The city of Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE and also the center of government for the state of the same name. Abu Dhabi is home to 20 JCI-accredited hospitals. The state of Dubai is the UAE's second largest emirate, also situated on the Persian Gulf. Dubai has grown spectacularly over the past decade into one of the Middle East’s largest commercial centers and most-visited tourism destination. Dubai boasts more than two dozen JCI-accredited hospitals.
The UAE and Medical TourismMost cross-border patients are either affluent neighboring Middle Easterners seeking access to high-quality care not available in their homeland, or wounded patients from nearby war-torn countries, including Libya, Iran and Iraq. Larger facilities, such as the American Hospital, the Johns Hopkins-affiliated Tawam Hospital, and City Hospital, offer a full ranges of specialties, including cardiology, orthopedics, neurology and spine, reproductive medicine, and ENT.
The UAE’s two healthcare hubs, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, carry high costs of living, including healthcare and hospitality. Thus, medical travelers outside the region are largely comprised of affluent patients attracted to the many specialty and sub-specialty clinics offering cosmetic surgery, vision care, IVF/infertility, vein care and prosthesis. As one of the world’s tourism destinations, Dubai also is beginning to court the more casual healthcare consumer, who might seek to offset the costs of a junket with health screenings and check-ups, or combine a visit with a cosmetic or dental procedure. The 360-bed Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, currently under construction, will bring tertiary and quaternary care to local and international patients alike, beginning in 2013.
Reclaiming the Middle Eastern PatientFor the past decade, thousands of Middle Eastern nationals have traveled to Thailand, Singapore, India, and other Asian hospitals for healthcare. After a hard look at these costs, the Dubai government acted to reclaim its regional base of patients. More than $100 million has been raised to realize this vision, which now includes facilities for medical care and wellness, research, and education. Dubai Healthcare City, founded in 2002, is an example of a healthcare cluster striving to build an infrastructure of quality metrics and excellent patient experience in combination with research and academic affiliations. The 4.1 million square foot campus has attracted a large general hospital (The City Hospital), a JCI-accredited cosmetic surgery hospital (American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Hospital), and more than 100 specialty clinics and medical centers. A multimillion dollar academic and medical research center is slated to open in 2013.
Additional ResourcesRead the Patients Beyond Borders: Dubai Healthcare City Edition to learn more about healthcare options in the UAE. A fully translated Arabic edition is also available.
Last updated on 9 March 2013