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Archive for Medical Tourism

Hearts, Hips, Angio, and Gastric

by Nick Jacobs

During the last two weeks, I have been exposed to international vendors promoting their wares to the business community. Charts like this one have recently gotten everyone’s attention:

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We know, for example, that you will wait 1.5 years for elective surgery in England and 2.5 years for the same surgery in Scotland. We have also seen numerous instances where our Canadian neighbors have crossed our borders for timely procedures. Several companies are beginning to seriously study the potential savings garnered by encouraging their employees to go abroad for complex surgeries due mainly to the lower costs, costs which can be nine times cheaper for the same surgery as here in the United States. Just to put this in prospective for you, one of the countries listed above indicated that over 50,000 patients came to their facility from the United States alone last year.

Bangkok’s Bumrundgrad Hospitals, the Apollo and Escort Hospitals in India, often tout English speaking employees and American and British trained staff. Most of the hospitals are Joint Commission accredited and also have met the standards established by the International Organization for Standardization. Interestingly enough, many of these international facilities exceed the quality provided by even the most prominent U.S. hospitals.

Over 60% of those underinsured or uninsured have indicated that they would get on a plane and fly to some beautiful exotic place to seek treatment.

Although this is just the beginning of medical tourism, it is real, and, due to the fact that the earth is now flat, this program will grow. In fact, our medical center is looking to begin Mayo type importing of tourists in order to remain competitive and establish growth in a declining population area.

In a former life, I served as the President of a Convention and Visitors Bureau, and now, as the President of a Medical Center, there is no doubt in my mind that medical tourism is real and could have a phenomenal future.

Any comments or thoughts on this topic will be embraced.

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