The Dubai Health Authority
has announced that it will launch the first Dubai International Medical Tourism Forum in Dubai next month.
Taking place from February 20-21, the forum’s theme is “Reimagining Experience”. World experts will gather for the two-day event to discuss the latest trends in health tourism, methodologies to ensure patient protection, patient insurance, ways to enhance patient experience and strategies to create an overall environment that fosters medical tourism.
Humaid Al Qutami, chairman of the Board and director-general of the Dubai Health Authority
, said: “In line with the vision of our leaders, the DHA is working towards developing a robust medical tourism sector in Dubai. In 2016, Dubai witnessed an overall growth of 9- 10 per cent per cent in the number of medical and health tourists in Dubai - the emirate received 326,649 international medical tourists. Revenue generated from international patients was worth over Dh1 billion ($272.2 million), reinforcing the growing contribution of the sector to the national GDP. Dubai’s attractive location along with the availability of high quality medical professionals and technology has enabled the city to build a strong and favourable platform to build its medical tourism capabilities. We are constantly working on developing this sector keeping in mind patient safety, high quality health services and excellent patient experience.”
Dr Layla Al Marzouqi, director of health Tourism Council, said: “Dubai’s efforts are aimed at easing the entire patient journey. Today, Dubai is able to appeal to a wider audience who may be on the lookout for more wellbeing-related treatments in line with international benchmarks. Dubai offers a range of medical spas and treatment centres that have professionals licensed by DHA and offer various alternative treatments like homeopathy, ayurveda etc.
The objective is to provide patients with a unique experience, the highest medical service standards using state-of-the-art technology accompanied by highly specialsed and educated staff.”
Creating a caring experience through www.dxh.ae
Dr Al Marzouqi, said that with the availability of modern technology and infrastructure, each patient can investigate and arrange healthcare facilities remotely using a trusted website and medical facilitators.
“DXH.ae, the official health tourism website of Dubai, gets average of 10,000 visitors on a monthly basis looking for various types of information to help identify desired medical treatment.The packages clearly outline the cost, inclusions, and exclusions. The comprehensive packages listed on the portal combine both leisure and health including, hotel accommodation, visa and insurance along with the selected medical treatments. The portal also offers options to request an appointment and 24X7 live chat,” said Dr Al Marzouqi.
To make the experience even more convenient Dr Al Marzouqi said that DXH also launched the mobile app, which is designed to allow health tourists access to information about hospitals and clinics, doctors and DXH medical packages at any time. Medical tourists can download the DXH app from both Android and Apple stores.
Patient wellbeing a priority
Dubai’s strategy for health tourism includes a charter of patient's rights and responsibilities with which medical tourists can understand their rights before arriving in Dubai for healthcare. Additionally, DHA has created a medical complaints procedure for anyone with a medical related complain for health professional or facility in Dubai. The process has been designed to address issues based on the level of severity, and provide families with a clean timetable for resolution.
Dr Al Marzouqi, added: “To facilitate the arrival of medical tourists, the DHA works with a third party company to provide coverage. This policy is an important "safety net" in the event of any unforeseen complications that may arise from treatment in the emirate.”
The insurance policy is underwritten by Alliance Insurance Company and is backed by Alliance Global and Lloyds of London. It provides cover while in the UAE for a variety of situations, including emergency medical expenses and up to $50,000 for each insured individual. Any individual receiving treatment is automatically covered for additional expenses in the event of an unexpected complication stemming from a planned procedure in any facility included in Dubai's medical tourism programme. The policy is made available at the time of booking an initial appointment, and accompanying family members can buy the protection at the same time for Dh150 ($40.8) per person.
DXH on its way to becoming a world renowned brand
Dubai Health Experience (DXH) was launched in April 2016 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, as a hallmark of the ‘Dubai, a Global Destination for Medical Tourism’ project. The Health Tourism Council continues its efforts to enable Dubai to become a global health tourism destination and a gateway to the finest medical experts and premier accredited healthcare facilities while providing a unique experience to visitors in the iconic city of Dubai.
This vision has now become a reality as Dubai continues to be a one stop medical tourism destination in the region and 16th medical tourism destination globally. Dubai has also been elected to the position of ‘Chairmanship of the Global Healthcare Travel Council’ in recognition of the emirate’s leading position in the global medial tourism sector. The position also enables the emirate to share knowledge and best practices with other destinations in an effort to move towards a new era of globalising medical and health tourism.
Dubai was previously recognised for its medical tourism capabilities as the emirate received the ‘Innovation in Medical Tourism’ in Greece in May 2015. In September 2015, Dubai received ‘The Best Integrated Destination for Medical Tourism’ during the 10th International Exhibition and Conference on medical tourism.
Dubai was also named in the 2016 ‘Highly Commended Destination of the Year’ from the prestigious International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) Award in Spain.
Collaborating for healthy partnerships
The Health Tourism Council is constantly collaborating with vital partners, including the private and the governmental sector to create an experience for the incoming medical tourist. The objective is to identify the key areas of the journey, and look for ways to enhance the patient -experience.
One of the main pillars of the initiative is private healthcare facilities. The strategy is focused on building strong ties with Dubai’s finest healthcare providers to create an unparalleled experience for medical and health tourists. The listed healthcare facilities are currently all developing packages for medical tourists and enhancing their existing services.
Starting with 26 DXH Group Members, the DXH Group today embraces 45 of Dubai’s leading healthcare providers from hospitals, specialised clinics, to day-surgery centres.
All the participating group members go through an evaluation process, which involves each facility meeting rigorous requirements and standards, on-site inspections and ongoing reviews by DHA’s Health Regulation Department to ensure quality, safety and service standards for Dubai’s inbound medical and health tourists.
Furthermore, the Health Tourism Council actively promotes the packages listed by the DXH group members on the website and other marketing collaterals and campaigns. The recent specialty campaign was targeting dental, orthopaedic, wellness and fertility treatment packages in the GCC market.
Dubai has recently participated in trade-related events along with the DTCM (Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing) and the Ministry of Economy to promote the Dubai Health Experience to the travel and business sector, driving awareness and interest in Dubai as a destination that goes beyond the ‘medical’ aspect and now includes the overall ‘health’ and wellbeing of visitors.
Linda Abdullah, consultant - The Health Tourism Council at DHA, said: “We have recently broadened our portfolio to include health and wellness, in order to attract the tourist seeking a holistic wellness experience. We want health tourists to embrace their wellness journey in the city of Dubai, via our wellness offerings that include preventive health screenings, DNA tests, detox and weight loss programs, anti- aging treatments ,diabetes management and alternative medicines to name few."
Dubai has around 3,000 private health facilities ranging from hospitals, specialised clinics to day-surgery centres with around 35,000 health specialists from more than 110 different nationalities working in the sector. These numbers are expected to grow to 40,000 specialists and 4,000 health centres by 2020.
In addition to these internationally accredited healthcare institutions, the city has evolved to become a modern megapolis, with some of the most breath-taking tourist attractions including The Palm Jumeirah, the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, among others. Combine this with luxury hotels, and an excellent transport system, and the allure of Dubai as a destination for health and wellness tourism cannot be disputed.
As Dubai and DXH look at the next stage of health and wellness tourism – the future looks very bright. Dr Al Marzouqi, concluded: “The strategy in 2018 is to continue to drive awareness of Dubai as a destination for health and wellness tourism through international trade events and wider collaboration with health and medical institutions, medical professionals and government bodies.” - TradeArabia News Service
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