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Brigham and Women’s Hospital is co- developing a women’s health center in Shanghai, a deal that matches parent Partners HealthCare’s drive into new markets with growing demand for better medical care.

The tie-up extends a relationship with Jiahui International Hospital, a 500-bed facility under construction in Shanghai for which Partners is working as a long-term consultant.

Another Partners hospital, Massachusetts General, is co-developing Jiahui’s cancer center.

Under the agreement, Brigham staff will advise Jiahui on how to develop and structure women’s health programs. Brigham staff will also travel to Shanghai to train the doctors and nurses who will work at Jiahui. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

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“This is part of our strategic decision to expand the footprint and the influence of the Brigham outside New England,” said Steven Thompson, chief business development officer. “To achieve its mission, it needs that larger footprint.”

China’s health care industry was long dominated by public hospitals. Jiahui is among a new generation of private for-profit hospitals in the rapidly growing country.

As the population grows, demand for health care services is also growing. Researchers at Deloitte expect health care spending in China to grow almost 12 percent annually over the next several years.

Jiahui executives said that their goal is to create a high-quality alternative to the government-run hospitals with which most Chinese residents are familiar.

“We aim to redefine and redesign health care for women in China, offering a full range of care that tailors to their needs at different stages of life,” said Feng Ge, chief executive of Jiahui, said in a statement.

Dr. Gilbert H. Mudge, chief executive of Partners’ international division, said women’s health services — even routine cancer screenings — often go ignored in China, partly because the sheer volume of patients overwhelms health care facilities.

The Jiahui hospital “is trying to develop a totally new approach to medical care in China, a patient-centered approach,” Mudge said. “We think it’s going to represent a state-of-the-art facility in Shanghai.”

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Jiahui International Hospital is to be completed in 2017.
Jiahui International Hospital is to be completed in 2017.Partners Healthcare

Partners’ hospitals are affiliated with Harvard Medical School, a name that holds prestige even in China. Partners executives expect the Jiahui hospital will appeal to middle class consumers who value the Harvard name and want a more personalized approach to their health care. They said they will price the hospital so it’s affordable to “the vast majority of Shanghai patients.”

South of Shanghai, Mass. General is in talks to jointly manage a hospital a Chinese development company plans on an island near Macau.

Partners has done several international projects over the past decade in China, India, the Middle East, and other markets. Under pressure to control costs and limit growth at home, Partners increasingly is looking for business opportunities abroad, in countries with big and growing populations demanding better medical care.

The projects so far have brought Partners $10 million to $20 million a year, a small portion of its $11 billion in annual revenue.

Other US health systems, including Johns Hopkins Medicine and Cleveland Clinic, also have projects abroad.


Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com.