Annual Operational Review 2015: New Projects And Developments Drive Stronger Performance In The Dubai Healthcare City Free Zone

Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA), the governing body of Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), today released the annual 2015 operational review of the free zone, updating the market on key performance figures across strategy, regulation, projects in Phase 1 and 2, and the community.

Dubai, January 24, 2016: Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA), the governing body of Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), today released the annual 2015 operational review of the free zone, updating the market on key performance figures across strategy, regulation, projects in Phase 1 and 2, and the community.   

Recording a stronger performance relative to last year driven by new projects and developments, the outlook for 2016 is positive for the world’s largest healthcare free zone.

By the close of 2015, DHCA reaffirmed its regulatory independence as it unveiled operational sectors within the free zone, regulated by independent arm Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulation (DHCR).

2015 Highlights

  • Increased clinical offerings by 28% in 2015
  • Increased specialties by 68% in 2015
  • Increased number of licensed healthcare professionals by 20%
  • Total complaints were down to 40 in 2015 compared to 51 in 2014, inspections quadrupled
  • Unveiled operational sectors for Investment and Education
  • Implemented new health insurance law, new pharmacy regulation within the free zone
  • Signed memoranda of understanding with UAE Ministry of Health, Mediclinic Middle East
  • Successfully concluded collaboration with TECOM Group, a member of Dubai Holding
  • Released findings of Patient Satisfaction Survey 2014-15
  • Announced joint venture to develop integrated community Al Fursan in Phase 2
  • Welcomed  opening of Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai in Phase 2
  • Organized the 1st UAE Organ Transplant Summit
  • Maintained 94% occupancy in DHCC main buildings
  • Released medical tourism patient case

The key performance figures for 2015 indicate that the free zone model achieves operational efficiencies and its investment and education sectors support and strengthen the economic climate of the UAE, said Her Excellency Dr Raja Al Gurg, Vice-Chairperson and Executive Director of Dubai Healthcare City Authority.

“One of the fundamental finding from our year-on-year performance is that, as a business model, we have been dynamic and responsive to patient needs and to changes in market conditions. We expect the new operational sectors to deliver greater pace and more accountability. We are optimistic as we move forward in a sustainable manner, in line with our growth strategy,” said HE Dr Al Gurg.

Significant regulatory advances were made in 2015 including the implementation of the insurance law in the free zone. Dr Ramadan AlBlooshi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulation (DHCR), said, “We remain on track for delivering in 2016 a more robust regulatory framework to attract qualified healthcare professionals and to ensure highest patient safety standards. The inflow of new clinics and healthcare professionals will continue to drive healthcare delivery.”

The free zone’s performance is evident with the number of partners it houses– more than 300, who have established base in the free zone.

Bader Saeed Hareb, CEO, Investment Sector, said, “The year-on-year figures demonstrate our commitment to positioning Dubai Healthcare City free zone as a health and wellness destination. In this patient centered value chain, we are strengthening our offerings and working with our stakeholders for long-term growth. We feel a deep responsibility to ensure our patients, healthcare professionals, partners and investors are together creating tangible value for the communities we serve.”  

Medical education is an integral part of the free zone’s value creation. Dr Amer Ahmad Sharif, CEO, Education Sector, said, “As we prepare to open our doors to the next generation of medical students, we are proud to say that we are proceeding well. Our core efforts are to strengthen the necessary academic infrastructure to establish the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences as one of the top universities in the region.”

Strategic achievements in 2015

In 2015, Dubai Healthcare City Authority demonstrated its commitment to enhancing the health sector and contributing to the healthcare system of the Emirate through strategic goals.

Memoranda of understanding

The Authority signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with the UAE Ministry of Health (MOH) and Mediclinic Middle East. Both MoUs will jointly develop healthcare professionals’ capabilities and skills to improve healthcare delivery in the country.

Towards medical education, DHCA and the Ministry of Health will collaborate across areas including clinical skills training and development of scientific research through the Mohammed Bin Rashid Academic Medical Center (MBR-AMC). The two parties will also facilitate patient referrals to deliver the required medical expertise and services.

The collaboration with Mediclinic Middle East will help build healthcare capacity through clinical and professional development, academic programs and research. The MoU will benefit existing postgraduate students at the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) and future post- and under-graduate intakes. From an academic perspective, doctors from Mediclinic Middle East can take up adjunct faculty positions at the University.

New operational sectors

Dubai Healthcare City Authority unveiled new operational sectors within the free zone. The sectors Dubai Healthcare City Authority - Investment (DHCI) and Dubai Healthcare City Authority - Education (DHCE) leverage the free zone’s global healthcare standards and strengthen its medical tourism portfolio and clinical-academic environment.

Both sectors are regulated by independent arm Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulation.  The unveiling of the operational sectors follows on from the successful conclusion of the collaboration with TECOM Group, a member of Dubai Holding.

Patient Satisfaction Survey 2014-15

The Patient Satisfaction Survey 2014-15 measured patients’ experience of received care and identified the main drivers of satisfaction within the Dubai Healthcare City free zone. As per findings, 9 out of 10 patients are satisfied with staff and healthcare practitioners across all categories in Dubai Healthcare City, and are willing to recommend the facilities they are visited to their family and friends.

Regulation in 2015

Regulation and licensure of all healthcare professionals and healthcare operators together with the handling of any complaints arising from the provision of clinical services is handled by DHCR.

In 2015, DHCR increased the number of licensed healthcare professionals by 20% - licensed 919 healthcare professionals, bringing the total number of healthcare professionals from 4,534 in 2014 to 5,400 in 2015. It increased specialties by 68% from 90 in 2014 to 152 in 2015.

DHCR received a total of 40 complaints in 2015 compared to 51 in 2014. Typically complaints include medical errors, inappropriate treatment, miscommunication and negligence. DHCR ensures standards are maintained through a series of ongoing requirements and inspections; total on-site inspections conducted were 152 compared to 30 in 2014.

Since online examinations for healthcare professionals were introduced in 2014, more than 1,000 healthcare professional have taken the exams. (At the beginning of 2015, DHCR expanded its licensing framework, adding 34 new countries totaling 63.) 

Additional milestones achieved in strengthening the regulatory framework within the free zone are, first, the implementation of the new health insurance law, authorizing DHCR to register healthcare facilities; to approve prices for healthcare services; and to monitor approved prices, among other responsibilities; and second, the introduction of a new regulation to issue and renew licenses of pharmacies and pharmacy practitioners within the free zone.

In terms of new services, DHCR introduced Home Healthcare Service to support Dubai’s health system by encouraging optimum utilization of hospital beds and to extend healthcare services geographically to reach patients in their residences in Dubai.

Education in 2015

DHCE oversees the development of the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Academic Medical Center. The MBR-AMC caters to medical education events through its conference center, education suites and lecture halls.

In 2015, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) events saw a steady volume, recording 318 relatively close to 309 in 2014. Medical education events including simulation had good attendance with almost 26,000 participants, around the same figure recorded in 2014.

The total Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit hours provided reached 938.25 by 2015 year end. 

Major CPD events during 2015 included:

  • City University London: School of Health Sciences Health Conference
  • Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) - What Works
  • 2nd Gulf Liver Summit in Collaboration with Houston Methodist Hospital
  • Emirates Medical Association Mini Medical School
  • Global Consultation on Treatment of Latent Tuberculosis by Harvard Medical School
  • Destination Medicine by Al Jalila Foundation
  • Hear My Voice – Education & Innovation
  • Harvard Medical School Center for Global Health Delivery – Dubai inaugural symposium -  Delivering Health Globally Examining the Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century
  • Challenges and Future Directions in Pediatric Dentistry by  Hamdan Bin Mohammed College of Dental Medicine
  • UAE eHealth Week by HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society)

DHCE organized three events. The 2nd UAE Clinical Simulation Conference (CSC) organized in collaboration with the Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine (SESAM) had close to 200 attendees from 23 countries. From the Conference, 31 oral abstract presentations; eight poster abstract presentations were accepted; and six abstracts were received.

The 1st UAE Organ Transplant Summit, a scientific program on topics around organ transplantation in the region, saw 150 participants. It was endorsed by MBRU, Emirates Medical Association (EMA) and Emirates Medical Association Nephrology Society (EMAN).

DHCE also led the 3rd Conference of International Society for Wearable Technology in Healthcare (WATCH), organized jointly by MBRU and the Society, and endorsed by EMA and Emirates Health Informatics Society (EHIS). More than 130 participants attended the conference.

Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences

The MBRU received its initial license from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR). The MBRU has two Colleges – Hamdan Bin Mohammed College of Dental Medicine for dental postgraduates (HBMCDM) and College of Medicine for medical undergraduates.  

The academic arm of HBMCDM offers six postgraduate programmes - Endodontics, Oral Surgery, Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics and Prosthodontics - accredited by MOHESR.  

Up from 52 in 2014 to 60 in 2015, UAE nationals represent the majority of dental postgraduates.

Professor Athanasios E. Athanasiou was appointed Dean; to his credit, he has published more than 130 scientific articles, chapters and books, and has presented more than 330 lectures, papers, and seminars all over the world.

Through the Dubai Dental Clinic, its clinical arm, HBMCDM provides the highest standards of dental care. The Clinic was chosen to support the Oral Hygiene Initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council. The Initiative, in collaboration with the Permanent Committee for Labor Affairs (PCLA) in Dubai, has met the target of screening 2,000 workers by year end.

The College of Medicine is expected to commence applications in September for an intake in 2016 of 50 students.  Dr Alawi Alsheikh-Ali was appointed Dean of the College. Prior to his appointment, Dr Alsheikh-Ali was the Chairman of the Institute of Cardiac Sciences at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC).

The student community as well as members within the free zone’s clinical community can access MBRU’s learning resources - Al Maktoum Medical Library (AMML) and the Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor Medical Simulation Center (KHMSC).

With a stronger focus on the MBRU, the training courses for healthcare professionals at KHMSC were selective, resulting in fewer trainees in 2015 – around 2,100 compared to approximately 2,900 in 2014. Since the Center’s opening in 2012, the total trainees have crossed 5,000.

The number of patrons at AMML increased from 1,431 at the end of 2014 to more than 2,700 in 2015. Close to 6,500 individuals visited the library compared to 3,500 last year, to access over 22 electronic databases and e-resources, 16,500 e-books and journal titles.

Investment in 2015

Phase 1:

For the period ended December 31, 2015, expected demand for specialization in healthcare and expansion remained unchanged from that set out at the beginning of the year with an inflow of clinical entrants.

By the end of 2015, clinical offerings were increased by 28% from 124 in 2014 to 159 2015. The free zone’s clinical facilities comprise JCI-accredited hospitals, outpatient medical centers and diagnostic laboratories. A few new clinical partners include Dr Dana Diet Center, DOW Diagnostics, London Sleep Center, and Dr Shyams Ayurveda Centre.

DHCI welcomed new support services, totaling 192 non-clinical facilities up from 190 in 2014.

Occupancy of DHCC main buildings is maintained at 94%.

AMICO, a leading company in the medical device industry, announced relocation of its headquarters to Dubai Healthcare City Phase 1. The building will comprise 67,800 square feet of modern office space and training facilities, and is expected to be ready by 2017.

Phase 2:

Al Fursan

Dubai Healthcare City Authority announced a joint venture with Nshama to establish an integrated community, named Al Fursan, comprising premium apartments, serviced residences, 4- and 5-star hotels, and retail and leisure features, spread over approximately 2.9 million square feet of Dubai Healthcare City’s Phase 2 expansion project.

Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai

The Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai (SISD), Dubai’s first ever private school to offer multilingual education in English, French, German, Italian and Arabic and a specialized curriculum with a strong scientific focus for secondary students, opened its doors to 270 students in its new campus in Dubai Healthcare City Phase 2. Classes currently run from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 6; Grades 7 to 12 will be added in the following years.

The campus is also the Middle East’s first low-energy building awarded with the region’s first MINERGIE Certification.


Community in 2015

As a patron of healthcare, DHCC demonstrated its commitment to the wider community in Dubai.


DHCC marked global health observances with public health screenings and activities including World Autism Awareness Day (April 2), World Health Day (April 7) and World No Tobacco Day (May 31).

DHCC launched its first Health Festival on World Diabetes Day (November 14) with complimentary diabetes consultations and health checks conducted for residents in collaboration with 11 clinical partners from the DHCC community. 

DHCC also organized in association with Dubai Blood Donation Center (DBDC) its annual blood collection drive, collecting 138 units of blood (approximately 62 liters).

In support of public health, media roundtable sessions with healthcare specialists from DHCC were held on topics including ‘Aesthetics: trends and concerns’ and ‘Ramadan fasting with medical conditions’.

Dubai Healthcare City organized for its business partners, six events under its Networking Series 2015, which were attended by more than 300 representatives from the DHCC community. Widely attended were those themed ‘Introduction to Insurance Companies’ and ‘Smarter Employee Performance’.

In addition, a media appreciation ceremony was held to honor members of the media who have played an important role in raising the health status of Dubai and the community. 

A successful medical tourism patient case was released: Suha Bashayreh, Jordanian, suffered amputation of both legs after a traffic accident in June 2007. Her case was handled by an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals and supported by donors at various intervals over six years. Bashayreh first visited DHCC-based German Limbtech Orthopedic Technology Center in May 2009 for prosthetic rehabilitation, and returned in 2010, 2014 and 2015. Her rehabilitation programme was supported by funds raised by 7EmiratesRun in partnership with Al Jalila Foundation.

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