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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
Amanda Haar

Managing Editor
Stephanie Clark

 

Table of Contents

From the Editor

From the Editor: This week in Medical Travel Today, Amanda Haar

News in Review

Dubai Targets Millions of Health Tourists by 2020

Medical Tourism Slows in Tijuana

The Robot Will See You Now

SmartCare Worldwide Launches Medical Travel Benefit Program for Employers

Medical Tourism and Evaluation Co iMER Raises $7m

Reliance Referral Hospital to Address Medical Tourism, says Lead Consultant

Expert Committee Soon for Medical Tourism

Medical Tourism Offers Travel Firms Untapped Growth

China's Tropical Island to Introduce Medical Tourism

Spotlight

SPOTLIGHT: Varsha Lafargue, ONE HealthCare Worldwide

Perspectives

International Patients Flock to US for Assisted Reproductive Techniques

Industry News

Serene Med Concierge presents first in series of Medical Tourism Webinars to USCIPP members

New UnitedHealthcare International Alliances Provide Members Coverage Options in Czech Republic, Access to Network Providers Across Africa 

SmartCare Worldwide Launches Medical Travel Benefit Program for Employers

EasyMed Services, Inc. Launches New Android Smartphone Application for International Medical Passport

TIME Magazine Address the High Cost of Health Care in America

Upcoming Events

PANASALUD International Medical Tourism Conference 2013

International Summit on Health & Wellness Tourism

Kuwait Medical Tourism Congress and Exhibition Scheduled for March 2013

4th Moscow Medical and Health Tourism Congress

Shanghai Medical and Healthcare Tourism Show

MEDEXPO Saudi Arabia 2013

4th Medical Travel International Business Summit

2013 CMTR European Medical Tourism Research Symposium

International Board of Medicine and Surgery (IBMS) Mini Medical Conference

Global Connected Care Conference & 4th Meditour Expo

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Global Health Voyager

THIS WEEK IN MEDICAL TRAVEL TODAY

Volume 7, Issue 6

By Amanda Haar, Editor

Greetings,

Accreditation has long been a recurring theme in medical travel and with good reason. However, there’s a new theme emerging: making accreditation and the learning opportunities associated with it available to all. As covered in our interview with the Joint Commission International’s (JCI) Paula Wilson in Issue 3, JCI is working hard to provide education and training programs to institutions and facilities regardless of their accreditation status.

Also looking to expand learning and training opportunities is the accreditation newcomer ONE HealthCare Worldwide (OHW) (See SPOTLIGHT). Under the direction of Varsha Lafargue, founder and director of the Indian Medical Tourism Conference & Alliance, OHW aims to "raise the standards of patient care by providing a rating system that will enable all patients to share their experiences and concerns." Recognizing that cost is often an obstacle to accreditation, OHW is introducing a "cluster" option that allows a group of hospitals to apply together and share the expense. It’s an interesting approach that certainly could provide the resources and training to improve the quality of care on a broader scale.

As always, we welcome your comments, story ideas, and press releases.

Cheers,

Amanda Haar, Editor
ahaar@cpronline.com 

Global Health Voyager

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Spotlight

Varsha Lafargue

SPOTLIGHT: Varsha Lafargue, ONE HealthCare Worldwide

Editor's Note: In a recent exchange with David Vequist of the Center for Medical Tourism Research (CMTR), he suggested I reach out to Varsha Lafargue, founder and director of the Indian Medical Tourism Conference & Alliance (IMTCA), to discuss the conference, but more importantly, their collective effort to create a new model for accreditation.

While I was interested in hearing about the IMTCA's inaugural event, I was even more interested in learning why they were pursuing a new accreditation program. I think you'll find the answer as interesting as I did.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): Let's start with the IMTCA. When did you first conceive of it and how did your first event go?

Varsha Lafargue (VL): I've been working the IMTCA since 2008, but we really only just formalized it in the last eight months (July 2012). While we had numerous informal meetings about the alliance and conference during that time, the November event was our first formal effort.

But let me back up to explain why I founded the IMTCA.

What I observed was that at many of the other medical travel conferences only the top hospitals of the world participated. There's not really much representation opportunity for the second- and third-tier clinics and systems. The top reasons why the smaller hospitals/clinics do not participate in several medical tourism conferences are:

  • They couldn't see how they could participate to benefit from attending these conferences in the presence of larger corporate hospitals.
  • They know that most medical tourists are attracted and retained by hospitals that already are accredited, and that they were not poised to compete for international patients.
  • They feel that they cannot afford to be accredited or are unaware of the modern tools that can help them with better patient and hospital management.

But interestingly enough, many of the doctors that practice in the top hospitals in India also practice at those lower-tiered facilities. While the aesthetics of the patient room may not be the same, the truth is you are getting the same surgical skill that you would get at a big name hospital, but often for half the price. Now some people might say the price difference reflects a difference in the equipment and services used in the operating room (OR).

But I can tell you, I've done mystery shopping at numerous hospitals in India and if you compare a Tier A facility to a B or C, it's the same or even better. That's because many of the B/C clinics and hospitals are privately funded, often by the very same doctors who practice there. They make the purchasing decisions for the OR or lab or elsewhere based on what's best for the quality of care. Their decision is driven by what's going to allow them to provide the best care, to do the best job. It's not a dollar decision like it is at bigger facilities where Boards set budgets and so forth.

So the idea of IMTCA is to give representation to the "other" quality facilities in order to raise awareness for them.

As for the conference, I would consider it a success. We were very pleased with the attendance (over 450) as well as the coverage it received. More than 500 media outlets covered it.

I think it was a real eye-opener for many who came. We were able to demonstrate a depth of Indian options many hadn't seen before. For example, in Hyderabad, there are over 280 hospital and clinics each staffed with highly trained physicians and staff. There are many, many affordable options.

We were able to demonstrate both value and quality, and offer some very important networking opportunities. In fact, an insurance company from Fiji has now decided they want to send their covered patients to India. We consider that a big success.

MTT: What's in the works for your next event?

VL: We will be hosting the next conference in October of this year in (Bangalore/Ahmedabad). Speakers will include:

  • Dr. David G. Vequist - (CMTR) - New research development in medical tourism
  • Dr. Pushpa M Bhargava (Scientist - Founder of CCMB) - Ethics in healthcare
  • Rajeshwar Rao - (AP Chambers of Commerce) - Incentives from the government
  • Dr. Michael Guiry - (UIW) Marketing medical tourism - best practices
  • Dr. Shruti Ram - (Growing need for cost effective quality life for the aging)
  • Dr. Siddharth Bhalerao - (Orthodontics and Facial Cosmetology)
  • Dr. Glenn Cohen (Harvard) - Legal aspects in medical tourism
  • Josef Woodman (Patient Beyond Borders)
  • Armando Polanco - Corporate insurance in healthcare
  • Dr. Marcia Inhorn (Yale) - Fertility tourism
  • Dr. KS Nayak (Reverse Medical Tourism - Nephrology)
  • Dr. Udai Prakash - (Innovation in Orthopedics)
  • Dr. Ravi Birla (University of Houston), (Biotechnology in Healthcare)
  • Varsha Lafargue - (One HealthCare Worldwide and i-Transition) - The growing need of cost containment and quality enhancement in medical tourism.

Our topics will showcase the need, progress and opportunities in medical tourism, and engage in conversations about Best Practices and Ethics in Healthcare. It will also showcase how innovation in healthcare is playing a key role in the development of mid- to smaller-sized organizations that face fierce competition from their corporate counterparts.

Registration is currently underway (click here for more information).

MTT: I understand you are also involved in the launching of a new accreditation program. Tell me about that.

VL: Yes, I am working with David Vequist of the CMTR on this effort.

Right now there are some very good accreditation systems in place. However, the cost to acquire these is very high for the second- and third-tier organizations I was speaking of before.

Personally, I don't believe money should ever be the obstacle to improving the quality of care anywhere and ensuring patient safety. So we are working to remove that obstacle.

By allowing hospitals, say four or five, to cluster together and apply, we can reduce the cost for all. The hospitals do not have to be formally affiliated but they should be in the same region.

As with other accreditation programs we will evaluate things like best practices, ethics, and offer ongoing training to improve these areas. In addition, we are working to make sure our program recognizes some cultural differences in the way facilities operate. For example, the level of ethics in one country may be different for another country. Keeping a cultural mindset in mind will allow us to make a program that is respectful of those differences, but does not compromise quality.

MTT: What is your timeframe for launching?

VL: We are aiming for later this year.

MTT: Is this an IMTCA initiative?

VL: No, it's an initiative of ONE Healthcare Worldwide (OHW). OHW believes that all individuals have the right to the best care for the best value, be it within their local area or across the world. We are aiming to raise the standards of patient care by providing a rating system that will enable all patients to share their experiences and concerns.

The idea is to get the healthcare providers to step up their offering and put the "Patient First" service idea to practice. And by "patient first" I mean the good old-fashioned doctor-patient relationship where the doctors actually became a part of the patient's life and their family. This is true, especially in India, where doctors were sought not only for medical reasons, but also became part of the social decisions. People sought the doctors' advice on several aspects of their lives and gained tremendous social respect for their credibility. Money followed those who chose to do the right thing because their (the doctor's) services became indispensible. In today's scenario things are different, people's goal have shifted from, "what can I do for my patients" to "how can I have the swankiest practice that shows my ability, fast." We are not against corporatization of healthcare, but strongly believe in patient-centric care providers.

We have interest shown from around 120 hospitals in India at this time. We intend to start there and then work out globally. We are currently working out the needs for staffing, and we'll be putting a great deal of effort and energy into the training of the trainers. We are also trying to collaborate with regional universities to help us host the training programs. Of course, our staff will handle all data collection.

MTT: What are the biggest challenges you're currently facing?

VL: Oh, there are too many but none insurmountable.

Of course we are fine-tuning financial and logistical aspects. But even bigger than that is finding a way to work with the respective governmental systems and agencies.

We have to help people recognize the value of the accreditation. If we can get the government officials to recognize that this is a good cause, we'll be able to move forward faster. Already we've had some requests for, and provided, white papers to various Ministries of Health and Ministries of Tourism (India). I find that very promising.

And I believe the fact that our conference is independently sponsored - that is, we have no affiliation with a hospital, insurer or government - also speaks to the fact that our motives and intentions are for the common good, and our aim is to provide quality care for all. How can anyone find fault with that?

About Varsha Lafargue

The president and CEO at i-Transition, Varsha Lafargue is the founding director for both the US-India businesses. Lafargue has 20+ years of experience working in various European, US and Indian markets in a variety of sectors. She has been collaborating with the government and the NGOs in improving education, leisure, and hospitality sectors. She is an active proponent of corporate social responsibility and ethics in work. Lafargue is also a contemporary entrepreneur in high-end retail industry, lifestyle products, infrastructure, medical tourism and global expansion.

Perspectives

International Patients Flock to US for Assisted Reproductive Techniques

By Celso P. Silva, M.D., M.S., Reproductive Medicine expert, the Center for Reproductive Medicine

Celso P. Silva, M.D., M.S.

After completing medical school 18 years ago, I moved from Brazil to the US and embarked on a career in reproductive medicine. My plan was to spend a year specializing in this area and then return to Brazil. But, as with many life plans, my circumstances changed, and one year turned into three until, eventually, I made the decision to continue my career in the US. Many years later, I have seen a significant trend in reproductive medical travel to the US by citizens of Brazil and from many other nations. The reasons for this trend include various legal and cultural aspects of reproductive medical techniques in other countries, combined with the pleasures of vacationing in the US while receiving medical treatment.

As an example, a number of legal and cultural differences exist between the US and countries such as Brazil and Europe in terms of reproductive medicine. While most assisted reproductive techniques are well accepted in Brazil, some options are illegal, such as commercial oocyte donation. In some European countries, there are restrictions on gestational surrogacy, in which a woman other than the baby’s mother carries the child.

Furthermore, Brazilians seeking reproductive care tend to have a deeper, more personal relationship with their physicians to the extent that they often experience healthcare in an intensely emotional way. These subtle differences require physicians to be culturally sensitive to the needs of Brazilians and other international patients, who might require more personalized attention and additional comforts during their treatment, such as concierge services and personal calls from the physician. Because this level of service is not always provided at busy infertility clinics, it is important to develop customized models of care for international patients.

The Appeal of the Sunshine State

Florida’s reproductive laws in particular attract couples from other countries, especially those considering oocyte donation or gestational surrogacy. Florida is one of the few states that permits intended parents to establish the parental status to a child born through assisted reproduction without a paternity/adoption process. These laws protect the donors and gestational carriers, as well as the intended parents. In addition, Orlando, Fla., is a particularly appealing destination because of its proximity to South America, the Orlando International Airport -- with direct flights to many parts of the world -- Disney World, and a number of other regional attractions for those seeking both infertility care and a traditional vacation.

Celso P. Silva, M.D., M.S., is an expert in Reproductive Medicine at the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Orlando, Fla. He completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Brown University/Women and Infants' Hospital, and a fellowship in Reproductive Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He has won many teaching and scientific awards, including the "David H. Nichols, M.D. Award" for excellence in pelvic surgery, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine "In Training" Award and the Society for Gynecological Investigation’s "President's Award." His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Silva's interests include assisted reproductive technologies, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, the impact of aging on infertility, and germ cell biology. He feels privileged and inspired by helping couples to achieve the dream of parenthood, and is extremely sensitive to his patients' experiences during the challenges of infertility therapy. He is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Industry News

Serene Med Concierge presents first in series of Medical Tourism Webinars to USCIPP members

Recently, Serene Med Concierge presented the first in a series of seminars on the International Patient Journey to U.S. Cooperative for International Patient Programs (USCIPP). Over 40 academic medical centers dialed in to a webinar on February 26 to hear the presentation given by Akilah Kamaria, director of Marketing for Serene Med Concierge.

Focused on the thought processes of the international patient, communication techniques and services needed by international patients, this is the first webinar delivered by Serene Med Concierge supporting US academic medical centers to become more competitive in the global medical tourism marketplace.

Serene Med Concierge is a medical travel agency and marketing consultancy that facilitates and coordinates international patient travel and medical tourism initiatives for US medical centers and hospitals to better serve patients and physicians.

"In this webinar we concentrated on the drivers and services that international patients, who are interested in coming to the United States for their medical treatment, want and need. The member hospitals of USCIPP are committed to the global medical tourism market, and our company has the experience to help US medical centers reach their individual goals," said Ms. Kamaria.

USCIPP is a partnership of the International Trade Administration of the US Department of Commerce, UHC and Rush University. USCIPP aims to improve access to world-renowned US healthcare for patients from around the globe.

Molly Allen, program director for USCIPP, said, "We were very pleased to be able to connect Serene Med Concierge with over 40 of our member organizations through the webinar series. Serene Med Concierge is meeting a need in the industry to assist patients who are traveling to receive their medical care. The information provided was incredibly helpful. Ms. Kamaria brought a great perspective on maximizing interaction with all patients to promote the academic medical center's organizational brand and increase word-of-mouth promotion. We are very pleased that many of our members are following up with Serene Med Concierge to assist with their patient travel needs."

Serene Med Concierge has recently announced its headquarters imminent relocation into The inNEVation Center, in Las Vegas, Nev. The inNEVation Center is the first public-private economic diversification effort of its kind, bringing together entrepreneurs, business leaders, mentors, investors, educators and government agencies.

For more information on Serene Med Concierge services, please visit www.serenelv.com.

Industry News

New UnitedHealthcare International Alliances Provide Members Coverage Options in Czech Republic, Access to Network Providers Across Africa 

UnitedHealthcare International, a UnitedHealth Group business (NYSE: UNH), is offering new coverage options for its Global Solutions plan members traveling or residing in the Czech Republic, as well as access to a new "cashless" medical provider network for people traveling in Africa.

Global Solutions is UnitedHealthcare's global health insurance program for employers of all sizes with employees based internationally. Its alliance with MAXIMA Insurance, Inc. will provide UnitedHealthcare's Global Solutions members with Czech insurance coverage and services, which are required of all expatriates under Czech immigration law.

The agreement with Medical Services Organisation (MSO) in South Africa will provide UnitedHealthcare's Global Solutions members access to care at medical providers on a cashless (direct settlement) basis, as well as various claim and assistance services in more than 30 countries in Africa.

"UnitedHealthcare International is now providing healthcare coverage to consumers in 123 countries worldwide," said Simon Stevens, president of Global Health at UnitedHealth Group. "Our new coverage options in Eastern Europe and Africa respond to the strong demand we're seeing from multinational employers for seamless coverage in these fast-growing markets."

Industry News

SmartCare Worldwide Launches Medical Travel Benefit Program for Employers

SmartCare Worldwide, a Houston-based medical travel facilitator, has launched a comprehensive medical travel benefits program that is available to all US employers. The new medical travel program will cut overall healthcare costs and provide employers a meaningful give-back benefit for their employees.

The first to implement SmartCare’s new medical travel benefit program, offering its employees medical travel benefits through their underlying group medical plans, is a US subsidiary of a South African global employer with diversified energy and chemical operations in 38 countries. The plan is administered by SmartCare Worldwide.

SmartCare's medical travel benefit offers employees access to a comprehensive network of medical services, dental services, hospitals and top medical professionals in Costa Rica--a country recognized for its affordable, high-quality medical and dental healthcare, as well as its geographic beauty.

According to Rick Huntington, a principal with SmartCare Worldwide, "medical tourists having procedures in Costa Rica enjoy significant cost savings as great as 70 percent less than US costs.

These substantial savings are of central importance to employers who are under increasing pressure to contain medical insurance costs while providing health benefit options to their employees."

For participating employers and their employees, SmartCare’s medical travel plan provides access to high quality, affordable dental, medical and surgical services, ranging from routine to major procedures both elective and non-elective. All physicians, specialists, surgeons, dentists and related medical providers in SmartCare's system are carefully vetted, accredited by specialty, and affiliated with Costa Rica's leading Joint Commission International-accredited hospitals. SmartCare Worldwide has developed a structured program to simplify the medical travel experience that ensures individuals utilizing their medical travel benefit in Costa Rica receive attentive, full-time medical, dental and travel assistance. The program is fully administered by SmartCare staff.

SmartCare Worldwide worked closely with the Costa Rican government, medical community and the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine (PROMED) to develop the infrastructure and relationships core to SmartCare's medical tourism program. SmartCare chose Costa Rica because of the country’s commitment to excellence in medical tourism, now Costa Rica’s third largest industry.

During a recent interview, Huntington said, "We have built a new and extraordinary benefit program that brings something meaningful to the insurance and benefits market. Our new medical travel benefit program will provide employers of all sizes an opportunity to give back to their employees by providing a wide range of medical services that may not have been available to them previously. Perhaps this can serve as an answer to the rising costs of healthcare in the US."

"We saw a tremendous opportunity for our clients-global businesses, employers and large associations," says Principal Shelly Coonrod, "to have the unique capability of providing their employees, retirees and members a new health benefit of exciting and real value, giving them access to world-class dental and medical treatment at great savings.

"We worked hard while building this program to develop high-functioning relationships with Costa Rica's finest hospitals, physicians, dentists, surgeons and specialists. We've solidified those relationships and structured a total, scalable system for medical travel and medical tourists. SmartCare can deliver this system turnkey to an employer and will administer the program in its entirety with minimum impact on the employer’s HR department. I feel we've succeeded in bringing a complete medical tourism option to the market.

"The icing, of course, is that Costa Rica is a beautiful destination to visit. It is ecologically one of the most refreshing places on the planet-a peaceful country with solid ties to the US and only a three-hour flight from Houston Intercontinental Airport."

Industry News

EasyMed Services, Inc. Launches New Android Smartphone Application for International Medical Passport

EasyMed Services Inc. announces the launch of a new smartphone application for its International Medical Passport on the Android platform.

EasyMed's International Medical Passport makes medical records accessible worldwide by smartphone - an important service for all business travelers. Today's global travelers need instant access to their health records in case of an emergency. The International Medical Passport puts the complete record on a smartphone together with a host of other features: instant access to pre-approved doctors/clinics/hospitals around the world; pre-travel information such as vaccines and political situations on 300+ destinations; medication reminders; drug interactions and international equivalents.

The International Medical Passport works on all phone, PDA and web platforms, and operates in over 80 countries with 300+ mobile carriers. Cloud-based, secure and compliant, EasyMed's International Medical Passport meets HIPAA requirements, supports HL-7 (the global authority on standards for interoperability of health information technology), and is IBM-certified.

"All around the world, governments, insurance companies and the healthcare industry are looking for ways to help make healthcare costs more manageable," said Tejinder Sahota, CEO of EasyMed. "Our International Medical Passport gives users far greater ownership of and control over their own health. This is of great benefit to individual travelers, but also to organizations whose executives regularly travel around the world, particularly to more remote locations. It ensures they will receive the most efficient and cost-effective care no matter where they may be."

Sahota continues, "Our aim is to make travelling as safe as possible for as many people as possible, and increasing accessibility to our International Medical Passport through the launch of our Android app is the first stage in this process. We shall be releasing apps for all other major mobile operating systems in the near future."

Industry News

TIME Magazine Address the High Cost of Health Care in America

Editor's Note: For those who missed it, TIME Magazine's Steve Brill did a great job of examining the true cost of healthcare in America in his recent cover story, Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us. To hear Brill discuss how he approached the challenge of following the money to determine why healthcare costs so much, click here.

Upcoming Events

PANASALUD International Medical Tourism Conference 2013

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March 14, 2013 - Horacio Alfaro Hall of the Panama Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture, Panama

Panama's first major international conference on medical tourism and global health will bring together more than 150 professional groups and five international speakers to share historical market data, current statistics, knowledge on the formation of multi- disciplinary business structures and commercial and risk preparation for small, medium and large companies. As medical and health tourism becomes a budding industry in the Republic of Panama, this conference seeks to bring together doctors, dentists, clinics and hospitals to acquire knowledge and experience directly from medical tourism experts.

To learn more or to register click here.


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March 15 - 17, 2013 - The Ashok, New Delhi, India

This three-day summit will offer multiple networking opportunities, facilitate new business relationships, work contracts and achieve an international standard towards the medical tourism industry worldwide. The event will see the participation of ministers, experts, investors, delegates, policy makers and media from world. More than 400 delegates, over 20 keynote speakers, thousands of potential consumers, and industry leaders from over 20 countries will take part in this year's event.

To learn more or to register click here.


Kuwait Medical Tourism Congress and Exhibition Scheduled for March 2013

Kuwait Medical Tourism Congress and Exhibition invites local, regional and international best hospitals and medical tourism facilitators for a three-day convergence focusing on networking among the stakeholders, high quality of medical services, and the investment opportunities in healthcare throughout the world.

Slated for March 19 - 21, 2013, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kuwait, the event will see the participation of some of the leading names in the medical tourism and healthcare industry. The conference will comprise workshops conducted by renowned international speakers. The workshops will cover topics that range from medical tourism, current medical research initiatives, the latest innovations in the health sector, future business opportunities in healthcare, insurance, and healthcare quality to the globalization in healthcare.

To learn more or to register click here.


4th Moscow Medical and Health Tourism Congress

March 20-23, 2013 - EXPOCENTRE Fairgrounds, Moscow, Russia

Russia's biggest medical tourism project of 2013, Moscow Medical and Health Tourism Congress will bring together key players of the business world. The mission of this congress is to discuss the integration of Russia and the CIS into the global health systems and improve ways of communication.

Key topics include:

  • Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries - key players in the global medical and health tourism market
  • Effective business development programs in Russia and CIS countries
  • Case studies by professionals and unique business models
  • Development of voluntary medical insurance in Russia
  • Russian insurance companies and the global medical tourism market
  • Health tourism: the specifics of business, its geography and market volumes in Russia and CIS
  • Medical tourism and the practical experience of foreign clinics
  • Quality and safety of medical services for international patients
  • Legal seminar: Russian and international legislation in medical tourism

To learn more or to register click here.


Shanghai Medical and Healthcare Tourism Show


April 2-4, 2013 - Everbright Exhibition Center, Shanghai

The 2013 Shanghai Medical & Healthcare Tourism Show (SMTS) aims to provide a platform for communication and cooperation among suppliers, destinations, hospitals, insurance companies, hotels and other professionals of global medical and healthcare tourism products. SMTS opens a window for the large number of potential customers and professionals in China to know more about global medical and healthcare tourism products. Based on full preparations, SMTS has won strong support from China's health authorities and tourism officials.

To learn more or to register click here.


MEDEXPO Saudi Arabia 2013

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April 6-8, 2013 - Jeddah Center for Forums and Events

MEDEXPO Saudi Arabia is an international healthcare exhibition and forum focusing on a wide array of health sectors, including medical, dentistry, ophthalmology, laboratories, pharmaceutical and bio-technology, and medical tourism.

The MEDEXPO Forum will address how healthcare leaders can:

  • Increase hospital bed capacity to meet new and future medical demands
  • Minimize risk by providing safe, quality healthcare
  • Streamline work processes to ensure effective management of staff and resources
  • Leverage technology to improve operational efficiency and management of patient flow
  • Ensure patient satisfaction by creating a patient-centered healthcare system

To learn more or to register click here.


 

4th Medical Travel International Business Summit

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April 24-26, 2013 - Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort, Herradura Beach, Central Pacific, Costa Rica

This year's summit will focus on connecting US healthcare companies such as insurance companies, self-insured companies, third party administrators and managed care organizations who are focused on being able to decrease their healthcare costs in the face of Obamacare, while maintaining a high level of care for their members and employees. Directors from the Costa Rican Health System, government representatives, investment agencies, trade commissioners, medical associations and tourism operators will gather to share best practices and further promote and expand health tourism in the region. Attendees will be provided with information about existing programs and show diverse opportunities for new activities related to medical tourism and retirement living.

There will also be guided tours of Costa Rica's top hospitals, breakout sessions to discuss topics of interest, such as new procedures to solve vexing health problems, medical travel and the US perspective, opportunities and challenges facing medical tourism for companies, presenting a medical travel option to employees, and many other hot medical tourism topics.

To learn more or to register click here.


2013 CMTR European Medical Tourism Research Symposium

April 26-27, 2013 - Heidelberg, Germany

The Center for Medical Tourism Research (CMTR) examines the business, clinical, economic, ethical, legal, marketing, operational, policy, social justice and societal impacts of the medical tourism, medical travel, dental tourism, health tourism, wellness tourism, fertility tourism, transplant tourism and retirement tourism industries worldwide.

The 2013 CMTR European Medical Tourism Research Symposium is open to all interested stakeholders in this emerging global industry.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Dr. Melanie Smith, Budapest Business School, associate professor and researcher in Tourism at the Budapest Business School in Hungary
  • Dr. Laszlo Puczko, managing director, Xellum Consulting, LTD, and teacher at the Budapest College of Communication and Business in Hungary

A conference fee of 50 Euros is due onsite. Government and student fees are 25 Euros with valid verification of government or student status.

To learn more or register click here.


International Board of Medicine and Surgery (IBMS) Mini Medical Conference

April 29-May 1, 2013 - Tampa Bay, FL

The International Board of Medicine and Surgery's (IBMS) Mini Medical Conference in Tampa Bay, Fla., will feature key speakers Dr. Sharma, executive director of IBMS India in Mumbai, and Dr. Rai of the India Medical Association.

During the conference, IBMS will meet with various institutions in the Tampa Bay area to share information about medical tourism.

To learn more or to register click here.



Global Connected Care Conference & 4th Meditour Expo

June 5 and 6, 2013 Hyatt Regency - Orange County, CA

This two-day international conference will bring together professionals from all over the world to discuss the latest trends and opportunities in global healthcare. The conference will include presentations by some of global healthcare's biggest decision makers and thought leaders. Conference themes include:

  • Global Physician Referral Networks and Patient Care-The Next Generation of Care
  • Self-Funded Insurance Groups-Providing Healthcare Travel Alternatives
  • Business Processes and Advanced Global Healthcare Marketing Strategies
  • Integrating Global Healthcare Technologies with Medical Travel
  • Legal Issues in Global Care
  • Accessing the US healthcare market: both inbound and outbound
  • Dental Tourism
  • M-health, Telemedicine and Electronic Healthcare Information Platform

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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

Dubai Targets Millions of Health Tourists by 2020 ArabianBusiness.com - The head of Dubai Health Authority (DHA) believes the number of medical tourists receiving treatment in the emirate will reach millions annually by the end of the decade, potentially pumping billions of dollars into the economy. Dubai is aiming to become a major international medical tourism hub as it rapidly expands its healthcare sector and loosens visa requirements for patients.

Medical Tourism Slows in Tijuana SanDiegoReader.com - Upticks in violent events in Tijuana and Mexico have brought a sudden halt to an encouraging rise in medical tourism to Baja, says Dr. Karim Chalita Rodriguez II, president of a medical group known as Clúster Médico Dental y Hospitalario de Baja California.

The Robot Will See You Now
TheAtlantic.com - IBM's Watson -- the same machine that beat Ken Jennings on Jeopardy -- is now churning through case histories at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, learning to make diagnoses and treatment recommendations. This is one in a series of developments suggesting that technology may be about to disrupt healthcare in the same way it has disrupted so many other industries.

Medical Tourism and Evaluation Co iMER Raises $7m
Globes.co.il - Viola Private Equity has invested $7 million in iMER Medical Services Ltd., a provider of remote medical and medical tourism services. Until now, iMER has been financed by its founders, including Israelis, chairman Ady Jakubovitz and CEO Ilan Tamir. The company operates in Israel, Europe and Russia. In Israel, the company mainly works with Hadassah Medical Organization, which is also a shareholder.

Reliance Referral Hospital to Address Medical Tourism, says Lead Consultant NGRGuardianNews.com - In a bid to curb economic loss due to medical tourism in the country, Reliance Referral Hospital is set to open in Abuja a world-class medical center with state-of-the art equipment. Speaking during the facility tour of the hospital by the General Electric Healthcare (GEH) team, Dr. Emmanuel Nyong, lead consultant to the hospital projects, said the rational of establishing the Reliance Referral Hospital is to address the economic loss of Nigeria to medical tourism in the country.

Expert Committee Soon for Medical Tourism TheHindu.com - Puducherry Tourism Minister P. Rajavelu said the government would form an expert committee to explore the possibilities of promoting medical tourism. The Minister, who held an important meeting with Dr. Pankaj Arora, president of the American Academy for Emergency Medicine in India (AAEMI), and Dr. T.S. Ravikumar, director, JIPMER, told The-Hindu on Monday that Puducherry had excellent potential to promote medical tourism, which was gaining momentum in some cities in South India.

Medical Tourism Offers Travel Firms Untapped Growth
Reuters.com - A dentist's office may not be everyone's idea of a perfect holiday destination. But a growing number of Europeans are travelling abroad for medical treatment to save money, or maybe to combine a visit to the doctor with some sightseeing, creating a fast-growing market that is still largely untapped by traditional tour operators.

China's Tropical Island to Introduce Medical Tourism
PeopleDaily.com - China's southernmost island of Hainan Province will set up a "special zone," where overseas medical institutions will enjoy preferential business policies for boosting medical tourism, a senior official said Wednesday.

Medical Tourism Now Includes Things Like 'Dialysis Cruises'
Jaunted.com - Today we learned that there are such things as dialysis cruises, and that they're part of a burgeoning medical tourism industry that apparently "is increasingly recognized as an opportunity for the travel industry." We remember when tourists used to go abroad to faraway lands where they could view amazing monuments unthought of in their little parts of the planet. Now they go from Germany to Hungary to get their teeth worked on.

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.