained that the AHC has focused on the medical care domain and largely ignored the wider factors influencing population health such as social circumstances, environmental conditions and behavioural choice.
“This narrow focus is, in part, a reflection of the one dimensional nature of many of our health professions schools within the AHC.
Citing as example, they mentioned that schools of public health have long recognised the need to place more attention on the social determinants of health, but the lack of emphasis on inter-professional education and training has limited their impact on the programmes of other schools.
“If AHCs are to be leading organisations of the future, they must be more effective in achieving this expanded mission. This may be best achieved through a deeper engagement with their communities by developing AHSs that embrace this inter-professional approach and foster this relationship. This is the approach that is being taken in Qatar through a national partnership of academic institutions and healthcare providers,” the experts pointed out.
They explained further that in the education realm, recognition of the need for substantive curricular change is growing.
“For example, the new “Genes to Society” curriculum at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine includes a special “societal component” that emphasises how individual patient phenotypes may affect the family or community. Similarly, the increasing emphasis on inter-professional health education speaks to the development of a new paradigm for care delivery where well-trained, flexible healthcare teams deliver patient-focused programmes of care.”
“AHCs must take the lead in recalibrating their educational programmes to target evolving societal and patient needs. Similarly with regard to research there is an absolute requirement for a multidisciplinary team approach if we are to leverage the benefits of recent advances in basic and clinical science.”
They maintained that patient and public participation in research must be encouraged and should be viewed as a philanthropic act that will have lasting benefits for our children and the generations to come.
“The ultimate quest is to improve health outcomes both for the individual and for the population. This can only be achieved by developing an adaptable, flexible and skilled healthcare workforce that is equipped for the challenges of the 21st century and able to seek innovative solutions to our many pressing healthcare problems,” they noted.
“A number of institutions across the globe have widened the AHC concept to embrace their communities through establishing AHSs but this is the first attempt to pull together all of a nation’s academic and healthcare providers without exception, into a single partnership working to a shared vision and strategic plan.”
“In this respect, Qatar is leading the way and the launch of the AHS Initiative under the patronage of HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser should be celebrated as a landmark moment in the history of the nation,” the experts acknowledged.
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