THE FINISHING TOUCH

Dubai 2020 | HEALTH | INTERVIEW

With Phase I recently completed and Phase II raring to go with over 40 projects in the pipeline, the DHCC is setting the stage for Dubai's success in the sector.

Ramadan AlBlooshi
BIOGRAPHY

Ramadan AlBlooshi is the Chief Regulatory Officer of the Dubai Healthcare City Authority. At DHCA, he heads Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulatory (DHCR), the independent regulator of the DHCC, a health and wellness free zone. DHCR is responsible for the licensing of all healthcare professionals and healthcare operators and setting and maintaining international best practice in healthcare delivery and patient care within the free zone. In his earlier role, AlBlooshi was the director of the Health Regulation Department at Dubai Health Authority. His expertise is clinical governance.

How does Phase II of DHCC both differ from and build off the success of Phase I?
In Dubai Healthcare City's Phase I, which is dedicated to healthcare and medical education, we established the foundation of a healthcare ecosystem where investors, healthcare professionals, researchers, academics, students, and patients come together to benefit from this self-sustaining healthcare free zone in Dubai. We streamlined the process of setting up a business in DHCC through Masaar, an e-services system that combines clinical and commercial activities. We introduced a robust yet dynamic regulatory framework to spearhead the development of the health sector in the UAE and beyond. Phase II will build on this success to complement the DHCC ecosystem. Sitting on over 19 million sqft and overlooking the historic Dubai Creek and Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, Dubai Phase II in Al Jaddaf will focus on preventative healthcare and wellness through specialized services such as rehabilitation, counseling, sports medicine, and elderly care for both residents and visitors. In 2019, Phase II welcomed residents to its first two residential projects, Azizi Aliyah and Al Waleed Garden Tower. In 2020, Clemenceau Medical Center Dubai, the first general hospital in Phase II, opened its doors to the public. A renowned name in the region and part of the Clemenceau Medicine network of hospitals, the new 100-bed hospital will further cement DHCC's position as a hub for quality healthcare and excellence. There are currently more than 40 projects under development in Phase II including the first Barraquer UAE Eye Hospital in the Middle East, one of world's leading eye clinics from Spain.

What specialties are you looking to attract based on market needs?
There are currently more than 300 specialties available in DHCC. Based on the free zone's current needs, we are looking to attract several specialties including ophthalmology, urology, nephrology, and anesthesiology. To identify future gaps, we are working with Dubai Health Authority as part of their 'Certificate of Need' guidelines to provide in-depth knowledge on the gaps of the UAE healthcare sector to help promote need-based investment. This will provide us with a long-term projection of the required specialties, and we will work towards developing our regulations in accordance with this certificate to address the requirements of priority areas to avoid a supply and demand imbalance in the market.

How do increased R&D capabilities factor into your agenda?
Research is a main pillar of the DHCC ecosystem and an important factor to attract high-caliber physicians to Dubai. There are more than 55 research projects, including early phase clinical trials, currently registered in the free zone. Since 2018, the research department of Dubai Healthcare City Authority Regulatory has developed a robust mechanism to review research applications resulting in a reduction of more than 60% in assessment time and a 77% growth in research conducted. Recently, to empower our community members, we co-sponsored the 'Professional Diploma in Clinical Leadership and Innovation,' offering the program to our community at a 40% discounted rate.

What are your other strategic priorities, and what are we looking forward to in 2020?
The UAE can become a global leader in healthcare delivery through the agility of its government in responding to the impact of disruptive technologies. Since 2015, the country's leadership has launched several strategies, including the National Innovation Strategy, the AI Strategy, and Blockchain Strategy with the aim of being at the forefront of this fast-paced industry. In 2019, as part of designing an agile regulatory framework, we developed more than 80 new policies, 24 standards, and more than 30 guidelines in our nine areas of regulations covering healthcare professionals, operators, education, research, health data protection as well as commercial licensing, including a teleconsultation policy. Our priority for 2020 is to continue to develop our regulations to be responsive to the demands of the health sector, especially those brought by new technologies, to enable the development of the country's health sector.