By TBY | UAE | Jun 18, 2015
As the reputation of Abu Dhabi grows, more world-renown hospitals are looking to set up medical campuses in the Emirate, with the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and the New England Center for Children some of the first to take the step.
In the fields of education and healthcare, the US and the UAE, and particularly Abu Dhabi, have made many agreements and partnerships. The Emirate is looking to address a number of lifestyle diseases cropping up among its population as well as increase its potential as a medical tourism destination. The sector is also looking to reduce the number of its own citizens traveling to hospitals outside of Abu Dhabi by improving the quality and availability of its medical services by increasing funding as well as partnering up with reputable international organizations.
One of the newcomers to the sector, the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, which is developed and owned by the UAE government, is on track to open in 2015. The high-tech and aesthetically stunning, multi-specialty hospital is modeled off the successful and well-renowned Cleveland Clinic based in Ohio, US, ranked one of the top four hospitals in the nation by the US News and World Report 2014-15 “Best Hospitals” rankings. From Ohio to the UAE, the Cleveland Clinic model brings with it nearly 100 years of clinical expertise. More than a hospital, the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi resembles a luxury hotel on the outside and is more aptly described as a medical campus, with specialized institutes that are formulated off of the US-based clinic but adapted to meet the needs of the Abu Dhabi population, in which lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular issues are on the rise. The Cleveland Clinic is an example of how a successful model from abroad was identified and is being introduced to Abu Dhabi in order to address the growing demands of the local healthcare sector, an effort in which stakeholders such as Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi government-owned investment and development company, the UAE government, and Cleveland Clinic as operator have played a key role in making the project a reality.
When speaking about the uniqueness of the Cleveland Clinic model and approach to care, CEO of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Marc Harrison, explained, “Philosophically, we put the patient in the center of everything we do. Sitting around the executive table, you will hear us ask questions such as ‘What is the right thing for the patient?’ We make our business decisions around exactly what is best for the patient. In this model, physicians will be evaluated based on service quality and patient outcomes, not patient volumes.”
While the Cleveland Clinic is new to the Emirate, Johns Hopkins Medicine has been around for some time. In 2006, the General Authority for Health Services signed a 10-year affiliation agreement with Johns Hopkins Medicine, the world-renown Baltimore-based medical-university. Under the terms of the agreement, Johns Hopkins would gain complete managerial oversight of Tawam Hospital. It is one of the Emirate’s largest hospitals, with 469 beds, as well as one of its most prestigious. When taking over the hospital, Johns Hopkins set out a number of long-term targets that they hope to complete over the term of the agreement. These goals included the establishment of international healthcare standards in Abu Dhabi, the promotion of public awareness and healthcare issues in the community, the evaluation and oversight of future contracts awarded to hospital management companies, provision of training to national staff, and planing for the future healthcare needs of the Emirate. Johns Hopkins Medicine is has some of the best physicians, researchers, and educational staff in world, evidenced by the fact it was ranked the number one hospital in the US for 21 consecutive years from 1991 to 2011 and then again in 2013. The authorities in Abu Dhabi are hoping that the partnership will be able to bring some of the hospital’s vast experience to the Emirate and in turn bring other hospitals with it, such as the Cleveland Clinic.