Multiple factors play a role in the continuity of care in the GCC such as the location of the medical facility, the availability of virtual consultation and follow up, as well as factors related to the patient’s age, medical condition and possibility for travel. All of these factors dictate the current climate for medical travel, and medical facilities and health authorities need to address these issues in order to facilitate medical tourism across GCC borders.
Dr Bariah Dardari, Head of Paediatric Department, Al Zahra Hospital, Dubai, UAE will provide insight into the solutions and obstacles of continuity of care in the GCC at the International Medical Travel Exhibition & Conference (IMTEC 2014) which takes please on 5-6 March at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre ,UAE.
According to Dr Dardari, “The continuity of care across GCC is available currently on a small scale, especially for patients seeking medical attention and travelling between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, or Oman and the UAE. However, more can be done to encourage patients to use the proximity of the GCC countries for their continuous medical care.”
Dr Dardari believes that any difficulty in the efficiency in the flow of crucial information and the continuity of care in a cross-border setting must be overcome, in order to further facilitate the process of medical travel.
“I believe one can overcome any deficiency in continuity of care across borders by establishing a system that includes pre-and post-consultation communication. This can be attained via e mail, Skype or telephone. The risk of data misuse is minimal if certain patient privacy rules are established, for instance, test results should only be given directly to the patient via a secure email, for example,” says Dr Dardari.
The main reason why parents too their children abroad for treatment in the past was because centres in the UAE providing paediatric healthcare facilities were non-existent. In the past decade the UAE has made progress in areas such as neonatal medicine, paediatric orthopaedic, and paediatric neurodevelopment. The opening of paediatric hospitals in the future, such as Al Jalila, will facilitate the needed much needed paediatric medical attention within the UAE instead of the need to find it abroad, and perhaps even encourage medical travel to the UAE.
The 2nd International Medical Travel Exhibition & Conference (IMTEC) is relocating from Monaco to Dubai, UAE, under the guidance of Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions, organisers of the Arab Health Exhibition & Congress. The IMTEC exhibition will provide a unique opportunity for companies within the medical travel value chain to showcase their services and facilities to a focused audience of medical travel professionals. For the first time, IMTEC will be open to the public so that potential medical tourists can visit the show to explore their international medical travel options.
“Hosting an event such as IMTEC in the Middle East, and specifically in Dubai is very important, mainly due to the optimum logistic location, the availability of excellent medical facilities, multi lingual practitioners, and the multicultural aspect of the city. All these factors make it a great candidate city for medical tourism,” concluded Dr Dardari.
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