The spectrum of collaborative endeavors is diverse in healthcare and involves international hospitals coming together to improve the culture of health in local communities. There is enough evidence, globally and in the region, that suggests such collaborative partnerships can indeed have a beneficial collective impact.
For instance, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi was developed through a partnership between Mubadala Investment Company and the U.S.-based Cleveland Clinic. The hospital has been open to the public since 2015 and Dr. Madhu Sasidhar, Chief Medical Officer, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, shares that the vision behind bringing the hospital to the UAE was to deliver world-class standards of treatment to patients in the country as well as in the wider region. Excerpts from the interview.
How has the response been to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi? What was the idea behind bringing the brand to the UAE?
By combining state-of-the-art amenities with a patient-centered model of care, the UAE’s leadership were confident that they could reduce the need for patients to travel abroad for treatment and improve the overall health of the nation.
The response to the hospital has been very strong. In 2018, we saw more than 508,000 outpatients, an increase of 25 per cent over 2017, and admitted 9,454 inpatients. Beyond this rising demand, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi has earned the trust of the community, with 86 per cent of our inpatients giving our hospital the highest possible ‘likelihood to recommend’.
The hospital has conducted several important clinical firsts in the UAE, including offering the first and only multi-organ transplant program, which conducted the UAE’s first heart transplant as well as multiple lung, liver and kidney transplants over the last two years. These operations give people the confidence of knowing that they have access to a multidisciplinary complex care hospital when they need it most.
How closely do you work with Cleveland Clinic? Do you have visiting doctor programs, or can patients be transferred to the U.S. facility? How well does this partnership work?
We work closely with our colleagues at Cleveland Clinic in the United States. Our physicians consult on cases between both facilities, allowing patients to benefit from coordinated care. Our teams use video technology to discuss complex cases and determine the best treatment path with their colleagues across the global Cleveland Clinic network.
All Cleveland Clinic facilities have a single, integrated medical records system, allowing care teams to gain a clear understanding of a patient’s medical history across all international locations, whether in Abu Dhabi, Florida, Toronto or Ohio. This seamless integration enables the hospital to offer carefully tailored, personalized care, regardless of where the patient is being treated.
Physician recruitment at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is handled in the same way as in the United States, to support the highest level of expertise and patient care. Approximately a quarter of our staff physicians have a Cleveland Clinic background, including most heads of department.
This seamless integration enables the hospital to offer carefully tailored, personalized care.
How according to you are these international healthcare partnerships beneficial for the local community?
By bringing the Cleveland Clinic model of care to the UAE, we are building on almost 100 years of expertise.
In addition to cutting-edge treatment, the community benefits from our ongoing medical education and research. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is a designated teaching hospital and research center, supporting caregivers at all stages of their career. We have a ‘Junior Caregiver’ program to introduce high-performing high school students to the healthcare sector. We also enable medical students to complete their internships, residencies and fellowships at the hospital. In 2018, we approved 73 new research projects and published more than 200 academic papers. Many caregivers at the hospital are thought leaders in their fields and known globally for their work.
Could you shed light on any latest developments or plans?
In 2018, we broke ground on our new dedicated oncology center. Modelled on Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Center, which is ranked fifth in the United States, it promises to transform cancer care in the UAE.
Cancer is the leading reason patients from the UAE travel abroad for treatment. We hope that the purpose-built center will eliminate that need entirely. Designed to meet the specific needs of cancer patients, it will allow them to receive all their care in one location and expand the range of treatments they will have access to.
As the world becomes more closely connected, and the population ever more global, healthcare provision will continue to change dramatically. Change presents opportunities for high quality, specialized care providers to make a global impact, building the hubs that will deliver a new form of preventative, connected and community-focused care. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi stands ready to work with a broad range of local, regional and international partners to build a truly global healthcare offering.
"In 2018, we broke ground on our new dedicated oncology center. Modelled on Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Center, which is ranked fifth in the United States, it promises to transform cancer care in the UAE." - Dr. Madhu Sasidhar