Dr. Alya Saif Al Mazrouei

CEO of Clemenceau Medical Center Hospital in Dubai (CMC Hospital Dubai)

“CMC Hospital Dubai’s mission is to provide a flawless and holistic medical experience in a boutique environment”

Hospitals Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Dr Alya Saif Al Mazrouei, the UAE’s first female Emirati CEO of a private hospital, and explore her healthcare philosophy and vision for the hospital. Read the full interview below. 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Certainly! I completed my Bachelor’s in Surgery and Medicine from the Dubai Medical College for Girls and was fortunate enough to pursue my post-graduate studies in visceral surgery and pancreatic islets transplantation at  the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland. I then began my career as a specialist surgeon in Rashid Hospital before becoming a consultant surgeon and being appointed as the CEO in 2014, a position I occupied until 2019. Subsequently, I took on the responsibility of leading Mubadala Health’s Imperial College London Diabetes Centre from 2019 to 2022, before joining CMC hospital Dubai as CEO. 

You’ve had a successful medical career, so what encouraged you to become a hospital administrator? Do you think your prior experience practicing medicine gave you an advantage? 

I started practicing medicine at Rashid Hospital where I specialized in surgery and a constant concern I had revolved around the patient’s healthcare experience and how to elevate the standard of care they experience. Training in multiple environments gave me considerable exposure to different healthcare systems and best practices and left me with a deep appreciation for healthcare management. In 2014, I saw an opportunity to leverage my experience while pursuing my appreciation for hospital administration and apply my healthcare philosophy. It was quite fortuitous this opportunity happened to first be as Rashid Hospital’s CEO and then as Mubadala Health’s Imperial College London Diabetes Centre’s Acting Executive Director. 

As a physician, I witnessed time and again the challenges patients experienced and learned how to empathize with them at their most vulnerable, understand what they were looking for and how best to provide it. This, combined with the many challenges I saw physicians experiencing, highlighted to me that an effective hospital administrator necessitated a granular understanding of the healthcare environment. 

Given these diverse experiences over the course of your career, what challenges have you faced in your professional life, and how did you overcome that?

Being a woman in a field traditionally dominated by men has not come without its challenges. That being said, living and working in the UAE, I have been lucky to be part of a community that values the unique perspectives of all its members, regardless of gender, and a country that has made great strides towards gender parity and women’s social, political and economic empowerment. 

You mentioned your healthcare philosophy. Could you tell us a little more about that vision and philosophy?

​My philosophy can be summarized as a patient-centered approach to healthcare designed to provide holistic care and a satisfying patient journey. What I am striving to achieve is ensuring that all my patients receive the best possible standard of care through world-leading experts and cutting-edge equipment and treatment options. As medical professionals, our ultimate objective is maximizing our patient’s well-being. I just don’t think that is possible without adopting this philosophy.  

Patients are the centrepiece of everything I work towards, and providing them with the best standard of care requires giving due care to their mental and physical health alike. My vision is to have others recognize this and for it to become the gold standard in the UAE. 

What are CMC hospital Dubai’s mission and vision? And how do you intend to achieve them? 

CMC hospital Dubai’s mission is to provide a flawless and holistic medical experience in a boutique environment maximizing the quality of life for patients seeking bespoke and innovative treatment options from world-renowned medical professionals. I intend to achieve this by implementing a three-fold approach.  

First, by explicitly focusing on the patient’s quality of life through a holistic approach that accounts for mental health and gives due attention to the role of family in recovery. Second, by using digitalized healthcare to increase the patient’s convenient access to healthcare and follow-ups while simultaneously drawing on tech-enabled healthcare to ensure patients enjoy the most cutting-edge and innovative medical procedures maximizing their quality of life. Third, by elevating our already established track record of operational excellence and developing a superior level of satisfaction our patients have come to enjoy in our luxury boutique environment. 

Ultimately, my vision is to ensure CMC Hospital Dubai becomes the leading healthcare provider in the region and have it set the new benchmark for the ultimate standard of care.

You’ve noted the importance of patient journeys in healthcare, so how are you implementing your commitment to patient journeys at CMC Hospital Dubai?

I’m glad you asked that question. Patient journey refers to the totality of the patient’s medical experience, beginning with them seeking medical care and continuing long after their medical discharge to include accessing test results, scheduling follow-up appointments, and ongoing monitoring of vital signs. 

We are already known for our stellar administrative oversight, the high calibre of our medical professionals, award-winning Centres of Excellence, and partnership with John Hopkins Medicine International (JHMI). But what truly sets us apart is the flawless patient journeys we provide, from the accessibility to healthcare our patients experience to our focus on holistic medical care and well-being, and our increasing investments in innovation and digitalization which is part of our commitment to providing the most advanced treatment options. 

Our patients know they will receive the best standard of care available in a comfortable and boutique luxury environment without any frustrations or delays, and that’s why they seek CMC Hospital Dubai as their facility of choice.

Could you tell us about the medical professionals and specialties CMC Hospital Dubai has on offer? 

It might be better to ask what’s not available. As of now, CMC Hospital Dubai has 128 full-time physicians working in 54 specialties and clinics. Our physicians are devoted to tech-enabled healthcare and regularly deploy cutting-edge procedures to provide patients with optimal health outcomes. For example, our staff have collectively performed 6000 robotic surgeries over the course of their medical careers which have resulted in better surgical outcomes relative to their non-robotic counterparts.

The breadth of our expertise enables us to provide patients with a one-stop suite of services. This means we can cover all of our patients’ medical needs under one roof and, where needed, provide a multidisciplinary treatment plan accounting for the range of possible risk factors. Two such examples include our Breast Care Unit and Diabetes Unit.

I should highlight that the breadth of our expertise is matched only by its depth. Some of the unique specializations we have include Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine, Electrophysiology, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatric Oncology and Hematology. We’re also proud to be one of the few hospitals able to perform Whipple Procedures, Corneal Transplants, Retinoblastoma, Shoulder Replacements, MRI-Guided Breast Biopsies, vNOTES Scarless Gynecology, Coronary Physiology and Imaging, complex coronary ablation, as well as Interventional Radiology Procedures for oft-undiagnosed conditions including Pelvic Congestion Syndrome.

Technology is permeating all sectors and healthcare is no exception, so how do you ensure you’re always ahead of the curve and that CMC Hospital Dubai is not falling behind?

That’s a great question! I’m a big proponent of drawing on innovation and using technology for more effective treatments and a better medical experience, and there’s a huge potential for tech-enabled healthcare.

Let me showcase two areas where we’ve done just that. The first of these is what I call digitalized healthcare, which incorporates technological advances to increase patients’ convenient access to healthcare while simultaneously enabling medical professionals to remotely monitor and engage with their patients. Some of the most prominent examples include telehealth consultations and remote monitoring devices.

The second area focuses on leveraging innovative technologies for more effective diagnostic equipment and treatment options. I’m proud to say that we are one of the few hospitals to have one of the most advanced imaging machines, the 3 Tesla MRI. Furthermore, we have invested in our innovative treatment offerings, such as high-intensity focused ultrasound for prostate cancer, which we expect to soon start treating patients with. In addition, we have the state-of-the-art robotic surgical platform, the Da Vinci XI, which we’ve used for over 500 surgeries so far.

What exciting projects does CMC Hospital Dubai have on the horizon?

In the coming months and years, we will continue focusing on improving our patient experience, one of our initiatives being to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ mobile app, increasing the ease, accessibility and convenience available to our patients. We will increase our investments in our robotics and innovations to keep pace with the rapid rate of technology advancements as we continue prioritizing maximizing our patients’ quality of life and pursue a holistic approach to medical care. 

In addition to this, we are the only private hospital in the GCC to have a visiting physician program with JHMI which provides patients with rare and complex conditions treatment by physicians who have globally acclaimed expertise.

We’ll soon be looking to host experts specialized in Spine Treatment, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, neurology, cardiology, and plastic surgery.

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