Dr. Layla Al-Marzouqi
Dubai Health Authority
Director of Medical Tourism Council
1) Tell us about the launch of Dubai Health Experience and the way it will enrich patient experience and quality of healthcare?
Guided by the ambitious initiative of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, to position Dubai as a medical tourism hub in 2012, we consolidated efforts to develop Dubai’s profile in this domain.
Dubai Health Authority (DHA) was assigned by His Highness to carry forward this initiative and to formulate and to execute the strategy thereof created the brand Dubai health experience (DXH) which aims to build strategic partnerships with the private as well as the government sector to boost all efforts that intend to position Dubai as a leading Global Destination for Medical Tourism.
Through the launch of DXH, we aim to attract 500,000 medical tourists by 2020 and we are expecting the number of medical tourists to increase by 13 per cent for the next five years. Since the first place most travellers seek information from is online, we have designed www.dxh.ae to be the ultimate gateway for Dubai’s medical tourists. The website is easy to navigate, which allows those who are seeking a uniquely integrated medical tourism experience in the iconic city of Dubai to plan their entire journey at their fingertips. It gives medical tourists the opportunity to choose from a wide range of uniquely designed comprehensive packages that combine both leisure and health from airline tickets, hotel stay, visas to medical treatment and insurance. All these packages are offered by our DXH Group Members and partners who have been carefully selected to offer the best to medical tourists.
To make the experience ultimately convenient, we launched DXH mobile app available on both Android and Apple stores, which allows medical tourists access to Dubai’s medical tourism related information on their mobile phones at their convenience.
As for what Dubai embraces in the healthcare sector, the Emirate has currently around 3,000 private health facilities ranging from hospitals, specialized clinics to day surgery centers and over 80 % of Dubai hospitals are internationally accredited. In addition, Dubai has around 35,000 health specialists from more than 110 different nationalities to ensure that we speak our medical tourists’ language to provide a truly one of a kind experience.
2) You are pursuing forward the agenda of medical tourism - how are you integrating Patient Experience as one of the driving force? What are the key initiatives and strategy plan?
We embrace a patient-centric strategy where the patient’s interest and trust are at the heart of our efforts. This is why we created a comprehensive patient protection plan that includes patient’s rights and responsibilities, a transparent medical complaints procedure as well as inbound travel insurance scheme.
In addition to the unique travel insurance package designed in collaboration with Alliance Insurance Company specifically for inbound medical tourists travelling to Dubai, we have put in place the extended travel insurance which includes emergency medical expenses and a good travel coverage. covers additional expenses where The extension gives the patient an added peace of mind in the event of unforeseen complications that may arise following any treatments within 30 days from leaving Dubai that in case of unforeseen complications where his return to Dubai including the airfare, treatment and accommodation will be covered. Accompanying family may also purchase the same insurance.
We look forward to continue to further our collaboration with our stakeholders from both the public and private sectors and we aim to increase our private partnerships with travel agents and hotels to expand our offerings.
In the upcoming years, we look forward to further collaboration among the various agencies from both the private and public sectors that ensure the flourishing of the ecosystem necessary for this nascent industry to grow and enable us to achieve our goal of welcoming 500,000 medical tourists by 2020. Throughout the year, we will be participating in world class events in the field of medical tourism to unlock business potentials and showcase what Dubai offers to the medical tourists from outstanding healthcare services to the finest medical expertise.
We have also launched the medical tourism roadshow in Africa in March along with our strategic partner Emirates Airlines, which includes two stops: Nigeria on March 16th & 17th and Ghana on the 20th & 21st. The roadshow aims to build strategic partnerships and mutually beneficial relationships between Dubai and the African healthcare providers.
3) As the region is progressing to embracing smart initiatives, in your opinion, what role technology will play in the coming years to enhance patient experience and healthcare delivery?
When we look at the accelerated rate of changes and recent innovations in healthcare, we clearly see how technology is revolutionizing the entire sector resulting in great improvements of the quality of healthcare services, which ultimately enhances the patient’s overall experience.
In Dubai, we are very keen on adopting and embracing the latest innovations in the healthcare division in an effort to create a unique patient experience. This comes in line with Dubai Health Authority ambitious plans to use 3D printing in all fields of healthcare. By 2030, the government aims to make Dubai and the UAE a global hub for 3D printing technology.
By the end of 2017, Dubai Health Authority's dental services department will begin using 3D technology to print teeth. Patients will greatly benefit from the use of this technology as it helps in better patient outcomes as well as substantially reducing waiting time and cost of care.