Dubai Healthcare City plans wellness clusters Filed on March 6, 2014

Under a new wellness concept for medical tourists, Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) will launch dedicated clusters of spa resorts, sports medicine facilities, waterfront residences and nutrition centres.

The concept offers surgical, aesthetic and holistic solutions for any traveller and is part of DHCC’s Phase 2 wellness development project that is currently under way, said Marwan Abedin, Chief Executive Officer of DHCC. Phase 2 of the project will cover 19 million square feet.

To attract overseas patients, DHCC has also recently appointed facilitators that connect patients to doctors and arrange for their travel, accommodation and transportation requirements from pre to post-treatment.

Abedin spoke to Khaleej Times ahead of the two-day International Medical Travel Exhibition and Conference that starts today at the World Trade Centre. The conference aims at establishing Dubai as a centre point for medical tourism.

Phase 1, which is the operational phase, caters to the emirates’ healthcare needs through specialised centres in areas like orthopaedics, dentistry, ophthalmology, diabetes management and cosmetic surgery.

“Integrated health has been a focal area for DHCC,” said Abedin.

Phase 1 has more than 90 specialties and 4,000 licensed health professionals with a strong presence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) providers. As of 2014, Phase 1 has 17 alternative medicine providers operating.

“For a medical tourist, one overshadowing question is about quality and safety assurance. We believe assurance of international standards is of key importance in drawing medical tourists along with aspects like specialisation.”

He said the DHCC appointed a medical tourism facilitator at the end of 2013. “We have just announced the second, Meditour, which is due to open in a few weeks...

“For medical tourism to thrive, it needs the necessary building blocks. From specialties to infrastructure and government support, a medical tourist needs assurance.”

Ibrahim Abu-Gharbieh, managing director of Salamatak Healthcare Management, DHCC’s medical tourism facilitator, said: “Medical tourism facilitators act as the focal point of the process by linking overseas patients to medical providers and looking into their travel, transportation and tourism needs. We also manage the paper work like visas, financial settlements and patient records.”

“Despite the growth of the medical tourism industry, few standards exist to ensure quality,” said Laila Al Jassmi, founder and CEO of Health Beyond Borders. “The quality concept should certify the international patient’s entire care cycle. We should also push for policies that govern the privacy of patient information and recommend certification of medical tourism facilitators.”


Asma Ali Zain

Associated with KT for 15 years. Covers health issues, Pakistan community, human interest stories as well as general topics for daily news or features.

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