Qatar is set to witness further advances in its healthcare sector with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between General Electric Company and Qatar Foundation yesterday.
The MoU will build a partnership between GE and Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) to develop and deliver next-generation healthcare technologies and build local research and development capabilities aligned with regional and global healthcare needs.
Highlighting the significance of the partnership, H H Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, said: “Through Qatar Science and Technology Park we have an inspired and dynamic relationship with GE. Our work together to research and develop innovative solutions in medical technology is an essential element of Qatar’s drive to create one of the most exciting clusters of scientific expertise in the world today.”
GE Healthcare and Qatar Foundation will expand GE Healthcare’s IT business in the Middle East and Africa through the creation of a joint venture headquartered at QSTP. The joint venture will develop healthcare IT solutions specifically adapted to meet local needs and provide marketing, sales and distribution services in partnership with GE Healthcare’s existing infrastructure across the region.
The new company will establish healthcare IT product development, training and education facilities at the GE Advanced Technology and Research Center (GE ATRC) at QSTP. Combining GE Healthcare’s world-class offerings in Healthcare IT with Qatar Foundation’s local knowledge and expertise will enable the new company to accelerate the development of technologies such as electronic medical records and clinical enterprise solutions specifically tailored to the needs of the region. The company will be equally owned by GE Healthcare and the Qatar Foundation, and will aim at achieving over $200m of annual revenues in the next five to seven years.
GE Healthcare and Qatar Foundation will also establish a jointly-funded research and development venture.
Initially, the venture will fund the acceleration and expansion of a number of GE Healthcare’s existing R&D programmes, primarily in the fields of digital x-ray technology and molecular imaging. These R&D programmes will focus on the development of new products and technologies that meet the needs of healthcare providers both locally and globally. Ultimately, the joint venture intends to build local R&D capabilities at the GE ATRC in Doha. The joint venture will be equally owned by GE Healthcare and Qatar Foundation, with a projected budget in excess of $400m over its first five years.
“The partnership is consistent with GE’s vision of helping solve some of the world’s toughest challenges and builds on our long-term relationships in the Middle East. It’s a great business opportunity for GE in a growing market with a great partner. Combining GE Healthcare’s global reach and strong healthcare offerings with Qatar Foundation’s local expertise and commitment to technological investment will allow us to capitalise on significant opportunities in the region and to enable better health through the development of new technologies,” said GE Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt.
Reinaldo Garcia, President and CEO of GE Healthcare EMEA, said: “This partnership brings together two world-class organisations with a common vision for improving access to the very best in healthcare in Qatar and across the Middle East. Qatar Foundation is a leading investor in some of the region’s most ambitious healthcare, education and technology research projects. We are delighted to be partnering with such a forward-looking organisation which has a deep commitment to healthcare research and education and is committed to the provision of clinical care of the highest international standards.”
“First-class healthcare based on the latest medical technologies is a legacy that Qatar aims to leave for future generations. Our model is simple: Work with the best partners to bring the best health technologies to our shores, and in the process learn how to innovate and develop solutions ourselves. Our partnership with GE Healthcare will dramatically accelerate our advance toward that ambitious goal,” said Dr Tidu Maini, Executive Chairman of QSTP.
With a budget of $2.9bn allocated for health in 2008/9, investment in healthcare is a key priority for Qatar. As well as significantly increasing the number of hospital beds and expanding associated facilities for diagnosis and treatment, Qatar intends to implement a pioneering e-health programme across its hospitals and clinics nationwide. This e-health programme will include the introduction of an electronic health record (e-HR) for every citizen of Qatar, with the objective of improving quality of patient treatment while simultaneously reducing overall administration costs. It is anticipated that by 2011, 80 percent of clinicians in Qatar will have access to the e-HR.
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