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Friday, March 20, 2015

The Patient Abroad: An Exploration of the Motivations and Impact of Medical Tourism

Approximately 11 million people were medical tourists in 2013, generating a market worth over $50 billion. While obtaining accurate data is challenging, estimates suggest the global medical tourism market is expanding by 25% each year.

Having grown up in the UK, where high-quality healthcare is available to all through the National Health Service, I hadn't given the concept of medical tourism a great deal of thought before I moved to Asia. It would simply not have occurred to me to seek healthcare overseas for any other reason than if I happened to fall ill while traveling.

I first became aware of the concept when reading rumors that Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe was being treated in one of Singapore's exclusive private hospitals – which happened to be just down the road from my apartment at the time. This led to much discussion among my peers about how much it would cost to be a medical tourist in Singapore. "High end" patients can expect to accrue bills of thousands of dollars. The most expensive "hospitel" (hospital hotel) penthouse suite (not room) in Singapore costs over $8,000 per night – and it does not include the additional costs of medical treatment. This particular establishment anticipates that at least half of its "guests" (not patients) will come from overseas.

For patients like President Mugabe, the motivation to seek treatment overseas in countries such as Singapore is clear–they have the means to pay for healthcare of a far higher quality than is available even in the best private clinics in their home country.

Singapore is also a particularly popular medical tourism destination for affluent Indonesians because of its proximity to that country. Once again, there is a relative quality differential when compared to what is available to them at home. This year Singapore expects to receive more than one million foreign patients, the majority from Indonesia. Interestingly, an Indonesian newspaper recently noted a growing trend for the obituaries posted in its pages to cite the hospital in which the patient passed away. This indicates that there is a prestige factor in being treated at a top overseas hospital.

Other Asian markets have pursued a different medical tourism strategy, profiting from differences in the cost of healthcare between countries. In the battle to attract medical tourists from overseas, these countries are positioning themselves as offering relatively high-quality, low-cost healthcare, often in a particular niche type of treatment or procedure. It is increasingly common for people to travel to Thailand for cosmetic dental veneers, to India for laser eye surgery or to South Korea for a plastic surgery procedure, for example. Here the motivation of the tourist is the opposite of those described above. It is to get a bargain when compared to the cost in their home country.

Outside of the Asian context, a similar phenomenon can be found in the Americas, where US citizens are increasingly crossing the border to access healthcare in Mexico or even traveling further south to access Colombia's elite private medical facilities for a fraction of the price they would pay at home. Weight-loss surgery is a particularly popular medical tourism choice, as these procedures are typically outside of the remit of US insurance plans, and out-of-pocket payments are much lower in Latin America. For healthcare that is covered by insurance, some insurers have recently attempted to leverage the medical tourism trend by launching pilot programs which link up with non-US hospitals to provide treatment, thereby reducing the cost of treatment and improving their margins.

Turkey, another growing medical tourism destination, is uniquely positioned within the market in that it attracts tourists from the European Union and US due to its comparatively low-cost healthcare, while also appealing to affluent citizens of troubled neighboring Middle Eastern countries such as Syria by offering relatively high-quality healthcare they lack access to domestically.

Sensing opportunity for further economic growth, medical tourism destinations are expanding their ambitions, with many pursuing aggressive strategies to attract patients in an increasingly competitive marketplace. For example, while South Korea's plastic surgery industry is a global success story, with the nation boasting the highest per capita number of plastic surgeons worldwide, there is a drive to move beyond plastic surgery tourism into other therapy areas, such as oncology. Turkey benefits from a Turkish Airlines initiative to support patients visiting Turkey for medical purposes by providing these individuals with discounted, flexible airfares and excess luggage allowances.

However, barriers to medical tourism inevitably remain. Logistically, it's a hassle – especially when illness is involved. It isn't an option in acute situations, and some patients are simply too sick to travel. Fears about quality and safety of healthcare in other markets hold back some tourists, particularly those seeking a bargain. Aftercare and follow-up care are also a challenge – particularly if a chronic disease is involved. Hence medical tourism has become most popular for planned, optional, one-off procedures (as per the earlier examples of aesthetics and weight loss).  

Nevertheless in some emerging markets medical tourism already has a significant impact and is something we need to consider when exploring the opportunities different markets offer for pharma. In Singapore, for example, medical tourism extends the value of its pharmaceutical market beyond that of its local population, making it relatively more important for manufacturers of high-cost drugs than a simple glance at its population size might suggest.

Looking to the future, as travel gets easier and the world becomes progressively more digitally entwined and interconnected, it might be that some of the remaining barriers currently holding back even more widespread medical tourism can be overcome. Technological innovation in the form of e-health, telemedicine and online pharmacies may make follow-up care and repeat prescriptions more straightforward. Improved and globally recognized quality controls and accreditations, plus access to online reviews from fellow medical tourists, may help ease some patients' lingering concerns about safety and quality of the care they can expect to receive abroad. Perhaps in some markets the influx of affluent international patients will price all but the most affluent local population out of private healthcare in their own country.

The patient journey within a single healthcare system may become less predictable, posing a number of pertinent questions about how the pharmaceutical industry approaches marketing and "beyond the pill" patient support initiatives. Taking this a step further, as global healthcare borders become increasingly blurred, the internationally mobile patient may become a standard patient segment considered in healthcare market research.

Resource -

www.mmm-online.com/the-patient-abroad-an-exploration-of-the-motivations-and-impact-of-medical-tourism/article/404476/

http://medical-tourism-magazine.blogspot.com/

http://health-tourism-india.page.tl

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Medical Tourism Market (India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan, Turkey, South Korea, Costa Rica, Poland, Dubai and Philippines) - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013 - 2019

Medical tourism is defined as the travel of patients from their home country to different destinations for the purpose of treatment that may also incorporate an extended holiday. Rise in healthcare costs in developed countries coupled with the availability of high quality medical services at lower prices in developing nations has primarily surged the expansion of the medical tourism industry. Moreover, rise in elderly population along with growing number of uninsured population has further triggered the market growth. Patients are travelling abroad not only for cosmetic surgeries with a quick recovery, but also for sophisticated cardiovascular surgeries. Many countries plan to leverage medical tourism as a strategy to boost their healthcare services and tourism industry. By encouraging its presence in the medical tourism market, a country can stimulate its economic growth and create employment opportunities. Consequently, the medical tourism industry is rapidly expanding and is anticipated to have a significant growth in the near future.

Medical tourism is a direct result of globalization of healthcare. According to the Medical Tourism Association, a global non-profit organization, it was estimated that approximately 1.6 million Americans travelled to other destinations in 2012 for medical services and this number is anticipated to grow in the near future. Rising number of uninsured population and rise in demand for cosmetic surgery is further driving market growth. There is an emerging opportunity for Asian and Middle Eastern countries that are catering to the healthcare requirements of developed countries like the U.S, Canada and European countries. Factors such as medical specializations, geographic proximity, portability of health insurance, and reputation of the country are some of the main reasons that compel the patient to move to another destination. However, factors such as problem in follow-up care, medical malpractice and others could restrain the growth of this market.

The research report on the global medical tourism market helps in understanding the prominent forces responsible for the growth of this industry. In addition, the current market dynamics including drivers, restraints, trends, and developments are covered throughout the report. The research report provides in-depth analysis of the geographies facilitating inbound medical services that include India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico, Brazil, Turkey, Taiwan, South Korea and prospective countries. Market size estimates and forecast for the period 2011 to 2019 has been given for each of the countries, in terms of USD million, using 2012 as a base year. The market overview section of the report comprises qualitative analysis of the overall market considering the factors determining the market dynamics such as drivers, restraints and opportunities along with Porter’s five forces analysis. These different analyses would provide a thorough understanding about the market from its past, present and future perspectives and help market players to design effective business strategies. Further, the report on medical tourism comprises executive summary chapter that will help you understand the overall market size, growth rate of various segments, geographies and competitors present in the market in a very precise manner.

This report on medical tourism also deals with various government initiatives taken by different countries in order to boost the medical tourism market. Besides, this report covers various aspects such as market size on the basis of number of medical tourists, revenue generated from foreign patients and market segmentation based on the most sought after procedures. Medical tourism report also provides profiles of major hospitals that provide medical treatment to foreign patients. Some of the significant players in this market include Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd., Bumrungrad International Hospital, Asian Heart Institute and others. These market players are profiled on the basis of various attributes such as company overview, recent developments, financial overview and strategies adopted by them to flourish in the market.

The global medical tourism market is segmented into the following categories:

    Medical Tourism Market, by Geography
        India
  •             Overview
  •             Cost Comparison of Procedures
  •             SWOT Analysis
  •             Government Support
  •             India Inbound Medical Tourism (No. of patients)
  •             India Medical Tourism: Top Revenue Contributing Country (%) (2012)
        Thailand
  •             Overview
  •             Cost Comparison of Procedures
  •             SWOT Analysis
  •             Government Support
  •             Thailand Inbound Medical Tourism ( No. of patients)
  •             Thailand Medical Tourism: Top Revenue Contributing Country (%) (2012)
        Singapore
  •             Overview
  •             Cost Comparison of Procedures
  •             SWOT Analysis
  •             Government Support
  •             Singapore Inbound Medical Tourism ( No. of patients)
  •             Singapore Medical Tourism: Top Revenue Contributing Country (%) (2012)
        Malaysia
  •             Overview
  •             Cost Comparison of Procedures
  •             SWOT Analysis
  •             Government Support
  •             Malaysia Inbound Medical Tourism ( No. of patients)
  •             Malaysia Medical Tourism: Top Revenue Contributing Country (%) (2012)
        Mexico
  •             Overview
  •             Cost Comparison of Procedures
  •             SWOT Analysis
  •             Government Support
  •             Mexico Inbound Medical Tourism ( No. of patients)
  •             Mexico Medical Tourism: Top Revenue Contributing Country (%) (2012)
        Brazil
  •             Overview
  •             Cost Comparison of Procedures
  •             SWOT Analysis
  •             Government Support
  •             Brazil Inbound Medical Tourism ( No. of patients)
  •             Brazil Medical Tourism: Top Revenue Contributing Country (%) (2012)
        Turkey
  •             Overview
  •             Cost Comparison of Procedures
  •             SWOT Analysis
  •             Government Support
  •             Turkey Inbound Medical Tourism ( No. of patients)
  •             Turkey Medical Tourism: Top Revenue Contributing Country (%) (2012)
        South Korea
  •             Overview
  •             Cost Comparison of Procedures
  •             SWOT Analysis
  •             Government Support
  •             South Korea Inbound Medical Tourism ( No. of patients)
  •             South Korea Medical Tourism: Top Revenue Contributing Country (%) (2012)
        Taiwan
  •             Overview
  •             Cost Comparison of Procedures
  •             SWOT Analysis
  •             Government Support
  •             Taiwan Inbound Medical Tourism ( No. of patients)
  •             Taiwan Medical Tourism: Top Revenue Contributing Country (%) (2012)
        Prospective Countries
  1.             Costa Rica
  2.             Poland
  3.             Dubai
  4.             Philippines
  5.             Ghana


Resource -
http://medical-tourism-magazine.blogspot.com

http://medicaltravelindia.edublogs.org

http://www.scoop.it/t/medical-tourism-by-anan-adisa

www.transparencymarketresearch.com/medical-tourism.html