The Cleveland Clinic joins other providers eyeing affiliate agreements in China

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An agreement with an entity planning to open a hospital in Shanghai gives the Cleveland Clinic a potential foothold in China.

Healthcare organizations are looking to international markets to increase the reach and depth of their brands. A recent preliminary agreement inked by the Cleveland Clinic suggests the organization may expand into China.

The Cleveland Clinic signed a management consulting agreement on July 1, according to an article in Crain’s Cleveland Business. But the details, which came to light in a bond-holder disclosure document, remain vague. The agreement, signed with an entity that plans to open a hospital in Shanghai, would mark the first relationship under the Cleveland Clinic’s global affiliation program.

Other high-profile U.S.-based healthcare organizations have looked overseas for potential partnership agreements in recent months. For example, UCLA Health and Stanford University Medical Center have looked at the potential for consulting and training providers in Asia and the Middle East, partly in response to the number of foreign patients who come to the U.S. to seek care. Johns Hopkins, UPMC and Mayo Clinic have pursued similar strategies.

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Other hospitals have looked specifically toward China in order to better share healthcare quality and training expertise. For example, the success experienced by City of Hope National Medical Center in Los Angeles while working with hospitals in Wuhang and Zhejiang recently led to a partnership to build a new hospital in Shenzhen. Meanwhile, on the East Coast, Massachusetts General Hospital recently announced its involvement in building a new facility in Shanghai, building on its previous experience developing Jiahui International Hospital.

The potential for a foothold in China marks another step in a continuing process for the Cleveland Clinic. The organization’s initial foray into international management agreements came in Toronto and the United Arab Emirates in 2007. Since then, the Clinic opened an affiliated hospital in Abu Dhabi in 2015 and aims to open a 200-bed facility in London in 2020, according to Crain’s.