Our Newest Partnership—and Why It’s Special

by JHI Staff on January 27, 2014

The signing for Johns Hopkins Aramco HealthcareAs I’ve written previously, employers in the United States and in many other countries play a critical role in the health care delivery chain. Employers frequently pay for health insurance, or directly pay for their employees’ care. They also can provide support for efforts to improve employee health. Some big companies partner with hospital systems to provide their employees improved access to care, or to provide tailored types of care. And in some cases, an employer—even one that isn’t in the health care industry—might go as far as to operate its own clinics and hospitals to directly deliver health care to employees.

At Johns Hopkins Medicine International (JHI), we’re dedicated to collaborating with health care delivery systems around the world to improve the quality, safety and accessibility of care for as many people as possible. That said, a partnership with a large, employer-operated health care system is not something that any major academic medical center has ever undertaken. But our mission pushes us to go beyond what’s been done before—we’ve been defining (and redefining) the boundaries of global collaborative health care for nearly 20 years.

Today, I’m proud to announce that we have formally entered into just such a groundbreaking partnership with a large employer, and it’s one of the most unique and ambitious opportunities we’ve ever considered.

The employer is global energy leader Saudi Aramco, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. For more than 80 years, Saudi Aramco has been operating a medical services division to provide high-quality health care to a population of its employees, family members, retirees and other beneficiaries that today numbers 350,000 around the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The company’s health care system sees more patients than many substantial U.S. hospital systems. That system was a force in building the first hospitals in Saudi Arabia, and has had a significant impact on general population health in the region through its efforts to help eradicate diseases such as smallpox and malaria. We’ve been continually impressed with Saudi Aramco’s dedication to the health of its community.

This new partnership between Johns Hopkins Medicine and Saudi Aramco takes the form of a long-term, joint venture called Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, which will assume the responsibilities of Saudi Aramco’s existing health care system. (Each organization will have an indirect ownership interest in the Saudi-registered company.)

At the heart of Johns Hopkins Medicine’s contribution to this venture will be our expertise in enhancing clinical excellence, specialty care, patient safety, and overall health care delivery and quality in a patient-centered context. In addition, we’ll assist the venture in maintaining high levels of effective administrative leadership. And we’ll contribute to the long-term improvement of the health and wellness of a population. Overall, our shared vision is to establish Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare as a sustainable, health care center of excellence that represents a next-generation approach to global collaborative health care, and a model for health care delivery systems everywhere.

As I’ve written before, sustainability is important to our mission, and in our projects we emphasize establishing pipelines for the recruitment and training of health care professionals. Our goal with Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare isn’t to continually ship physicians, nurses and administrators from Baltimore to serve in Saudi Arabia for the long term, but to enable the joint venture to draw on substantial new and growing pools of talent in its own and other regions.

In keeping with Johns Hopkins Medicine’s own tripartite mission, we also want to see the venture become an incubator not only for excellence in patient care, but also over the long term for medical education and research. That way, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare will be able to more effectively address those health care challenges that are most relevant to the region, including the management and prevention of chronic illness such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

But there is one more reason this joint venture is significant. Health care isn’t like other services and products. It is an essential element of a full human life, one that affects the quality and span of our very existence, and that impacts family and community. That’s true for all of us, regardless of belief, culture and political loyalties. Health considerations can transcend all the day-to-day goals and obstacles that consume our daily lives. Health is the great equalizer. When nations work together on improving health care, they stand to achieve a mutual understanding and respect that is often sorely lacking in many other ways that countries interact today—in a way that has a long-lasting, positive impact on human life.

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Steve LIU February 9, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Dear Dr. Thompson,
I am wondering if you have interest to build a hospital in Ningbo, Zhejiang, China. we would be really appreciate if we could hear back from John Hopkins about it. Thanks !

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Steve LIU February 9, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Dear Dr. Thompson,
I am so impressed about what John Hopkins had accomplished in Saudi Aramco, it made me feel so touching and inspiring. I am just wondering if John Hopkins would be interested in helping to build up a premier hospital in Ningbo, Zhejiang, China. We aiming to build up the best hospital in the southeast of China to improve the general health care in the areas by delivering the top American standard medical cares. We already had a brief plan for the hospital project, but we are having difficulties to reach person who we can talk about this. Let us know if you are interested in it, we would be really appreciate if we could hear back from John Hopkins about it. Thanks so much!

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Belinda Zhang February 8, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Dear Dr. Thompson,
I am so impressed about what John Hopkins had accomplished in Saudi Aramco, it made me feel so touching and inspiring. Be half of the City government, just wondering if John Hopkins would be interested in helping to build up a premier hospital in Chengdu,Sichuan, China. We aiming to build up the best hospital in the southwest of China to improve the general health care in the areas by delivering the top American standard medical cares. We already had a brief plan for the hospital project, but we are having difficulties to reach person who we can talk about this. Let us know if you are interested in it, we would be really appreciate if we could hear back from John Hopkins about it. Thanks so much!

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