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© 2013 Medical Travel Today

Medical Travel Today is a publication of CPR Strategic Marketing Communications, a public relations firm based near New York City that specializes in healthcare and life sciences, with an international clientele. CPR, its Partners, and clients are at the nexus of where medical travel is today, and where it will be tomorrow.

Publisher
Laura Carabello

Editor
Laura Carabello

Managing Editor
Megan Kennedy

Table of Contents

From the Editor

From the Editor: This week in Medical Travel Today, Laura Carabello

News in Review

Brazil's Medical Tourism Booming

Need a Procedure? Cairns Medical Tourism Hub Idea Touted

Out-of-box Suggestions on Kerala Tourism from Panel of MPs

Medical Concierge Tourism International (MCT) Announces New Website for Companies and Municipalities Seeking Medical Cost Containment Options in Health and Dental Care

Ruzhou to Construct Medical Tourism Resort


Spotlight

Patrick Spain
Co-Founder, Chairman, CEO

Mark L. Friedman
M.D., F.A.C.E.P., F.A.C.P., Co-Founder, Chief Medical Officer

Industry News

HealthcareAbroad.com Launches Medical Tourism Directory

Medical Tourism Expanding

Sun, Sea, Sand, and Surgery

Upcoming Events

International Medical Tourism Conference & Exhibition - China 2013

Moscow MedShow

Indian Medical Tourism Conference 2013

The Wellness Tourism Congress at the Global Spa & Wellness Summit

4th Medical Tourism Saint Petersburg Exhibition

Mexico: Global Summit on Medical Tourism Business

2nd Malaysia International Healthcare Travel Expo 2013

AnfasHetex Health Tourism Fair

India Med Expo 2013-Andra Pradesh Medical Tourism & Health Care Conference

Health Tourism Expo 2013

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Global Health Voyager

THIS WEEK IN MEDICAL TRAVEL TODAY

Volume 7, Issue 17

Dear Colleagues:

If you think you have heard it all when it comes to telehealth and telemedicine, think again:
This week, Mark L. Friedman, M.D., co-founder, First Stop Health, discusses his company's new model and its role in medical travel. 

Please be in touch and let me know how you are surviving and thriving in this emerging marketplace. 

Laura Carabello
Editor and Publisher
Medical Travel Today
lcarabello@cpronline.com
http://twitter.com/medtravtoday
http://twitter.com/CPR_Comm

2013 IHC Forum West



Global Health Voyager

Log onto Facebook and join the Medical Travel Today Group. Look for recent news, trends, and post discussions in the board. If you would like to see something in Medical Travel Today let us know in the discussion board. If you have a question, post it there!

You can also follow Medical Travel Today on Twitter. For more information log onto www.medicaltraveltoday.com

Spotlight

Patrick Spain, Co-Founder, Chairman, CEO

Mark L. Friedman, M.D., F.A.C.E.P., F.A.C.P., Co-Founder, Chief Medical Officer

SPOTLIGHT: Mark L. Friedman, M.D., F.A.C.E.P., F.A.C.P., Co-Founder, Chief Medical Officer


First Stop Health

From the Editor:
Individuals with robust financial resources should be able to navigate their way through the health system and access the best quality care without too much trouble, right?

Wrong.

Take Patrick Spain, for example. A highly successful business entrepreneur who sold his company, Hoover's, Inc., for a significant amount of money, Spain discovered that the healthcare process is neither simple nor easy.

Five years ago, his wife was fighting a deadly cancer, and he encountered challenge after challenge in locating the optimal place for treatment. Unfortunately, she passed away before an effective therapy could be introduced.

That's when Spain decided to dedicate himself to developing a solution that would help people access accurate information and get to the right healthcare providers, at the right time and for the right amount of money.

First Stop Health is his creation, the result of months of frustration in trying to get answers to questions and the right advice.

At first blush, the model appears to be another spin on telehealth - but it's actually a great deal more and the concept of medical travel is very much in play. Simply stated, First Stop Health is an online personal health management service for individuals and families that combines 24/7/365 access to U.S.-based licensed physicians for diagnosis with access to patient advocates, unique symptom and condition information, electronic health records, customized news and resource locators to meet its members' minor and major, urgent and chronic, healthcare needs.

During the recent Institute for Healthcare Consumerism meeting in Atlanta, Ga., the chief medical officer of First Stop Health, Dr. Mark Friedman, shared the company's unique approach.

Patrick Spain, Co-Founder, Chairman, CEO
Spain started First Stop Health because of his own unsatisfactory experience with the healthcare system and his desire to improve that experience for others.

Spain is a serial entrepreneur who has founded or co-founded four Web-based companies. Co-founder and long-time chairman and CEO of Hoover's, Inc., Spain led the company from a small book publisher in 1992 to a profitable, publicly traded online business information services company with $31 million in revenue in 2001 with a sale to D&B in 2003 for $119 million.

Spain was also the founder, chairman and CEO of HighBeam Research, which he started in 2002 and sold to Cengage Learning in December, 2008. He also co-founded and serves as executive chairman of Newser, a news filtering and summarization service with an audience of over three million readers each month.

Spain serves as a board member of Televerde, a rapidly growing, socially responsible telemarketing service, and InfoArmy, a Silicon Valley-based company information service that is using crowd sourcing to revolutionize data collection, quality and delivery. Until recently Spain served on the boards of SmartAnalyst, a research company that serves the pharma industry, and GuideStar, the largest and most trusted database of information on the not-for-profit sector. Spain is a member of the Board of Governors of Opportunity International, the largest and best capitalized micro-lender in the world.

Spain has worked in the technology industry since 1979 and has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Boston University. He lives in the Chicago area with his wife and three daughters.

Mark L. Friedman, M.D., F.A.C.E.P., F.A.C.P., Co-Founder, Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Friedman is assistant clinical professor of Trauma and Emergency Medicine at the University of Connecticut. He is a nationally recognized expert in medical cost containment, serving as an adviser to various government entities on medical billing, fraud and abuse.

Formerly, he was chief of Emergency Medicine at St. Elizabeth's Hospital of Boston, assistant professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, assistant clinical professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Illinois, and adjunct professor of Public Health at Benedictine University. Dr. Friedman has also served as president of The Brighton Group, a medical billing and consulting company, and CEO of National Medical Claims Analysts.

Dr. Friedman is a graduate of the Pritzker School of Medicine of the University of Chicago and the Kron Scholar Program of the University of North Carolina's Kenan Flagler School of Business. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a Life Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

Contact: edoc02@gmail.com

Medical Travel Today (MTT): How would you describe the overall business model?

Mark L Friedman (MF): We wrap the term"advocacy services" around everything we do for patients, and while traditional telehealth services are one piece of the puzzle, we provide a host of other options that people need and value.

This service spans everything from finding the appropriate insurance coverage to bill negotiation services that help folks get money back on their medical expenditures, second opinion programs or finding the right doctor or hospital to deliver the most appropriate level of care.

Of course, we also provide traditional telehealth services to advise on medical conditions that can be diagnosed during a telephone consultation or handle prescriptions and refills.

While other programs charge on a per-call basis, First Stop Health uses a flat fee arrangement: $250 is the base level membership which entitles the individual to unlimited calls to a doctor and up to one hour of advocacy services, with additional hours available for purchase if necessary.

We help every member to set up, update, control and share - as they see fit - a basic medical record. This includes records from the person's current physicians, imaging records, or lab and diagnostic results. This allows the individual to send records to a new location whenever he or she chooses to do so - and that can be overseas.

MTT: Who provides the advice or guidance?

MF: We utilize the services of 300 physicians, and they provide the instant advice regarding minor health conditions such as upper respiratory infections or urinary tract infections, allergies, arthritis pain - and provide prescriptions and refills when appropriate. There are physicians licensed in every state which allows the program to avoid any cross-border regulatory issues.

Our doctors give clinical advice that helps people avoid expensive and time-consuming trips to the hospital emergency room or urgent care center, especially at night or after regular physician office hours. This also helps to mitigate time lost from work, which translates into reduced absenteeism and improved productivity -- key goals for both employers and employees.

For other advocacy services, we have a network of professionals including nurses, insurance specialists, and billing and claims experts who take on other challenges, such as researching the best option for treatments, reviewing hospital bills and getting charges reduced when the patient was incorrectly billed - which happens more than you think.

Or it could be a matter as simple as determining what immunizations are required for traveling to certain countries.

MTT: Can you provide an example of the services as they apply to medical travel?

MF: One of the most pressing problems with medical travel is that there are numerous"medical scams" that continue to operate both inside and outside the U.S., including Tijuana, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

Individuals are unwittingly drawn to these clinics and falsely promised a"cure." These scam operations harm innocent people. But this is one area where we can help patients to avoid problematic treatments that could be quite deleterious to a patient's health.

I am aware of one individual who was diagnosed with a tumor of the brain that grows at an exceptionally fast rate, and lured to a U.S.-based clinic that promised a cure. The doctor provided a complementary/alternative cancer treatment intended to protect the body from disease. He claimed to have researched the treatment at a high-profile hospital in the United States.

We stepped in and placed a call to the institution, and through our investigations we discovered that the hospital had stopped working with the physician when they found out about his phony research results.

How would anyone know that this doctor was a fraud? How can people really uncover problematic providers or facilities?

That's where we step in. We encourage people to do their research and turn to our resources for more credible information - and that covers providers both within the U.S. and outside its borders.

MTT: You also offer to help with pricing. How does that work?

MF: If you are familiar with bariatric surgery, you may know that many patients require plastic surgery following significant weight loss to address the folds of skin that remain on one's torso.

One person called us because she was quoted an outrageous amount of money to undergo the procedure, and it was not covered by insurance. We helped her to contact the plastic surgeon and literally"cut a deal" on the price. She did have the surgery, but paid a drastically reduced fee.

People who are inexperienced with this are unaware that medical costs can be negotiated. We can get Mercedes care at Volkswagen prices - and that applies to both international and domestic providers.

MTT: Do you also provide guidance on travel medicine?

MF: Yes. People need to be informed and educated when they travel, and this service can be a lifesaver.

Here's a good example. A college-age male called asking about an upcoming trip to Southeast Asia where he would be traveling to some interesting areas, such as Vietnam. We researched what type of medications and immunizations he should take prior to and during the trip - and also added in some other sound advice:

Hepatitis A is prevalent in this region, so avoid drinking non-chlorinated water. Also, don't go swimming in fresh water. The risk with swimming in fresh water in the tropics is schistosomiasis -- a fluke (a type of worm) that burrows right through your skin when you swim or even wade in fresh water. No worries with salt water...it is safe.

MTT: Can you help people with specific diseases or diagnoses?

MF: Certainly. People need advice on so many medical issues, and that's one of our most important services. Today, they go to WebMD for information and get, in my opinion, too much information. It's simply overwhelming to try and digest it all.

On the front end, they are asking themselves,"What type of care do I need and where should I go for that care?" Then on the back end, they are left wondering,"Is that really the best option? Do I need a second opinion or referral?"

Our team has the resources and knowledge base to offer the most credible guidance.

MTT: Is First Stop Health really the ultimate consumer resource?

MF: There is widespread consensus that the U.S. healthcare system is dysfunctional - a system that is broken and doesn't seem to get repaired.

Despite advances in technology, the delivery of healthcare today remains much as it was in the 20th and even 19th centuries. The major difference is that now we have a third-party payment system, with employers typically covering the costs and government offering Medicaid and Medicare.

These payers influence what services can be performed, where they can be done and who can deliver the care. Patients are no longer at the center of the system - they are essentially captives of the system -- and doctors have lost their advisory function.
We are changing this paradigm, and creating a truly patient-centric approach. Others refer to patient empowerment, but we actually make it happen by providing people with the information, tools, access, and advice needed to take action in the pursuit of their own individual healthcare goals.

We are problem solvers, and with the use of "smart technology" are able to aid patients in making a decision, or provide an actual consultation with a physician or other medical professional. The goal is to help individuals implement a coherent plan for further action - including the follow-on doctor's appointment or further specialty consultation.

First Stop Health is not in the business of practicing medicine. We are in the business of advising our members on how to make their own decisions in the pursuit of a healthier life.

About First Stop Health
First Stop Health is a convenient, quick and affordable telehealth service that provides its members with immediate phone and email access to more than 300 physicians, 24/7/365. Members can also speak to patient advocates for help with navigating serious illnesses, second opinions, insurance coverage, medical bills and more. First Stop Health goes beyond calls, offering personalized, confidential medical dashboards with access to personal electronic health records, customized news, sophisticated yet easy-to-understand health content and tools to quickly locate physicians, urgent care centers, drugstore clinics and emergency rooms.

To learn more visit: https://www.fshealth.com.

Industry News

HealthcareAbroad.com Launches Medical Tourism Directory

digitaljournal.com - HealthcareAbroad.com launched a Web portal to help patients access healthcare anywhere in the world. With increasing healthcare costs and growing demand, patients are beginning to look outside their home market for healthcare options. Patients are becoming better educated, more aware and more mobile, with the willingness and ability to travel further for higher quality, more affordable healthcare. HealthcareAbroad.com connects these patients with providers, helps educate patients, instills confidence and helps better prepare patients while promoting the medical tourism industry.

Medical tourism is the process of traveling outside of a local area for healthcare, and is a booming industry of approximately $20 billion in the current year. With around three-quarters of a million Americans estimated to travel for healthcare this year, HealthcareAbroad.com seeks to enable patients to make the best possible choices for their personal healthcare. Patients may choose to travel for a procedure for a number of reasons, from availability of a procedure to reduced waiting times, but the most common reason for a patient to choose medical tourism is for cost savings. Depending on the procedure and destination country, patients can save anywhere from 25 percent to 80 percent of the cost of having a procedure done in the U.S.

“Medical tourism is truly changing the way people think about healthcare," says Greg Mogab, co-founder of Healthcare Abroad."People are able to find excellent Western-educated doctors, performing cutting-edge procedures at a fraction of the cost of getting it done locally. HealthcareAbroad.com gives patients a new ‘global choice.' Patients may discover healthcare alternatives they may not have previously considered at home."

Another benefit of medical tourism, according to Mogab, is the opportunity to combine a procedure with a vacation."It really is a win-win. You can travel somewhere you have always wanted to go, have a procedure, and come home feeling great, looking great, having taken a vacation you may not have taken otherwise. Typically the cost of the procedure and the travel costs combined with the extended holiday are still less expensive than the same procedure at home."

Additionally, the ability to pay for medical tourism using funds in a Health Savings Account (HSA) can make the trip something that may not have been possible otherwise. Mogab goes on to say,"Funds from HSAs can be used, in many cases, to pay for not only the procedure, but also for airfare, hotel, and other travel expenses for both the patient and a companion."

About HealthcareAbroad.com
HealthcareAbroad.com Inc. is an American corporation based in Colorado and founded by Jason Coppage and Greg Mogab. For over 14 years, they have been creating Web portals in the travel industry. They launched HealthcareAbroad.com after individual positive experiences with international medical treatment, and out of frustration from being unable to find quality, reliable information.

Industry News

Medical Tourism Expanding
by Andrew J. Wood

Pattayamail.com - Medical tourism is a $40 billion market that's expanding 25 percent a year, according to the guidebook Patients Beyond Borders.

U.S. patients can save 65-90 percent by seeking treatment in Thailand for ailments ranging from a coronary artery bypass to rhinoplasty and sex reassignment surgery. The average cost of a hip replacement in Thailand, which has emerged as a"thrift" destination for orthopedic and cardiac surgery, is one-fourth of that in the U.S.

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

Sun, Sea, Sand, and Surgery
by Geri Bain

ASTA Network Magazine has published an article on medical travel article entitled,"Sun, Sea, Sand, and Surgery," in its Summer 2013 issue. Author of the article, Geri Bain, has included input from medical travel expert, Laura Carabello, executive editor and publisher of Medical Travel Today.

To read the full article click here.

From the Editor

FROM THE EDITOR
In the previous issue of Medical Travel Today, the article,"Cambodia and Vietnam: Cambodia and Vietnam Enhance Medical Tourism Offering" was incorrectly credited to Medical Tourism News, a site that sources copyright content from various publishers.

The article, written by Ian Youngman, was first published in the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ). Please click here for the original article.

We appreciate this issue being brought to our attention and apologize for the inconvenience

Upcoming Events

International Medical Tourism Conference & Exhibition - China 2013

 

 

September 12-13, 2013 - Shanghai, China

To learn more or to register click here.



Moscow MedShow

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September 21-22, 2013 - Tishinka Exhibition Center, Moscow, Russia
To learn more or to register click here.


Indian Medical Tourism Conference 2013

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October TBD, 2013 - Bangalore/Ahmedabad, India

To learn more or to register click here.


The Wellness Tourism Congress at the Global Spa & Wellness Summit

October 5-7, 2013 - The Oberoi, Gurgaon, New Delhi, India

To learn more or to register click here.



4th Medical Tourism Saint Petersburg Exhibition

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October 10-12, 2013 - Lenexpo Exhibition Complex, Saint Petersburg, Russia

To learn more or to register click here .


Mexico: Global Summit on Medical Tourism Business

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October 16-18, 2013 - Mexicali, Mexico

To learn more or to register click here.


2nd Malaysia International Healthcare Travel Expo 2013

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October 20-22, 2013 - Sunway Pyramid Convention Center, Malaysia

To learn more or to register click here.


AnfasHetex Health Tourism Fair
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November 14-16, 2013 -Antalya Expo Center, Antalya, Turkey
To learn more or to register click here.


 

IHC FORUM WEST 2013

IHC Forum

December 5-6, 2013 - Red Rock Casino Resort Spa, Las Vegas, Nevada
To learn more or to register click here.


India Med Expo 2013-Andra Pradesh Medical Tourism & Health Care Conference
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December 6-8, 2013 - HITEX Exhibition Center, Hyderabad, India
To learn more or to register click here.


 

Health Tourism Expo 2013

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December 19-22, 2013 - Istanbul Expo Center, Istanbul, Turkey

To learn more or to register click here.

Medical Travel Today: Opinions and Perspectives on an Industry in the Making

Medical Travel Today - the authoritative newsletter for the worldwide medical travel industry - is pleased to announce publication of a new book, "Medical Travel Today: Opinions and Perspectives on an Industry in the Making.

Featuring 40 of the newsletter's most compelling interviews from the first five years of publication, the volume chronicles the explosive growth of international medical tourism as witnessed and experienced by some of the key stakeholders and players. A must-read for anyone interested or involved in the industry.


News in Review

Brazil's Medical Tourism Booming

Healthcaretourismnews.com - Forget the beach. How about going to Brazil to visit a hospital? Growing numbers of tourists are doing just that. This is one of the most reputable and expensive hospitals in Brazil. It's out of reach for the vast majority of Brazilians, but like other top medical centers here it has been attracting a growing number of international patients. Medical tourism is growing worldwide and Brazil wants a bigger chunk of this market.

Need a Procedure? Cairns Medical Tourism Hub Idea Touted

Cairns.com - Cairns could reap huge financial benefits by transforming itself into an international medical hub attracting tourists in need of cheap specialist treatments, according to a leading tourism researcher.

Out-of-box Suggestions on Kerala Tourism from Panel of MPs

Business-standard.com - Although wellness tourism is already there in the state, the committee says this should be developed as a unique brand to attract tourists from over the world."The committee would like the state and central government to come up with solution-providing ideas so that wellness tourism in Kerala is developed as a brand."

Medical Concierge Tourism International (MCT) Announces New Website for Companies and Municipalities Seeking Medical Cost Containment Options in Health and Dental Care

Prweb.com - The Medical Concierge Tourism International (MCT) website addresses the new phenomena referred to as "medical tourism," which is defined as the practice of traveling abroad to have medical procedures performed, is growing rapidly in popularity in the United States, and based on a study by Deloitte is expected to reach nearly $50 billion in outsourced care by 2017.

Ruzhou to Construct Medical Tourism Resort

Chinadaily.com.cn - The city of Ruzhou in Henan province is trying to seize on the popularity of medical tourism (MT) to construct a medical tourism resort. Ruzhou sees the huge potential of MT and is now cooperating with Boyi Group from Taiwan to construct a cross-Straits Ruzhou hot spring medical tourism resort that will be the first of its kind in the world.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Do you know of any available job openings relative to the medical travel industry? We encourage readers to submit any available, relevant job opportunities along with its descriptions and requirements for fellow readers and industry professionals to consider. All submissions are appreciated.

 

Editor's Note: The information in Medical Travel Today is believed to be accurate, but in some instances, may represent opinion or judgment. The newsletter's providers do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any of the information and shall not be liable for any loss or damage caused - directly or indirectly - by or from the information. All information should be considered a supplement to - and not a substitute for - the care provided by a licensed healthcare provider or other appropriate expert. The appearance of advertising in this newsletter should in no way be interpreted as a product or service endorsement by the newsletter's providers.