New Medical Facilities

Dubai Mall Medical Centre
– a patient-centred approach


Emaar Healthcare, part of Dubai’s Emaar Properties – the developers of the Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building – has recently opened its first healthcare facility, The Dubai Mall Medical Centre. Emaar Healthcare has partnered with Methodist International, the international arm of the renowned US-based The Methodist Hospital, who is providing the management expertise for this patientcentred facility. Callan Emery spoke to Omar Shunnar, the CEO of Emaar Healthcare, about the new medical centre and their partnership with Methodist.

Dubai's renowned Emaar Properties' foray into healthcare was marked by the opening in October last year of Emaar Healthcare’s first healthcare facility. Located in the massive Dubai Mall, the 60,000 sq ft multi-specialty, out-patient facility is called, simply, The Dubai Mall Medical Centre.

With easy, direct access from one the mall’s sprawling parking bays, this modernlooking, swish new medical centre is sure to make its mark on the medical facilities landscape of Dubai.

But why did Emaar move into healthcare in the first place? Omar Shunnar, the CEO of Emaar Healthcare, explains.

“Early in 2003-2004, Emaar Properties stated that they wanted to become one of the world’s most valuable companies. They articulated this vision by transforming the company from being just a property developer to a lifestyle developer. This shift from purely property developer to lifestyle developer stemmed from the demand for the development of integrated communities.”

The development of integrated communities involves the building of residential units, schools, entertainment facilities, hotels, medical clinics, office space and so forth all within a single developmental framework.

“This resulted in the establishment of several business units within Emaar – among them retail, hospitality, education and healthcare.” Focussing on the healthcare arm of Emaar, Shunnar said that it set as its main objective the implementation of world class health care. “This entails looking at the quality and location of the facility, the technology, the standards, the practitioners, the hospitality and the community.

“Emaar wanted to ‘blur the lines’ between healthcare and hospitality,” he says.

“We want the healthcare we offer to be patient centric. We don’t want the patient to be sitting around for 15 to 20 minutes waiting to see the doctor.

And this was one of the key reasons they turned to Methodist International, the international business arm of the highly respected USbased The Methodist Hospital.

Shunnar explained that as far as a healthcare system is involved they have “gone the whole nine yards”.

“If we look at patient satisfaction The Methodist Hospital ranks very high in the US. It also achieved a very high rank for clinical outcomes,” says Shunnar.

The Methodist Hospital has implemented a range of clinical and administrative protocols to entrench their commitment to international best practice.

“The way they conduct their business is also one of their strengths. The Methodist Hospital has been ranked in the top 10 by Fortune magazine as one of the ‘best places to work’. So you can imagine the human resource policies and procedures that are in place to create this atmosphere. This is one of the things we looked at,” says Shunnar.

“We hope to bring that same ethos to Dubai. In this way we can become the employer of choice among healthcare practitioners.”

In a statement, Emaar Healthcare said the partnership also ensures that through ongoing and intensive learning programmes developed and delivered by Methodist International, the staff at The Dubai Mall Medical Centre will be familiar with the latest technological advances and best practices in delivering world class healthcare services. To complement this, there is also provision for cross training at The Methodist Hospital in Houston.


Shunnar explained that The Dubai Mall Medical Centre is planning to apply for the prestigious JCI (Joint Commission International) accreditation.

“From the outset we designed the entire facility, as well as the processes, to be accredited by JCI. We are also looking to have the lab accredited and to get the relevant ISO accreditations.”

Shunnar explained that The Dubai Mall Medical Centre will act as a hub for a number of other smaller medical clinics in the city.

“This centre is not the only one. We are currently building two other facilities – in the Meadows and the Arabian Ranches – which will be connected to this one according to the ‘hub and spoke model’.

“The clinics, or community health centres, will refer their patients to this medical centre. Here you have all the specialists – some of the best in town,” says Shunnar.

The community health centres were slated to launch at the end 2009, early 2010.


“At the core of our ethos is the commitment to our community,” Shunnar says. Among a number of community-based initiatives, they plan to run healthcare education programmes within the communities.

“We have a clear social responsibility to ensure that we enhance the quality of life.”

“We will run education campaigns about diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer,” he says enthusiastically.

With the initial seed – The Dubai Mall Medical Centre – successfully planted and taking root, the possibilities down the road look promising.  

ate of upload: 26th Jan 2010

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