For Aetna International, their focus on population health management involves helping large governments and large payers improve the infrastructure of their healthcare system to produce better outcomes for patients.
While Aetna International has projects around the world, presently they have a strong focus on the MENA region. Three years ago, Aetna entered into a contract with the Qatari government when the decision was made to set up a public healthcare system. Aetna brought in their health management system and, along with a local partner, they set in place their national healthcare system.
Even with the last few years of turmoil in the MENA region in the areas of infrastructure and government, Aetna has realized the forward progress made in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman, and Bahrain in terms of changing the agenda when it comes to healthcare infrastructure. One of the main concentrations is on cost control.
Some of the trends noted were:
- Accountable Care Organizations, which have worked very well for Aetna
- People compiling data accurately
- Individuals are beginning to see a shift of healthcare away from hospitals and traditional facilities
In regard to challenges, according to Dr. Khemka, “The biggest single challenge that we are seeing is how to continue to finance these populations that are getting older and that need more care appropriately. With care becoming more expensive, that is the conundrum that we are trying to crack.” He followed with comments and advice for the industry: “Think lean, think light, think about things which we need to differentiate and gain immediate impact.”
Finally, in terms of medical tourism, Dr. Khemka reported that one of the major factors holding the industry back is that people involved in medical tourism really need to take a more in-depth look at the cultural barriers. Once that is more fully understood, he expects medical travel to be on the rise.