UNGA 2020: Abu Dhabi will be a world leader in medical tourism, top doctor says

Dr Jorge Guzman says the UAE provides the ideal conditions for healthcare businesses to thrive

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, April 20, 2020. 
  Cleveland Clinic, Abu Dhabi in Al Maryaha Island on a hazy day.
Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA
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Abu Dhabi is well on the way to becoming an important centre for medical tourism, thanks in part to the entrepreneurial spirit and forward-thinking environment of the UAE, one of the country’s top doctors said.

Dr Jorge Guzman, chief of staff at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, said it would come as no surprise if the emirate “becomes the medical tourism hub, not only for this part of the world but one of the leaders in the world”.

Dr Guzman addressed an online seminar on Tuesday as part of the 2020 C3 healthcare summit, which runs alongside the UN General Assembly.

When asked what the next five years holds for health care in the UAE, he said that with the “fast pace of development that we have here in Abu Dhabi, then it’s not rocket science to predict that this will probably be the medical tourism hub of this half of the world”.

Working in the Middle East has forced Dr Guzman, and Cleveland Clinic, to become sharper, he said.

He praised the UAE’s entrepreneurial spirit, willingness to pursue new ideas and desire to find what works for creating ideal conditions in which healthcare businesses can thrive.

“We are looking at the way opportunities come here, the way we have started to partner with venture capital and early start-ups to apply technology, to apply new concepts into our day-to-day operations in health care, and you’re quickly starting to get the fruits of that,” Dr Guzman said.

He also praised the competitive environment for healthcare businesses, and said he welcomed competition from the Mayo Clinic, another world-renowned international medical care company that operates in the UAE.

“Coming here to Abu Dhabi has been a remarkable experience,” Dr Guzman said.

Before joining Abu Dhabi’s 450-bed Cleveland Clinic, he helped to pioneer telemedicine, or caring for patients remotely, which has taken on increased importance during the pandemic, in US intensive-care units.

In the UAE capital, he has sought to promote a patients-first philosophy, and said his involvement in the Abu Dhabi clinic’s work has been a career highlight.

“I couldn’t have been more blessed to have been involved in this," Dr Guzman said.


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