Dubai: An advanced healthcare destination
With a strategic focus on developing and providing the finest quality of healthcare, Dubai has positioned itself as a healthcare hub for not only medical tourists but also global investors. Here’s a look at some of the latest advances in the sector.
With a focus on health-tech, infrastructure, R&D, innovation, and more, Dubai is steadfastly establishing itself and the UAE as a centre for the most cutting-edge developments in healthcare.
Health at the forefront
Be it robotic pharmacy and surgeries, AI (Artificial Intelligence), radiation surgeries, 3D modelling and technology (for instance, for dental procedures) or stem cell technology, among other things—Dubai’s latest technology-driven medical innovations are paving the way for early, quick and cost-effective disease detection and treatment that will improve the lives of millions whilst also attracting global investors.
While speaking on some of these path-breaking healthcare advances, Dr Azad Moopen, founder, chairman and managing director, Aster DM Healthcare, shares, “Dubai has already arrived as the healthcare destination in the region and is on the top of the global health tourism map. It has positioned itself as a knowledge-based economy, with the usage of AI, data analytics and IoT being the way forward. Tele-health, e-prescription, and maintenance of electronic medical records are already in vogue. E-ICU, 3D Printing and robotic interface for patients, are some of the technologies in the [offing].”
Dr Moopen also emphasises that the government and private players have been investing significantly in the sector, as he shares, “Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is currently working on a project to introduce AI for early detection of diabetic retinopathy by assisting ophthalmologists in conducting faster tests with high accuracy through algorithms. Use of AI in radiology for detection of lesions and the use of AI pods for easy access and quick health screening are some other measures. DHA has also launched the HiNT (Healthcare and Innovative New Technology) stroke detection headband which has a wearable point-of-care monitoring device that detects patients who have a higher risk of stroke. Dubai Genomic is another futuristic project that will go a long way in helping predictive care. The plan is to have a massive genomic data bank, use DNA sequencing and apply AI and Machine Learning (ML) on it to predict diseases before they occur.” It is innovations like these that saw Arab Health and Medlab Middle East sign deals worth AED767 million at the show this year.
Currently, FDI in Dubai’s AI and Robotics industry is the third highest in the world. The city also aims at having around 34 indigenous pharmaceutical companies by the year end and attracting USD 2.5 billion in pharma research and manufacturing by 2022 with the city’s pharmaceutical sector pegged to be valued at USD 6.8 billion by 2025.
Treating with care
With so many advancements underway, it’s no wonder that the city is a popular destination for medical tourism (read: sports medicine, orthopaedics, dermatology and skincare, dentistry and fertility treatments). The city is home to numerous internationally accredited hospitals, infrastructure and healthcare professionals that offer integrated healthcare services. Further, with around 400 aesthetic clinics, 150-day care centres and the highest number of cosmetic surgeons per capita, Dubai is set to soon become the cosmetic surgery capital of the world at an estimated USD 21.97 billion by 2023. The city will also be adding new hospitals and healthcare centres to its already existent infrastructure.
Speaking on what sets Dubai apart as a medical tourism destination, Dr Philip John M, senior consultant psychiatrist, child psychiatrist with Peejays Policlinic and Child Guidance Clinic @ The Neurocenter Kochi, explains, “Dubai has the best of everything—from infrastructure to surgical and investigation facilities, and the latest tools. The city has made huge investments in creating such a massive healthcare infrastructure.”
P.K. Ramankutty, a resident of Kerala, who visited Dubai three years ago while accompanying his daughter who was undergoing cosmetic surgery here, says of the experience, “Our enquiries revealed that Dubai is the best place for cosmetic surgery. It was a superb experience, both, in terms of the treatment results and the personal care we received.” The city’s stringent safety standards and protocols that saw 3.7 million international visitors between July 2020 to May 2021, will only boost medical tourism in the UAE further.
Other notable developments include the establishment of the Dubai Academic Health Corporation that will integrate healthcare, medical education and scientific research to improve the quality, efficiency and accessibility of the city’s healthcare system. Dubai Healthcare City has also launched C37, a private medical workspace (a first in UAE) wherein visiting oversees doctors or local physicians can practise on a part-time basis.
So, with these, and many other developments in the offing, Dubai is set to achieve its healthcare goals and targets in the near future.
Disclaimer: This article is a part of featured content series on Business in Dubai