An Interview with Dr. Matthew T. Gettman

Dr. Matthew T. Gettman, M.D., F.A.C.S.,
Chief Medical Officer
Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC)

1. Recently, there has been a heightened focus on the patient experience within the industry. Why do you think that is?

Patients today are more empowered than ever when it comes to their health care and can make more informed decisions. Health care organizations need to go beyond evident improvements in hospital infrastructure and staffing attitudes to deliver a truly patient-centered experience.

At SSMC, patient-centricity is not an externally focused initiative. Instead, it is born out of changing organizational cultures and that is precisely where we root our mission from, as health care professionals. By honing in on what patients need from both a medical and an emotional standpoint, we as a workforce, are better placed to provide quality integrated care for all their needs.

2. How are you working towards better integrating and enhancing the delivery of exceptional patient experience?

We are very much aware that the patients who seek care from us have very particular needs, and as such we operate using a unique model of care carefully crafted for patients to feel understood, cared for and at absolute ease.

SSMC, which is one of the UAE’s largest tertiary hospitals, was established in 2019 to bring integrated human-centric and compassionate care in the GCC, by introducing to the region Mayo Clinic’s unique model of care, which is founded on the three shields of practice, education and research.

The patient’s needs inform everything we do at SSMC, and so we have built processes that involve patients in key decisions, guided by expert physicians, and backed by a multidisciplinary team working relentlessly to provide the highest standard of care.

SSMC’s model of care also provides patients access to a team of locally and internationally trained physicians and allied health staff, who work seamlessly together to offer a Category of One service in health care.

Change is constant, and we must be fluid to better serve our patients. To embrace change means to embrace different solutions, like artificial intelligence, which can be utilized across different medical and administrative areas in complex care to support a smoother and more efficient patient journey.

3. How do you think participants will benefit by attending the session at the 3rd Annual Patient Experience Excellence Congress?

Titled ‘Moving from Task to Touch in the Patient Interaction: Building Trusted Relationships versus Transactions’, my session will delve into ways of connecting with patients on an emotional level to establish a trusted doctor-patient relationship, rather than treating them as just customers who are coming for one-off transactions. Building a genuine connection with them is fundamental to delivering excellent care for any health care provider.

During the session, we will also explore how hospitals can build a culture that promotes holistic and trusted care, leverage staff education to instil a ‘Category of One’ mindset, and equip attendees with tools that will promote patient-centricity.