Revolutionizing patient care through a customer-centered approach that leverages innovation

In almost two years, AAR Hospital has made a remarkable impact on the healthcare landscape in Kenya, setting new benchmarks for excellence. Guided by a patient-centered philosophy, this innovative institution is transforming the healthcare experience by prioritizing the dignity, care, and holistic wellness of its patients. At the helm of this transformation is Dr. Ken Muma, the CEO, leading the way with a customer-centered approach and a commitment to innovation.

Dr. Muma explains, “AAR Hospital is part of Hospital Holdings Investment (HHI), a group that also owns AAR Healthcare clinics across Kenya. These clinics are strategically located throughout the country, including in Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru, Mombasa, and various suburbs of Nairobi.

“Our unique approach was to establish the clinics first, providing primary and secondary care services, and then complementing them with a hospital to complete the care journey for our patients.”

This innovative strategy sets AAR Hospital apart from traditional healthcare institutions. By having a network of clinics, the organization ensures that patients have access to comprehensive care throughout their healthcare journey. This integrated approach not only improves convenience for patients but also enables seamless continuity of care from the clinics to the hospital.

Specialist clinics for comprehensive care

Specialist clinics play a pivotal role in AAR Hospital’s commitment to comprehensive and specialized care. These clinics go beyond traditional services, offering patients convenient appointment-based access to a wide range of medical expertise. By embracing a multidisciplinary approach, AAR Hospital ensures that patients receive comprehensive care tailored to their specific needs.

From the ongoing management of chronic and complex conditions to obstetrics and gynecology care, AAR Hospital’s specialist clinics offer a diverse spectrum of medical services. The hospital’s dedication to providing high-quality care is further complemented by its state-of-the-art diagnostic facilities, including laboratory and imaging services. This comprehensive approach guarantees accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for patients.

AAR Hospital’s unwavering commitment to specialized care is exemplified by its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) staffed by a team of dedicated neonatologists, offering round-the-clock coverage for newborns requiring special attention and treatment. This specialized unit ensures that infants in critical conditions receive the utmost care and support.

The imaging department at AAR Hospital boasts advanced technology and services that enable accurate and precise diagnostic procedures. From digital MRI and CT scans to X-ray services, mammography, and interventional radiology procedures, the hospital’s imaging department is equipped to meet a diverse range of diagnostic needs. This commitment to cutting-edge technology ensures that patients receive the most effective and efficient treatment options available.

AAR Hospital is committed to providing exceptional care across all areas, including its critical care units. The ICU is meticulously designed to cater to the complex medical needs of critically ill patients, offering round-the-clock medical and nursing care. With 12 beds dedicated to intensive care, the hospital ensures that patients in critical conditions receive the specialized attention they require. The adjacent High Dependency Unit (HDU) complements the ICU by providing a step-down environment for patients as they progress toward stability.

Dr. Muma emphasizes the advanced features of the hospital’s ICU and theater space, specifically tailored to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He states, “The construction of our ICU was completed just in time, allowing us to effectively manage COVID patients without the need for major changes in patient flow.”

“The rooms in the ICU are equipped with negative pressure systems, which continuously draw out air from the room once a COVID patient is inside and the doors are locked. This minimizes the risk of cross-contamination and ensures a safer environment for both patients and healthcare workers,” he explains.

In addition to the advanced ventilation systems, the ICU is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment designed for non-touch operation. Dr. Muma highlights the use of glass materials in the hospital, stating, “We have made extensive use of glass materials, which may seem basic but represent cutting-edge innovation in medical technology.”

“These features not only contribute to a more efficient and hygienic environment but also demonstrate the hospital’s commitment to incorporating the latest advancements in medical technology.”

Dr. Muma emphasizes that the implementation of these advanced features sets AAR Hospital apart from many other healthcare facilities in Kenya. He states, “It’s important to note that only a limited number of hospitals in Kenya have implemented these advanced features.” This highlights the hospital’s dedication to delivering exceptional care and its commitment to staying at the forefront of medical innovation.

Seamless integration for enhanced convenience

Seamless integration of clinic and hospital systems lies at the heart of patient-centered care, according to Dr. Muma. Recognizing the importance of convenience for patients, AAR Hospital has prioritized the integration of its clinic and hospital systems.

“One aspect of patient-centered care is creating convenience for the patient by integrating clinic systems with hospital systems,” Dr. Muma states. This integration allows for a direct admission process from the clinic to the ward, with patient data readily accessible. The benefits of this seamless integration are significant.

“By integrating these systems, AAR Hospital creates convenience for patients and enhances their overall experience,” Dr. Muma notes. Doctors in the ward can instantly access patient information without the need for referrals, ensuring efficient and continuous care.

“This eliminates the need to refer back to the clinic and streamlines the process, reducing administrative burdens.”

The primary goal of this integration is to solve logistical challenges for patients. “By seamlessly admitting patients from the clinic to the ward, AAR Hospital allows patients to focus on rest and recovery, free from administrative worries,” Dr. Muma emphasizes.

“Moreover, this smooth admission process ensures continuity of care among the healthcare community, enabling collaboration and effective treatment.”

In today’s rapidly evolving healthcare landscape, thriving as a hospital health system poses significant challenges. However, AAR Hospital has adopted a visionary approach that extends beyond being just a hospital.

Dr. Muma explains, “Our focus is on providing a complete healthcare solution for the community, which includes hospital clinics. We strive to integrate the hospital seamlessly into this comprehensive vision.”

Recognizing the pivotal role of technology, AAR Hospital leverages it to forge closer connections with the community. Dr. Muma highlights, “Through technology, we can engage with patients even before their visit, from booking appointments to following up on their meal plans and preventive healthcare strategies.” This proactive engagement empowers patients and enhances their overall experience.

The integration of information into the health system is paramount, with information technology and data playing crucial roles. Dr. Muma emphasizes, “Investing in technology is a significant undertaking, and practicality and usability for both patients and staff are vital considerations. Monitoring tools are essential for measuring the return on investment for these facilities.”

To remain at the forefront of innovation, collaboration becomes key. AAR Hospital actively seeks partnerships with like-minded individuals and institutions. Dr. Muma cites their current partnership with M-Tiba, stating, “By partnering with organizations such as M-Tiba, we can complete the cycle of care by bringing together insurance providers, payers, and healthcare providers on a single platform.” This collaboration fosters effective communication, builds trust, and enables the accomplishment of various initiatives to enhance the patient experience.

Promoting wellness and dignity

AAR Hospital goes above and beyond in its efforts to promote the wellness and dignity of its patients. One notable aspect of this commitment is reflected in the thoughtful naming of its wards in Swahili. According to Dr. Muma, this decision serves a dual purpose that is both symbolic and practical.

“First, it reinforces the hospital’s African identity, making a powerful statement to competitors and investors,” Dr. Muma notes. By incorporating Swahili names, AAR Hospital embraces its cultural roots and proudly showcases its African heritage. This not only sets the institution apart but also sends a message of authenticity and connection to the local community.

“Secondly, the ward names are carefully chosen to promote wellness, happiness, and dignity, moving away from traditional associations with sickness,” Dr. Muma explains. Instead of relying on clinical terms or generic labels, AAR Hospital intentionally selects names that evoke positive emotions and convey a sense of dignity.

“These names create an environment that fosters a healing atmosphere and emphasizes the overall well-being of patients.”

The thoughtful naming of wards in Swahili at AAR Hospital reflects a unique approach to patient care. By embracing its African identity and choosing names that promote wellness and dignity, the hospital demonstrates its commitment to providing a holistic healing experience.

Dr. Muma emphasizes the hospital’s patient-centered philosophy, stating, “Our hospital stands out because it was built with a patient-centered philosophy in mind. Unlike many other facilities that prioritize the convenience of care providers, our hospital was designed from the perspective of the patient.”

Dr. Muma further explains, “From the moment a patient walks in, we want them to feel dignified and cared for, even in their sickness. We have created a spacious and well-lit environment with soothing background music to promote a sense of wellness and comfort.”

The hospital’s approach extends beyond treating sickness to focusing on nurturing the patients’ overall well-being. Dr. Muma highlights their belief in “compassionomics,” which involves understanding the patient’s experience and providing compassionate and holistic care.

Operational aspects also play a vital role in patient-centered care at AAR Hospital. Dr. Muma states, “One aspect is creating a welcoming and comfortable environment, free from the typical smells and clutter associated with hospitals. Our wards are designed to accommodate patients’ relatives, allowing them to stay with the patient throughout their stay.”

Recognizing the value of communal involvement, the hospital actively engages patients’ relatives and guardians in the decision-making process.

Dr. Muma emphasizes the importance of shared decision-making, stating, “We believe that involving relatives and guardians in decision-making leads to better outcomes and reduces potential litigation. Whether it’s discussing a meal plan or making complex medical decisions, we strive to include patients, their relatives, and guardians in the decision-making process for their care.”

AAR Hospital’s commitment to promoting patients’ wellness and dignity encompasses both the physical design of the facility and the operational aspects of care delivery. By prioritizing the patient’s experience and involving their loved ones in decision-making, the hospital fosters a compassionate and inclusive environment that goes beyond treating sickness to nurturing overall well-being.

Epitomizing the power of values in healthcare delivery

At AAR Hospital, patient care is guided by a strong set of values that permeate every aspect of the institution. The core principles of Compassion, Accountability, Professionalism, Integrity, Teamwork, Agility, and Efficiency form the foundation of the hospital’s vision. According to Dr. Muma, these values extend beyond specific roles within the healthcare system.

Dr. Muma emphasizes, “We all have a significant responsibility towards patients, regardless of our roles within the healthcare system. Whether it’s doctors, nurses, finance personnel, or even the cleaners, everyone contributes to the ultimate goal of achieving positive patient outcomes.” This inclusive approach highlights the collective commitment of every individual to delivering exceptional care.

Continuous learning and staying updated with the latest advancements and best practices are crucial for AAR Hospital. Dr. Muma states, “Therefore, it is essential to continuously seek knowledge and stay updated with the latest advancements and best practices. This ensures that we are delivering care in the most effective, efficient, and cost-effective manner possible.” By prioritizing ongoing education and embracing innovations, the hospital strives to provide the highest quality of care to its patients.

Ensuring transparency in hiring practices is another priority for AAR Hospital. Dr. Muma emphasizes, “We focus on competence and ideas rather than external factors when selecting candidates. Thorough background checks are conducted to verify the integrity of potential hires.” By prioritizing merit and integrity, the hospital aims to build a trustworthy and capable workforce.

Investing in people is a fundamental aspect of AAR Hospital’s approach. Dr. Muma explains, “We provide training to ensure they understand expectations and ethical guidelines. We have clear policies and reporting systems in place to address any ethical concerns or instances of fraud.” By empowering employees with the necessary knowledge and resources, the hospital fosters a culture of professionalism and ethical conduct.

Accountability is a vital component of AAR Hospital’s governance structure. Dr. Muma describes the measures in place, stating, “Accountability is maintained through a governance structure, including board members and shareholders, as well as an independent audit committee. Internal audits are conducted to monitor and maintain controls.” These mechanisms ensure transparency and integrity in the hospital’s operations.

The adoption of a paperless and cashless system further enhances accountability and minimizes corruption risks. Dr. Muma highlights, “Adopting a paperless and cashless system helps minimize corruption by reducing the reliance on physical cash transactions. Reporting standards are upheld, and mechanisms are implemented to address and prevent repeat incidents of fraud, should they occur.” By leveraging technology and implementing robust controls, AAR Hospital upholds its commitment to ethical practices and financial integrity.

Through its values-driven approach, continuous learning, transparent hiring practices, investments in people, and strong accountability measures, AAR Hospital demonstrates its dedication to providing exceptional care while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and ethical conduct.

Triumphing over challenges and seizing opportunities in the journey of success

In its nascent stages, AAR Hospital has encountered various challenges, including a tough business environment and economic constraints. Dr. Muma acknowledges the difficulties faced over the past two years, emphasizing the need to overcome these obstacles. He states, “We have focused on getting things started and overcoming initial hurdles.”

One major challenge for the hospital is the implementation of sustainable practices. Dr. Muma highlights the financial investment required, stating, “Installing solar panels and establishing a water recycling plant involves significant financial investment.” Despite the financial challenges, AAR Hospital recognizes the importance of these investments for long-term environmental sustainability. Dr. Muma emphasizes the need to address resistance to change and encourage staff and individuals to actively participate in conservation efforts.

To facilitate sustainable practices, AAR Hospital has employed technological solutions. Dr. Muma suggests the use of automated lights that don’t rely on manual switching as a way to substitute human behavior.

However, he admits that “it’s important to consider that technological alternatives also come with their own costs and considerations. Balancing financial investment, human behavior, and technological solutions is necessary to achieve sustainable outcomes.”

AAR Hospital is committed to its growth and development despite the challenges it faces. The hospital is working towards obtaining AFC accreditation, a significant milestone that signifies approval from international bodies. Dr. Muma highlights the importance of this accreditation, stating, “This accreditation is crucial for us to establish a seal of approval for our services.”

To achieve AFC accreditation, AAR Hospital recognizes the need to streamline processes and leverage technology. Dr. Muma emphasizes this point, saying, “We believe that streamlining processes and leveraging technology can help us achieve this goal.” By optimizing operations and embracing digital advancements, the hospital aims to enhance its overall efficiency and effectiveness, aligning with its vision of providing exceptional healthcare services that meet global standards.

In addition to pursuing accreditation, AAR Hospital is exploring potential partnerships with SafeCare initiatives. Dr. Muma explains, “We are exploring the possibility of partnering with SafeCare initiatives to introduce safe care services by the end of this year.” This initiative demonstrates the hospital’s commitment to expanding its services and meeting the evolving needs of its patients.

Our focus is on providing a complete healthcare solution for the community, which includes hospital clinics. We strive to integrate the hospital seamlessly into this comprehensive vision

Dr. Ken Muma- CEO, AAR Hospital


The hospital acknowledges the significance of global standards and accreditations. Dr. Muma highlights that these certifications establish trust and credibility, enabling meaningful engagements with various stakeholders.

He states, “Being accredited by these global standards allows us to establish relationships with other institutions and bodies, some of which require specific certifications to engage in business or collaborate with us.”

AAR Hospital’s dedication to quality and excellence is evident through the certifications received by several clinics within the organization. Dr. Muma proudly mentions, “Several clinics within our organization have already received certifications, totaling around four or five clinics.” These certifications not only instill quality processes but also enhance the hospital’s reputation as they are recognized and approved by external bodies.

As AAR Hospital strives for growth and development, its pursuit of AFC accreditation, partnerships with SafeCare initiatives, and adherence to global standards reflect its commitment to providing exceptional healthcare and establishing itself as a trusted institution in the industry.

Sustainable solutions: AAR Hospital’s initiatives for a greener and healthier future

As a member of the Muthaiga North Residents’ Association, AAR Hospital is deeply committed to environmental sustainability and community engagement. Driven by their vision of creating a greener future, they have implemented various initiatives that promote good environmental practices.

Dr. Muma highlights one of their key accomplishments, stating, “We have implemented solar energy generation, which covers about 20 to 30% of our energy needs. This helps reduce our reliance on non-renewable energy sources.” By harnessing the power of solar energy, AAR Hospital takes an important step toward minimizing its environmental footprint.

In addition to its solar energy project, AAR Hospital has also prioritized water conservation through its innovative water recycling plant. Dr. Muma explains, “We have a water recycling plant that treats greywater, enabling us to reuse it for gardening purposes. This practice allows us to conserve water resources.” By responsibly managing water usage, AAR Hospital actively contributes to sustainable water management.

Taking its commitment further, AAR Hospital has implemented a facilities checklist to train their staff on responsible practices within their spaces. Dr. Muma notes, “Last year, we introduced a facilities checklist to train our staff on responsible practices such as shutting down laptops, switching off lights, and promptly reporting any leaks or malfunctioning equipment.” By fostering a culture of responsibility, AAR Hospital ensures that everyone plays a part in their sustainability efforts.

Beyond its premises, AAR Hospital actively collaborates with the local community and engages its staff to extend their positive impact. Dr. Muma emphasizes, “We aim to honor Wangari Maathai’s legacy by actively participating in initiatives related to conservation, such as preserving the nearby Karura Forest. As we continue to grow, we aspire to make a meaningful difference in our neighborhood and beyond.”

Through community engagement, AAR Hospital strives to create lasting environmental change and contribute to a healthier ecosystem.

AAR Hospital’s unwavering optimism in Kenya’s healthcare industry

Despite the challenges inherent in the healthcare industry, AAR Hospital’s CEO, Dr. Muma, remains optimistic about the future prospects for healthcare in Kenya. Recognizing the potential for growth and innovation, he envisions a promising path ahead for the organization.

Dr. Muma acknowledges the evolving landscape, stating, “In the past, our focus was on improving access to care, followed by a shift towards quality. However, the challenge arose when quality was pursued without considering the associated costs, which does not define value.” He emphasizes the importance of finding a balance between providing quality care and being mindful of costs to ensure sustainable funding without burdening patients financially.

Technology emerges as a key enabler in achieving this balance, as Dr. Muma explains, “Technology can play a crucial role in achieving this balance by leveraging the knowledge we have gained over the past few decades.” By leveraging technological advancements, AAR Hospital aims to deliver cost-conscious healthcare without compromising on the defined parameters of quality.

Dr. Muma’s optimism extends beyond technological advancements. He observes a growing interest and investment in the healthcare space in Kenya, which further reinforces the potential for improvement. He states, “I am optimistic about the future and the progress we can make in delivering cost-conscious healthcare within defined parameters of quality.”

Looking ahead, AAR Hospital has ambitious plans to expand its reach and services. Dr. Muma shares, “Our future plans involve doubling the number of clinics and potentially expanding with additional hospitals. The goal is to create a comprehensive network where patients can access a wide range of healthcare services under one roof, fostering a sense of community and convenience.”

This feature appeared in the June 2022 issue of Healthcare Middle East & Africa. You can read this and the entire magazine HERE