Dubai’s growing healthcare sector

By - World Healthcare Journal

Dubai’s growing healthcare sector

Private sector healthcare providers in Dubai have contributed to developing a strong health ecosystem and in line with the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice–President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. They account for more than 78 per cent of the utilisation for outpatient services and more than 69 per cent of inpatient services.

The excellent infrastructure and competitive, the investor-friendly business environment in Dubai, combined with Dubai’s position as a global and regional hub for innovation and talent along with new investment initiatives by government and government-related entities, have opened up huge opportunities for private sector providers to participate in Dubai’s next big leap in sustainable growth.

Many of the world’s largest hospitals and specialised centres have invested in Dubai’s healthcare sector after realising the city’s unique investment climate, which provides a number of investment incentives in the healthcare sector. Various investment free zones offer attractive incentives and set up support for companies focusing on health technologies and innovations. There are a number of incubator programmes in Dubai to support health technology innovation, and DHA’s efforts with the Dubai Future Accelerator Program is a testament to the commitment and support to develop a robust health eco-system supported by technology and innovation.

We also are licensing telehealth companies in Dubai, and over the past 12-18 months, several new companies have established their base in Dubai and have started rolling out, or are in the process of rolling out patient services.

Founded on the four key pillars of service delivery, the Dubai Health Authority Strategy 2016-2021 has defined eight objectives to enable it to build a new era in the healthcare sector. By boosting Dubai’s position as a global hub for medical education and health tourism, by providing attractive infrastructure for investments, by achieving the highest international standards in medical services, enhancing the quality of medical insurance, encouraging innovation, improving preventative healthcare measures, and by preventing disease and promoting health, the strategy promotes Dubai’s position as a viable hub for investment in healthcare.

Dubai’s healthcare vision

In the short term, our aim is to develop and enhance services for chronic disease management, developing Centers of Excellence for cardiology, oncology, diabetes and other specialities, to enhance and improve access to long term care, physical rehabilitation and home-based care, particularly to support the needs of the elderly and others with special needs in our Emirate, and to enhance and improve access to mental health services.

In the long term, we want to focus much more on population health management, value-based care supported by better clinical outcomes and efficiency for the health system, improvements and adoption of genetic medicine and precision medicine, and beyond the pill initiatives.

We are very focused on supporting the emergence of urgent care clinics, ambulatory care, specialised centres for different diseases and the use of telehealth in primary care and remote patient monitoring. We need to look at innovative models in primary care, such as walk in clinics for urgent care and ambulatory care centres, and we are seeing a lot of interest and new investment in these models. We also need to embrace and support the role of telehealth to enhance and integrate with primary care services, which will help curb overutilisation and support efficiency.

Needs-based investment programme

Investors and private sector providers need to understand the dynamics of Dubai Health System from the regulatory framework and licensing processes, the demographic profile and income segments, epidemiology and disease profiles, health investment needs and gaps to the reimbursement framework and insurance market which is unique and different from the health system they are used to.

We are open and welcoming to investors and providers from different partners of the world, as Dubai is ranked as one of the leading destinations with ease to set up a business and operate a business. We also have perhaps the greatest diversity in the workplace when compared to several other countries, as we have people from all over the world that have made Dubai their home.

In June, DHA held a stakeholder workshop in this regard with the private sector to receive their input and feedback prior to developing a “Certificate of Need” policies and guidelines.

The CON guidelines will help further bolster the health sector and promote need-based investments so that there is equilibrium in the sector and to avoid imbalances in supply and demand in health services. The move also aims to provide patients with access to a wide range of medical specialities. We will work closely with the private sector to implement these guidelines and policies with an aim to further help develop the sector, keeping access to specialised services and patient experience as priority.

The objectives on the CON Guidelines aim to:

  • Optimise the demand and supply of health services and address challenges with an oversupply of health facilities in some communities and services.
  • Adopt an investment gating process to ensure reasonable insurance coverage for critical services and sustainability of investments in specialities and services identified as investment needs.
  • Use commercial incentives as levers to attract world-class providers to establish in Dubai, ensure patient flow for services, manage healthy competition and appropriate reimbursement mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of services.

The Dubai Health Investment Guide is an essential read for potential investors and healthcare providers looking to invest in Dubai, and from this they can go deeper into evaluating where the opportunities are and what the health system needs are, the investment pathway, dynamics of the Dubai health market and how their investment mandates can be supported.

Link for Health Investment Guide -

Dr. Ibtesam Al Bastaki, Director, Investments & PPP’s Dept.


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