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© 2015 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

DHCC Receives Record 1.2M Patient Visits

Medical Tourism Blossoms with Public-Private Partnership

India's Medanta to Open Hospital in Dubai

Visit Jacksonville Given State Grant to Promote 'Medical Tourism'

Medical Tourism Takes Shape in UP with Apex Institutes Readying Packages

Thai Medical Tourism Expands

Rare Surgeries: Paving the Way for Medical Tourism

Consumers Would Benefit from Transparency Tools on Exchange Websites

Americans May See Appeal of Medical Tourism in Cuba

Spotlight Interview

Mac McCarthy, FSA, FCA, MAAA, President, McCarthy Actuarial Consulting, LLC

Lewis Levy, M.D., Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs and Chief Quality Officer, Best Doctors

Industry News

Best Doctors, Inc. Acquires Rise Health to Accelerate Expansion of its Digital Health Solutions Focused on Helping People Get the Right Diagnosis and Treatment

Employer Direct Contracting: Game-Changing Medical Travel Trend

"Truth in Numbers" with Regards to Health Tourism

Over 1.1 Billion Tourists Traveled Abroad in 2014  

New Plan Aims to Boost Medical Tourism Industry in Costa Rica

Medical Tourism Soaring in Southeast Asia Thanks to Government Support, says GlobalData Analyst

Okyanos Cell Therapy Success Brings Hope for a Normal Life

Doing Away with "Fully Hosted Buyers" at Medical Travel Events

Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Bags International Medical Tourism Accreditation for the Fifth Time in a Row

Research and Markets: Global Medical Tourism Market 2015-2019 with Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, Bumrungrad Hospital Public Co. Ltd., IHH Healthcare Berhad & KPJ Healthcare Berhad Dominating

Legislation Aims to Streamline Interstate Physician Licensing

The Global Guide to Healthcare Tourism

IV International Exhibition of Medical Tourism, SPA&Wellness - Healthcare Travel Expo

Medical Korea 2015: The 6th Global Healthcare & Medical Tourism Conference

Help Save a Life and Support MatchingDonors

 

Upcoming Events

International Health Tourism Convention

Kuwait Medical Tourism Conference & Exhibition

Moscow Medical and Health Tourism Congress

Medical Fair India

12th Annual World Health Care Congress 2015

VI International Medical Forum & IV International Exhibition of Medical Tourism - Healthcare Travel Expo

2nd Istanbul Medical, Health, Geriatrics, Termal, Spa & Wellness Tourism Fair & Congress

22nd Kazakhstan International Healthcare Exhibition

Destination: Health Canadian Medical Tourism Trade Show

Arab Health: International Medical Travel Exhibition and Conference

9th Annual 2015 Global Spa & Wellness Summit

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THIS WEEK IN MEDICAL TRAVEL TODAY

Volume 8, Issue 11

Dear Colleagues:

DID YOU KNOW? An analysis by Truven Health Analytics found that total waste in the U.S. healthcare system amounts to $600 billion, of which $125 - $175 billion is fraud and abuse.

Mac McCarthy, FSA, FCA, MAAA, president, McCarthy Actuarial Consulting, LLC., claims that much of the nation's fraud and abuse can be resolved through more sophisticated financial technology, specifically around the flow of claim dollars.

The consulting firm focuses on technical skill, consulting experience and integrity to successfully develop innovative solutions to offset out-of-control health expenditures.

McCarthy explains, "As challenging as it is to root out and fix the sources of this problem now, it will be even more difficult in a global environment.  Medical tourism is one more reason to address this issue sooner rather than later."

We're starting to hear from many hospitals, independent surgi-centers and provider groups that want to be better positioned to serve self-funded employers offering medical/surgical travel options.  If you have a good story to tell us, please be in touch!  We want to boost opportunities for Centers of Excellence nationwide. 

Tell us what distinguishes your service offering in terms of cost, patient experience and satisfaction, outcomes or other quality indicators. 

Send us your descriptor, including photos or charts, and we will evaluate for publication in this newsletter.

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

Global Health Voyager

Global Health Voyager

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Spotlight

Mac McCarthy, FSA, FCA, MAAA, President, McCarthy Actuarial Consulting, LLC



 

www.McCarthyActuarial.com

About Mac McCarthy
Mac is the president of McCarthy Actuarial Consulting, combining the discipline of actuarial science with extensive experience and a reputation for integrity to help employers, health plans and researchers find innovative solutions to health and welfare issues.

He has over 30 years of health and welfare actuarial experience, with over 20 years advising employers and plans on the development and financial management of innovative programs. His specialties include consumer driven healthcare, wellness and disease management programs, multi-option benefit programs, post-retirement medical and disability plans.

Mac is on the board of directors for the Conference of Consulting Actuaries, co-chairs the Conference of Consulting Actuaries' Healthcare Reform Community, and is leading a joint work group of the Society of Actuaries and the American Academy of Actuaries to evaluate certain aspects of national health reform legislation.

Before founding McCarthy Actuarial Consulting, Mac was a principal and national resource at Mercer Health & Benefits. Before that, he held a variety of group actuarial positions at two regional insurance companies.

Mac received a B.S. in Mathematics from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries, and a Fellow of the Conference of Consulting Actuaries.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): Can you give our readers some background on your company?

Mac McCarthy (MM): McCarthy Actuarial Consulting (MAC) combines the discipline of actuarial science, extensive consulting experience and a solid reputation of integrity to help employers, health plans and researchers develop innovative solutions to health and welfare benefit issues.  

MAC consultants are at the forefront of breaking benefits issues, particularly in the areas of healthcare reform, provider risk solutions, wellness best practices and health and wellness financial strategies.

MTT: What strategies does your company employ to ensure employers, health plans and researchers are able to find the best solutions to health and welfare issues?

MM: There are three attributes that are essential for a consultant to be successful in helping clients achieve their goals: technical skill, consulting experience and integrity.

MAC combines these attributes to provide the highest quality actuarial services to a variety of market segments.

Technical skill at MAC includes knowing when we are moving outside the realm of historical precedence, and having the ability to develop innovative solutions today for tomorrow's problems. This is more critical now than ever because employers, health plans and the nation struggle with out-of-control health expenditures and the realization that traditional approaches will not provide a solution.

MAC consultants are proven innovators, quick to identify new opportunities arising out of emerging technology, evolving healthcare delivery systems and data capabilities.

Consulting experience teaches you to appreciate the uniqueness of every business situation. MAC consultants ask probing questions and actively listen to the responses to understand the current situation, not just regarding the benefit program, but also the client's core business.

We work with clients to find the best possible solution to their benefit issues in a way that supports the business goals of the organization within a framework where the program can continue to improve and respond to changing circumstances.

As for integrity, clients can be confident that their interests always come first. Our recommendations and advice are based on what's best for the client and backed up by objective, reliable actuarial analysis using the best data available.

We accept no commissions or payments of any kind except for consulting fees. We do not have a "product" to sell other than our good name and reputation. We have the courage of our convictions and the wisdom of experience to realize that it is in our best interest, as well as our clients', to secure future business even at the cost of lower current revenue.

MTT: Can you tell us a little more about your involvement with health and wellness?

MM: I am currently in my fourth decade as a healthcare actuary.

After 12 years working within the health insurance industry, I moved into a consulting role to advise employers and plans on the development and financial management of innovative programs. Over that time, I have developed a deep expertise in many aspects of health and wellness, including helping pioneer consumer-driven healthcare plans, wellness and disease management programs, multi-option benefit programs, post-retirement medical and disability plans.  Almost five years ago, I founded McCarthy Actuarial Consulting to take my career to the next level.

As healthcare reform legislation was being developed, I started the Healthcare Reform Community within the Conference of Consulting Actuaries (CCA) to promote sound actuarial considerations for healthcare reform at the national and state level, and provide an open forum for the exchange of ideas among actuaries concerned about reform efforts.

I currently serve on the executive committee of the board of directors of the CCA, and also co-chair the Healthcare Reform Community.   In the recent past, I have been active with various workgroups of the Society of Actuaries and the American Academy of Actuaries to evaluate various aspects of national health reform legislation and consumer-driven health plans.

Current growth areas for us include consulting with healthcare providers, particularly in risk assessment for alternative payment models, as well as population health management programs, from employer as well as provider perspectives.

MTT: What role does your company play in terms of helping health plan and ancillary health program administrator clients navigate through this time of rapid healthcare reform?

MM: MAC assists employers and health plans arrive at workable solutions in light of economic and regulatory realities that make it increasingly difficult to adequately serve employees and plan members.  

Our consultants' help clients understand new requirements, to realize what options are available to them, and evaluate, to the extent possible, how healthcare reform might evolve over the next several years.  

MTT: Does McCarthy Actuarial Consulting work with individuals, companies or healthcare professionals outside of the U.S.? If not, is this something that may happen in the future?

MM: A number of our consultants, including myself, have provided consulting services outside the U.S. We have recently looked at a few such opportunities, but have concluded that they were not a good fit for us.  Currently, we do not have any non-U.S. clients.

MTT: As the medical tourism industry begins to advance, how do you think this will affect healthcare planning and pricing both in the U.S. and internationally?

MM: Domestically, medical tourism has the potential to open up more options for individuals and plan sponsors, and perhaps inject additional market dynamics into an industry where few such forces exist today.  

Foreign-based providers must demonstrate both price AND quality advantages to be acceptable to American healthcare consumers. If they are successful in doing so, their influence will grow and domestic providers will be forced to respond in kind.  The end result should be lower costs and higher quality.  

MTT: Do you have any additional advice?

MM: A growing problem in the U.S., and internationally, is healthcare fraud and waste in the system.  

An analysis by Truven Health Analytics found that total waste in the U.S. healthcare system amounts to $600 billion, of which $125 - $175 billion is fraud and abuse.  Much of this could be resolved through more sophisticated financial technology around the flow of claim dollars, similar to what has been in place in the financial markets for years.  

As challenging as it is to root out and fix the sources of this problem now, it will be even more difficult in a global environment. Medical tourism is one more reason to address this issue sooner rather than later.

Spotlight

Lewis Levy, M.D., Senior Vice President, Medical Affairs and Chief Quality Officer, Best Doctors

www.bestdoctors.com

About Lewis Levy, M.D.
Dr. Lewis Levy provides medical leadership to the clinical operations team to deliver the highest quality clinical information on diagnosis and treatment to members and their treating physicians. He has over 20 years of clinical experience as an internist at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Boston. Dr. Levy also has an extensive teaching career through his role as a preceptor in the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and also as an instructor at Harvard Medical School. He continues to practice primary care internal medicine, and has participated in pioneer ACO, HMO and FFS arrangements. Dr. Levy earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and completed his Residency in Internal Medicine at the Graduate Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

About Best Doctors
Best Doctors connects physician communities with other clinical experts, ranked in the top five percent of doctors by impartial peer review, to help people get the right diagnosis and right treatment. The organization creates personalized care experiences by combining actionable data insights and medical excellence. Founded in 1989 by Harvard Medical School physicians, the global health solutions company, which has grown to over 30 million members worldwide, uses state-of-the-art technology capabilities to deliver improved health outcomes while reducing costs. Best Doctors seamlessly integrates its trusted health services with Fortune 1000 employers, insurers and other groups in every major region of the world. Gallup has certified Best Doctors as using the highest industry standards survey methodology and processes in polling physicians to discover the doctors they would choose for their own care.  For further information, visit Best Doctors at www.bestdoctors.com.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): Give our readers some background on Best Doctors and how the company qualifies providers.

Lewis Levy (LL): Best Doctors is a global health company that brings together the brightest minds in medicine to help people get the right diagnosis and treatment plan. Best Doctors helps people overcome the terrible problems associated with medical uncertainty by providing access to the top five percent of physicians in over 450 specialty areas. Over 30 million members around the world have access to the service through their employer or health plan.

Best Doctors has been peer polling for more than 25 years, and we are the only group to be endorsed by the Gallup organization for the integrity of our list of the Best Doctors in America.

During the nomination process, we use a comprehensive process to survey, collect and analyze data that will help us determine the doctors who are most trusted and leaned upon to handle the most complicated cases in hundreds of different specialty areas. That process must take certain factors into consideration to avoid physician selections that are based solely upon a "popularity contest."

Much of a physician's data is known by the individual's practice partners, and we trust that the data known by the local medical community is an important determining factor when individuals are choosing who to nominate as a Best Doctor.

If an individual is selected as a Best Doctor in America, it means he/she has been identified within the top four to five percent of the medical profession. At Best Doctors, we believe this is a meaningful recognition within the profession of medicine, and helps us collectively overcome the rates of incomplete or missed diagnoses that we see today.

MTT: Does being a Best Doctor hold any weight with the Business to Business (B2B) community, including employers, brokers, health plans and insurance companies?

LL: Absolutely, the B2B community is an integral part of the Best Doctors mission. For over 20 years, Best Doctors has been helping leading employers and health plans address many of the productivity and cost concerns that they have been struggling with, by working to ensure that employees or health plan members get the right diagnosis and treatment plan. Best Doctors also ensures that so much of the wasted spending we see today in healthcare is eliminated. Most importantly, we help members fight back against medical uncertainty and unnecessary suffering by quickly and efficiently working to get them the right diagnosis and treatment plan. Currently, over 30 million individuals worldwide have free and confidential access to Best Doctors services, and one of the core components is known as inter-consultation - a very in-depth medical review.

Inter-consultation allows individuals who are facing a situation of medical uncertainty to reach out to Best Doctors and receive a comprehensive physician review and clinical summary based on the patient's medical history.

The process works. In 2013, of the tens of thousands of cases Best Doctors reviewed, a change in diagnosis was made in 34 percent of cases, and a change in treatment plan was recommended in 68 percent of cases. These are real lives being changed, thanks to this process.

MTT: I am not sure that our audiences are aware of this. Please provide an example.

LL: For example, an individual may be informed of the need for a new aortic valve, but is left questioning where to receive top-quality care, which doctor should perform the procedure and if the procedure is even necessary in the first place.

Included in our comprehensive clinical summary is a 15-question form answered by a top-level expert. We have a physician service department connect the patient's case to an expert who can best answer questions about clinical utility. Upon completion, we forward the results back to the patient, as well as to his or her treating team.

We have found that through this process, roughly one-third of the time we alter the initial diagnosis, and nearly 70 percent of the time we make subset treatment recommendations.
Many leading U.S. companies have partnered with Best Doctors to provide our services to all of their employees at no additional cost to the employee.

Through this experience, we have also connected with many leading domestic medical tourism and travel programs that these aforementioned companies have set up for their work force.

For the past 26 years, I have practiced general internal medicine in the Boston metropolitan area, and I am highly impressed by the impact our inter-consultation process has had on so many lives.

MTT: Industry sources report that a fair amount of spine surgeries, joint replacements and cardiac care are unnecessary. Would you say that is accurate?

LL: I credit a lot of over-utilization of procedures to regional variations and practice.

Best Doctors prides itself on providing independent and objective medical assessments, which is why many leading companies have elected our company to be a part of their employee benefits program or domestic medical tourism program offerings.

MTT: Does Best Doctors adhere to any value proposition with regard to pricing?

LL: Absolutely. When Best Doctors is implemented as an employee benefit for a Fortune 500 company, we first receive a thorough understanding of each health plan partner associated with that company. This may include domestic medical travel opportunities and relationships that they have established with various transparency vendors.

We have also found that clinical integration with transparency vendors is significant because the vendors are in a great position to inform consumers about the cost of proposed procedures and accessibility to Best Doctor services.

MTT: Does Best Doctors recommend specific institutions or locations for patient surgeries?

LL: If we deem a procedure necessary, we offer a Find Best Doctor Program, which provides individuals access to the expertise of doctors who are not only identified in the Best Doctors database, but also doctors who take that individual's insurance, are open to accepting new patients and have reasonable availability for their next appointment.

Best Doctors also partners with carriers that provide our solutions, and many carriers are increasingly moving into a world of value versus volume.

MTT: Is there anything about Best Doctors that you would like to add to help our B2B audience readily understand your model?

LL: Best Doctors has offices around the world, including offices in Massachusetts, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the U.K.

I've had the fortune of visiting most of our offices globally, and I can tell you that individuals are very interested in being able to get access to the top minds in medicine to verify the accuracy of their diagnosis and make sure that they are on the appropriate treatment path.

We also find that, in terms of changes in diagnosis and changes in treatment, we get very similar findings from our global population and domestic population.

Recently, Best Doctors announced the acquisition of Rise Health, a leading population health management company. The acquisition provides Best Doctors with even greater data integration and advanced analytics capabilities to combine actionable data insights and medical excellence. For our valued members, this means a personalized care experience based on your own unique needs, with local access to global medical expertise to help you get it right. Together with Rise Health, Best Doctors can further enable customized, impactful interactions with caregivers.

MTT: What would be your advice on the growing Ebola outbreak?

LL: One of the most accurate and up-to-date sources of current information regarding the transmission of Ebola is on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website.

The website is being updated daily as the CDC learns more about the transmissibility of Ebola and the best way individuals can protect themselves, and family members, from contracting the disease.

Industry News

Best Doctors, Inc. Acquires Rise Health to Accelerate Expansion of its Digital Health Solutions Focused on Helping People Get the Right Diagnosis and Treatment

Best Doctors, Inc., the global health company that brings together the best minds in medicine to help people get the right diagnosis and treatment plan, today announced that it has acquired Rise Health, a leading population health management company. The acquisition provides Best Doctors® with data integration and advanced analytics capabilities to add to its care management platform and expansion into new markets.

"For over 25 years, Best Doctors has been innovating to help employers and health plans ensure that their members combat medical uncertainty with access to the best medical minds," said David Seligman, chairman and CEO of Best Doctors. "With the acquisition of Rise Health and its robust software platform and application development team, we can take that medical excellence and turn actionable insight into personalized engagement to deliver the right care, leveraging Best Doctors' global delivery model."

Chicago-based Rise Health has built a comprehensive population health platform that develops intelligent, actionable data at a population level, and supports care delivery teams in taking action at the member level. The Company provides tools to help payers and providers manage the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care. Designed specifically for today's risk-sharing environments, Rise Health's sophisticated technology is intended for results. Through a vertically integrated product suite that includes Ascend Enterprise Platform, Stratus Population Health Analytics application and Cirrus Patient Relationship Manager, Rise Health offers a complete solution that enables clinical surveillance and improves operational processes.

Together with Rise Health, Best Doctors has the ability to reach across all market segments with a combined solution offering analytic insights and medical expertise in an intimate consumer-centric experience.
Benefits of the transaction include:

  • Enhanced Revenue Streams from Complementary Products

Rise Health adds significant and stable recurring revenue streams from its innovative suite of products. These include Ascend, a robust and highly scalable cloud platform that integrates payer, EMR, and other clinical data streams, as well as Stratus, a data visualization and analytics platform, and Cirrus, a healthcare focused CRM tool for providers to manage their patient populations. SAAS-based revenue from these products enhance recurring revenue from existing products and services for Best Doctors.

  • Talented and Accomplished Employees with Extensive Healthcare Research and Development Experience

Rise Health brings a dedicated, talented team of professionals whose healthcare knowledge and expertise has established Rise Health as a premier provider of software-based population health solutions. Part of this employee base includes research and development staff whose experience includes developing applications for emergency rooms at IBEX, Picis, and Optum. The result is an experienced research and development, support and services organization focused on delivering reliable and efficient data and analytics solutions to the healthcare industry.

  • Rapid Development Capabilities of Technical Intellectual Property

The Rise Health platform provides a highly secure cloud platform that scales to meet the requirements of the largest enterprises and integrates with major health plans and providers. The Rise Health Ascend platform brings together data from the entire healthcare ecosystem, including clinical, claims, and consumer, and combines it with internal data generated from use of Rise Health and Best Doctors applications. That database already includes highly acute and complex cases where Best Doctors has demonstrated a meaningful improvement on outcomes for the three percent of the population driving 40 percent of all healthcare spending in the U.S.

"Population health has so far been defined by data integration and analytics, but these alone don't improve quality and outcomes or lower cost," said Dr. Mark Crockett, CEO for Rise Health. "The combination of our companies really creates an exciting, new kind of healthcare enterprise - one that transforms insight into action."

Since its founding in 1989, Best Doctors has been changing the paradigm of how members experience healthcare. The company, internationally recognized as the industry leader, has the most recognized and trusted database representing the best five percent of physicians in over 450 specialties and subspecialties of medicine, as determined by impartial peer-review, and audited and certified by Gallup®. This collection of the brightest minds in medicine is integral to Best Doctors' ability to carefully analyze each member's entire medical history, ask all the right questions, and consult with its specialist experts who work with patients' treating physicians to reach the most accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendations. These steps alone have helped Best Doctors overcome many of the shortcomings in overburdened healthcare systems around the world.

The Company continues to expand its impressive portfolio of Fortune 500 clients and leading health plans, which represent some of the leading organizations in the nation when it comes to providing the right health solutions for their valued employees and members. These employers offer access to health services provided by Best Doctors as a valued employee benefit that Best Doctors seamlessly integrates with their other health-related benefits.

"Today's health system is fractured and time-strapped, leaving too many people confused about the right medical decisions as they navigate a giant healthcare maze," added Seligman. "Best Doctors and Rise Health have already had a massive impact upon the industry through an emphasis on innovation and a focus on improving health quality and outcomes. Together, we will be able to help employers, workers compensation clients, payers and providers transform the quality of healthcare they provide while reducing costs."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Financial advisor for Best Doctors was Childs Advisory and legal advisor was Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati.

About Best Doctors, Inc.:
Best Doctors works with the best five percent of doctors, ranked by impartial peer review, to help people get the right diagnosis and right treatment. Gallup has certified Best Doctors as using the highest industry standards survey methodology and processes in polling physicians to discover the doctors they would choose for their own care. Founded in 1989 by Harvard Medical School physicians, the global health solutions company, which has grown to over 30 million members worldwide, uses state-of-the-art technology capabilities to deliver improved health outcomes while reducing costs. Best Doctors seamlessly integrates its trusted health services with Fortune 1000 employers, insurers and other groups in every major region of the world.

For further information, visit Best Doctors at www.bestdoctors.com,

To schedule an interview with Best Doctors' executive team, contact Justin Joseph at Ph: 617.963.1156 or jjoseph@bestdoctors.com.

About Rise Health:
Rise Health provides payers, provider organizations and healthcare information technology partners with the tools necessary to achieve the "Triple Aim" of healthcare: Improve quality, Improve patient outcomes and Lower healthcare costs. Through a vertically integrated product suite that includes Ascend Enterprise Platform, Stratus Population Health Analytics application and Cirrus Patient Relationship Manager, Rise Health offers a complete solution that closes gaps and improves operational processes at the practice. To learn more, visit www.risehealth.com.

BEST DOCTORS, the STAR-IN-CROSS logo, THE REINVENTION OF RIGHT and CRITICAL CARE INTERCONSULTATION are marks or registered marks of Best Doctors, Inc. Used with permission.

Contact:
Justin Joseph, Best Doctors, Inc.
Ph: 617.963.1156
jjoseph@bestdoctors.com

Amanda Cecconi, Rise Health
Ph: 615.473.7536
Amanda@punchingnungroup.com

 

Industry News

Employer Direct Contracting: Game-Changing Medical Travel Trend
This article will appear in the 2015 HealthCare Consumerism Outlook magazine.
by Laura Carabello, Founder and Principal, CPR Strategic Marketing Communications, and Editor and Publisher, Medical Travel Today and U.S. Domestic Medical Travel™

Ihcc.com-America's businesses are facing some of the most monumental challenges in history regarding the provision of healthcare benefits for their employees, with significant employer compliance provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) looming in 2015.  The ACA impacts all employers that collectively account for 95 percent of all commercial health coverage currently in the United States.i Large employers, in particular, face substantial monetary penalties for non-compliance with the new regulations, and the cost of providing health benefits mounts daily for companies of every size and in every industry.

With the sticker-shock of health reforms resonating in the employer community, business leaders are seeking solutions that not only lower costs, but also ensure quality.  While there are a few pioneers in the large business category that have tested the waters to execute direct contracting arrangements with targeted centers of excellence (COEs) (e.g. Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Boeing) the vast majority of large employers are now contemplating these arrangements in the year ahead. Furthermore, virtually all of the mid-size and small employers are also receptive to this concept and may aggregate their purchasing power through coalitions and other multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs).

Concurrently, the nation's hospitals - which now total 5,723 registered institutionsii -- are on the frontline in the federal government's campaign to rein in sky-high costs while improving the quality of care.  All stakeholders are often coping with more requirements and less money.  Furthermore, competition among the hospitals is fierce, both locally and nationally, and 75 percent of all hospitals have a competitor within 15 miles (24 km).iii As hospital administrators and their marketing teams vie for patients that represent optimal reimbursement, they face another competitor:  doctors who now perform some procedures in their offices and with specialized clinics and surgi-centers.

In this new environment, a volatile pressure-cooker for every entity in the healthcare continuum, innovative solutions that were once considered far-reaching are now meeting receptive audiences. Direct contracting, often characterized as "U.S. domestic travel," the practice of traveling out of one's hometown or home state to a care provider or COE located in another part of the country, represents this type of phenomenon.

It's a trend that has also spawned a new breed of health management. Health Design Plus (HDP), a healthcare management company with experience administering travel surgery programs, enables its clients to control the spiraling costs of healthcare by giving employers access to the country's top hospitals and doctors - at a predictable cost.

The select hospitals involved in the HDP program had to meet strict benchmarks for positive outcomes, low hospital-acquired infection rates, high patient satisfaction, advanced staff training and skills, thorough patient data capture and other factors. Doctor's costs, hospital expenses and fees are part of a single, transparent price.iv

Ruth Coleman, CEO, anticipates growing interest in the regional model that they rolled out with the nation's largest retailer -- patients traveling for care within a smaller geographic region. The appeal with the regional model is that plan members travel within their own geographic region.

The company also expects to see more regional programs that will go beyond surgical procedures to include programs for conditions that are difficult to manage, such as diabetes. Currently the company is focused on domestic programs, but anticipates that ongoing trends will gradually make international travel more attractive for employers and plan members.

Centers of Excellence: Transparent Costs, High Quality Care

Employers, especially large, high-profile companies are increasingly exercising their options to pursue direct contracting and offer a medical travel benefit, and employees are quickly becoming willing travelers. The path toward better outcomes and cost-efficiencies represents high value for all parties, although the vast majority of businesses are still uncertain as to the appropriate steps for offering this type of program, selecting the optimal COEs, and ascertaining ROI. 

Several organizations and purchasing coalitions are helping to guide employers in their selection process. For example, The Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) brings employers together with the aim of improving the quality of healthcare while moderating healthcare costs. PBGH's 60 member companies provide healthcare coverage to 10 million Americans and their dependents, providing employers with a wide array of services that range from advising on relationships with carriers, supporting projects that accelerate price and quality transparency, and advocating for policy initiatives.

One of the organization's key members, Wal-Mart, launched a COE travel surgery program for cardiac and spine, and suggested that this type of program could have a stronger impact moving the market if multiple employers joined together. Since then, PBGH has learned that employers want a travel surgery program that offers high quality surgical care at affordable rates, not just an arrangement that provides the "best deal."

With its extensive background in quality measures and orthopedics, PBGH has developed an effective assessment and selection process for hip and knee replacement COEs. PBGH has also placed a COE in each region of the United States to minimize travel for patients, and will continue to add centers to meet participating employer demand.

Employers that sign on with PBGH's Employers Centers of Excellence Network (ECEN) can expect to receive a complete return on investment within two years -- and significant savings thereafter. In addition to the competitive bundled rates, the bulk of savings opportunity is the result of the higher quality of care.

Multiple Factors Impact Decision-making

While quality of care has traditionally been the primary deciding factor in choosing a hospital or physician for a specific treatment or procedure, the cost of healthcare has become an increasingly important factor for consideration. As patients have been asked to pay a greater proportion of the cost of their care - through higher co-pays, deductibles and other plan cost-sharing features - they are becoming more comfortable with the notion of leaving home to access better care that is easier on the pocketbook. Employers are also incenting patients to make the journey: offering full coverage for the procedure, eliminating deductibles and out of pocket costs, and covering the travel costs of a companion or family member.

Having access to geographically-specific healthcare cost information will also be key to empowering patients to make more informed decisions regarding whether to travel for care and how to plan for it financially. But transparency of information on the costs and quality of healthcare remains elusive, despite the efforts of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid and private sector organizations that are starting to report this information.

In turn, hospitals and providers increasingly mimic the practices of successful retailers and are continually updating their offerings to lure corporate customers.  In their quest to become recognized COEs, they seek to attract patients from all parts of the country, and in many cases from throughout the world.  For the most part, however, these care providers are unsure about how to approach corporate audiences, market their capabilities, and leverage the opportunities that now exist throughout the country. 

Implementation of a medical travel program is a complex undertaking, and the majority of health systems need guidance.  Achieving clinical excellence is just one piece of the puzzle, and while most institutions like to point to their accomplishments in this area, they are missing many of the components for truly delivering an excellent, start-to-finish patient experience. 

Key Advantages to COE Programs

Among the many advantages to COE programs two stand out: price transparency and bundled pricing.

Price Transparency

Enormous variation in healthcare prices exists across the country. For example, one hospital might bill $40,000 to remove a gallbladder using minimally invasive surgery, while another hospital might charge $91,000.v

Prices can also vary within each state. For example, the median cost for a common inpatient heart procedure in southeastern Wisconsin ranges from a high of $178,647 at Waukesha Memorial Hospital to a low of $105,119 at Wheaton Franciscan All Saints in Racine.vi

By only signing contracts with providers priced in the low range, but who also demonstrate good outcomes, employers can lower the cost of providing healthcare without compromising quality.

Bundled Pricing

Bundled payment, also known as episode-based payment or packaged pricing, is defined as the reimbursement of healthcare providers based on expected costs for clinically defined episodes of care. Providers are paid a single fee for a set of evidenced-based services related to a diagnosis, with payments typically linked to outcomes, as well as other quality measures.vii

Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a "bundled" payment program that allows providers to bid as a team for fixed price reimbursement for procedures, such as heart surgery or hip and knee replacements.viii

This strategy incents providers to collaborate to ensure the best outcomes because any additional cost incurred beyond the fixed price comes out of the provider's pockets. As a result, Geisinger Health System, for example, has seen a 21 percent reduction in complications, a 25 percent reduction in surgical infections and a 44 percent drop in readmissions.ix
 

Models of Quality, Cost-Effective Care

Virginia Mason Medical Center

As more companies shift employees to high-deductible health plans leading to higher out-of-pocket costs, more employers are prompted to engage with local health systems as a way to help employees shop for cost-effective care.

Serving as a model for this trend, companies like Starbucks and Costco have aggressively forged relationships with medical centers to meet the kinds of rigorous standards they use in daily business practices. The results include better health, higher patient satisfaction and lower costs.x

To improve care for back pain, for example, Starbucks worked with Virginia Mason Medical Center, requiring same-day access for employees, no unnecessary medical care and 100 percent customer satisfaction. This supply-chain approach demanded the same high standards Starbucks expects from all of its suppliers. With fewer unnecessary tests and more use of therapists -- which cost significantly less than use of doctors -- Starbucks experienced lower costs in the treatment of back pain.xi

What's more, the standardized, efficient system also meant better outcomes. In fact, data showed that Virginia Mason's spine clinic patients returned to work more quickly, missing two days on average compared with five elsewhere.xii

Northwestern Memorial Hospital

General Electric Co. (GE) chose Northwestern Memorial Hospital as one of the company's national COEs for total hip and knee replacement surgery. As part of this partnership, Northwestern Memorial Hospital offers bundled services for hip and knee replacement at fixed prices.

GE requested that Northwestern be transparent about costs in creating the bundled pricing, which is necessary to ensure that pricing is not only competitive, but also financially viable. Once GE selected Northwestern Memorial, the hospital project teams began working closely to implement the program in a highly collaborative process.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital has built in extra controls to ensure that before a patient makes travel plans, its physicians on both the surgical and pre-operative clearance sides have had a chance to fully review their records.xiii
 

Positioned for Success: COEs Strategize to Compete

Current market forces have created a perfect storm for the introduction of new services, which will work to ensure patient-centric care that focuses on better outcomes for every individual.  Innovative services, however, must never lose sight of the importance of first meeting patient needs and expectations, and then guiding employers and care providers to execute on their commitments to each and every person.  What is needed is a single intersection for the healthcare medical travel industry, parallel to the "matching" programs for other industries such as dating, leisure travel, and business networking to accomplish these goals:

  • Empower employers of all sizes with information and resources to pursue a medical travel program that generates the highest quality care at the greatest value.
  • Position hospitals and care providers to serve employers and their workforces
  • Offer Web and event platforms to connect the audiences

Gone are the days when a hospital's competitors were across town or in a neighboring community. Today, the marketplace has literally forced health systems to compare themselves to institutions in a five-state radius or on another coast. The need to travel is no longer a major concern for those seeking the best care at the best price.

As plan members take on a greater share of their own healthcare costs, they are beginning to distinguish between low prices and high quality.xiv At the same time, employers are playing a more aggressive role by contracting directly with healthcare providers and COEs in order to find the best value for their employees, and opting for bundled, fixed price procedures. This has created a new dynamic in the world of health benefits that plays out as a win-win for all stakeholders.

About the Author
Laura Carabello has been an entrepreneur and a strategy consultant in both domestic and international businesses related to healthcare and technology since 1985. She is the publisher/managing editor of Medical Travel Today, the authoritative, online business-to-business international newsletter of the medical tourism industry, as well as US Domestic Medical Travel, the newsletter dedicated to U.S. intra-state and inbound medical travel. In 2011, Carabello published Medical Travel Today: Opinions and Perspectives on an Industry in the Making.  
Footnotes

i Benefitfocus Solution; ACA Impacts A Transformation of the Benefits Landscape; Benefit Focus White Paper, 2014; http://cdns.benefitfocus.com/netstorage/corporatesite/production/static/media/Benefitfocus_ACA_Whitepaper.pdf; Accessed June 25, 2014.

ii American Hospital Association; Registration Requirements for Hospitals; http://www.aha.org/research/rc/stat-studies/REGISTRATION_FY_08.pdf; Accessed June 25, 2014.

iii American Hospital Association.

iv Featherly, Kevin; Paying Less for the Best; Delta Sky; pg. 81; February 2014.

v  Meier, Barry et al; Hospital Billing Varies Wildly, Government Data Shows; New York Times; May 8, 2013; http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/08/business/hospital-billing-varies-wildly-us-data-shows.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0; accessed December 23, 2014.

vi Kirchen, Rich; Latest hospital pricing data show wide variance in costs of procedures; Business Journal; Aug. 21, 2014; http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2014/08/21/latest-hospital-pricing-data-show-wide-variance-in.html?page=all; accessed January 9, 2015.

vii Satin, David J. & Miles, Justin; Performance-Based Bundled Payments; Minnesota Medicine; October 2009; http://www.minnesotamedicine.com/Past-Issues/Past-Issues-2009/October-2009/Special-Report-Oct2009; accessed January 9, 2015.

viii Champion, Wes; How Bundled Pricing Just Might Save Healthcare From Itself; Healthcare Blog; Oct. 26, 2012; http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2012/10/26/how-bundled-payments-just-might-save-health-care-from-itself/; accessed January 9, 2015.

ix Champion, 2012.

x Levey, Noam N.; Unequal Treatment Where Employers Use Quality Control to Shape Healthcare; LA Times; Dec. 15, 2014; http://www.latimes.com/nation/healthcare/la-na-healthcare-employer-leadership-20141215-story.html#page=1; accessed January 9, 2015.

xi Levey, 2014.

xii Levey, 2014.

xiii Carabello, Laura; U.S. Domestic Medical Travel; to be published: Vol. 1, Issue 21; March 2014.

xiv Carabello, 2014. 

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

"Truth in Numbers" with Regards to Health Tourism
...the Accounting System for documenting and reporting Activity and Economic Impact
by Constantine Constantinides, M.D., Ph.D.

The Story Which Goes With It

...the 3.4 Trillion Dollar Global Wellness Economy
Many know very well that I am a strong supporter and champion of the growth and spread of health tourism - which includes wellness tourism.

But I believe there needs to be "credibility" and "substantiation" when it comes to numbers.
For example, in 2014, The Global Wellness Institute claimed that the global wellness economy had reached $3.4 trillion in 2013.

And what do they mean by wellness? They seem to include anything and everything (if you exclude the kitchen sink).

And who is counting - and how?

Which is why I have been pushing for the adoption and implementation of the Health Tourism Satellite Account - the accounting system which documents and reports health tourism activity in each of the eight heath tourism segments.

See: www.healthtourismsatelliteaccount.com.

Even If The Numbers Are Credible

...see what is included in the counting
In addition to the issue of "real numbers," how do we ensure that a report on the number of "apples" does not include "all fruit and vegetables?"

For example, even if the numbers claimed by the Global Wellness Institute are credible, see what is included under "Wellness:"

  • Beauty and Anti-Aging ($1.026 billion)
  • Spa Industry ($94 billion)
  • Fitness and Mind-Body ($446 billion)
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine ($187 billion)
  • Thermal / Mineral Springs ($50 billion)
  • Wellness Tourism ($494 billion)
  • Preventive and Personalized Medicine ($433 billion)
  • Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate ($100 billion)
  • Workplace Wellness ($41 billion)

And how can you talk about medical tourism numbers when you include dental tourism, which is a separate and distinct health tourism segment?

This is one more reason to clearly segment health tourism into eight segments.

Segmenting the Health Tourism Sector

...to get the real picture
To get the "real picture, when considering health tourism activity and its economic impact, one needs to consider things in "context."

And to do this, one needs to consider health tourism in terms of its component parts:

  • Medical Tourism
  • Dental Tourism
  • Spa Tourism (can include Thalassotherapy and Thermalism)
  • Wellness Tourism
  • Sports Tourism (not for spectators)
  • Culinary Tourism (in the context of healthy cuisine)
  • Accessible Tourism
  • Assisted Residential Tourism (Assisted Living Abroad - Retirement Housing and Care)

See: www.healthtourism8.com.

The Industry and Market Demand "Truth in Numbers"

...and an honest accountant
Both the industry and the market are demanding that the record be set straight.

Both want to know:

  • How health tourism activity is documented
  • How many "real" health tourists / travelers - in each segment - each destination receives (and from where)

And of course:

  • Who is a true health traveler / tourist
  • Which destinations are the "top destinations" in terms of numbers (which can be taken to mean "popularity, credibility and desirability")

The Health Tourism Satellite Account

...the Accounting System for documenting and reporting activity and economic impact
We now know and agree that all the numbers we have been getting to hear and read about, regarding health tourism activity, were (to put it politely) "anecdotal" (i.e., not evidence-based).

Even numbers and projections regarding the growth of medical tourism published by respected consultancies in Reports, likewise, turned out to be "flawed."

The Health Tourism Satellite Account (HTSA) is a standard system of collecting, processing and reporting health tourism activity.

One can think of it as an accounting system and scheme.

The fundamental purpose of the HTSA is to serve as a "Provider Level" and "Destination Level" system of metrics and statistics for health-related services involving some travel.

Very importantly, the HTSA has been designed to be implemented primarily at "provider" level (the "bottom").

It is at the provider level that data needs to be collected and then aggregated and consolidated into the HTSA of a destination.

Industry News

Over 1.1 Billion Tourists Traveled Abroad in 2014  
International tourist arrivals reached 1,138 million in 2014, a 4.7 percent increase over the previous year, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. For 2015, UNWTO forecasts international tourism to grow by three to four percent, further contributing to the global economic recovery.

The number of international tourists (overnight visitors) reached 1,138 million in 2014, 51 million more than in 2013. With an increase of 4.7 percent, this is the fifth consecutive year of above average growth since the 2009 economic crisis.

"Over the past years, tourism has proven to be a surprisingly strong and resilient economic activity and a fundamental contributor to the economic recovery by generating billions of dollars in exports and creating millions of jobs. This has been true for destinations all around the world, but particularly for Europe, as the region struggles to consolidate its way out of one of the worst economic periods in its history," said UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai opening the Spain Global Tourism Forum in Madrid.

By region, the Americas (+7%) and Asia and the Pacific (+5%) registered the strongest growth, while Europe (+4%), the Middle East (+4%) and Africa (+2%) grew at a slightly more modest pace. By sub-region, North America (+8%) saw the best results, followed by North-East Asia, South Asia, Southern and Mediterranean Europe, Northern Europe and the Caribbean, all increasing by 7%.

As in recent years, the growth in international tourism receipts in 2014 is expected to have followed that of arrivals fairly close. The 2014 results for international tourism receipts will be released in April 2015. In 2013, international tourism receipts reached US$ 1,187 billion, US$ 230 billion more than in the pre-crisis year of 2008.

Positive outlook for 2015

For 2015, UNWTO forecasts international tourist arrivals to grow between three to four percent. By region, growth is expected to be stronger in Asia and the Pacific (+4% to +5%) and the Americas (+4% to +5%), followed by  Europe (+3% to +4%). Arrivals are expected to increase by +3% to +5% in Africa and by +2% to +5% in the Middle East.

"We expect demand to continue growing in 2015 as the global economic situation improves even though there are still plenty of challenges ahead. On the positive side, oil prices have declined to a level not seen since 2009. This will lower transport costs and boost economic growth by lifting purchasing power and private demand in oil importing economies. Yet, it could also negatively impact some of the oil exporting countries which have emerged as strong tourism source markets," added Rifai.

The positive outlook for 2015 is confirmed by the UNWTO Confidence Index. According to the 300 tourism experts consulted worldwide for the Index, tourism performance is expected to improve in 2015, although expectations are less upbeat than a year ago.

Europe consolidates its position as the most visited region in the world

Europe (+4%), the most visited region with over half of the world's international tourists, saw an increase of 22 million arrivals in 2014, reaching a total of 588 million. Thanks to these results, tourism has been a major contributor to the European economic recovery. Northern Europe and Southern and Mediterranean Europe led growth (both +7%), while results were more modest in Western Europe (+2%). Arrivals in Central and Eastern Europe (0%) stagnated after three years of strong growth.

International tourist arrivals in Asia and the Pacific (+5%) increased by 13 million to 263 million. The best performance was recorded in North-East Asia and South Asia (both +7%). Arrivals in Oceania grew by six percent, while growth slowed down in South-East Asia (+2%) as compared to previous years.

The Americas were the best performing region in relative terms with growth of seven percent, welcoming an additional 13 million international tourists and raising the total to 181 million. Growth was driven by North America (+8%), where Mexico posted a double-digit increase, and the Caribbean (+7%). Arrivals to Central America and South America (both +6%) grew at double the rate recorded in 2013 and well above the world average.

International tourism in the Middle East (+4%) shows signs of rebound with good results in most destinations. The region attracted an additional two million arrivals, bringing the total to 50 million. Africa's international tourist numbers grew by an estimated two percent, equivalent to an increase of one million arrivals. The region reached 56 million tourists. While arrivals to North Africa were weak (+1%), Sub-Saharan Africa saw international tourist numbers rise by three percent despite the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in a few West African countries. Data for Africa and the Middle East should be read with caution as it is based on limited and volatile data.

Demand from traditional source markets picks up

A pickup in expenditure on international tourism from traditional source markets compensated for the slowdown of the large emerging markets, which had been driving tourism growth in previous years.

The total number of trips abroad from China is estimated to have increased by 11 million to 109 million in 2014. Expenditure was up by 17 percent in the first three quarters of 2014, a strong result but slower than in previous years (40% in 2012 and 26% in 2013, respectively). China is the world's largest outbound market since 2012 with a total expenditure of US$ 129 billion in 2013.

Among the other two main emerging markets, the Russian Federation (-6%) clearly lost strength in 2014, while Brazil still grew by two percent, despite the appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Brazilian real and slower economic growth. Beyond the top ten, some smaller emerging markets saw expenditure grow substantially, with Saudi Arabia, India, the Philippines and Qatar all reporting increases of 30 percent or over.

A pickup in demand from traditional source markets compensated for the slowdown of the large emerging markets. Expenditure from the U.S., the second largest outbound market in the world, grew by six percent. Noteworthy is also the rebound of France (+11%), Italy (+6%) and the United Kingdom (+4%).

Useful links:
UNWTO World Tourism Barometer
Infographic: International Tourist Arrivals 2014 (per region)
Infographic: International Tourist Arrivals 2014 (growth per region)
Infographic: Why Tourism Matters
UNWTO Tourism Highlights, 2014 Edition

Contacts:
Senior Media Officer: Marcelo Risi
Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60 

UNWTO Communications and Publications Program
Tel: +34 91-567-8100 / Fax: +34 91-567-8218 

Industry News

New Plan Aims to Boost Medical Tourism Industry in Costa Rica

Ticotimes.net-Companies in the medical tourism sector in Costa Rica will benefit from a training program aimed exclusively at small- and medium-sized enterprises in six regions of the country.

The German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) and the Council for International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine (PROMED) are leading a plan to invest $130,000 in training and coaching programs for 110 companies in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala.

At least 70 of these companies will be from Costa Rica, as the initiative to seek cooperation from the German government was developed here, said PROMED's executive director Massimo Manzi.

Local businesses will be chosen from six areas: San José, Guanacaste, Nicoya, the Central Pacific, Los Santos and the Northern Zone. The Labor Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the National Training Institute, the Foreign Trade Promotion Office and members of the Doctors and Surgeons Association and the Dentists Association will help choose the beneficiaries.
In a first stage of the plan these groups will choose companies with the potential to provide services to foreign patients, and that require only adequate training to serve these tourists.

Another process will choose the best prospects for the program to receive technical assistance in order to create productive chains with other companies.

"This means, for example, that a company that provides health services can establish a productive chain with hotels, tour operators and transport companies so they can offer tourists a full package for their treatment, but also for their recovery time," Manzi said.

GIZ experts currently are evaluating potential instructors for training courses scheduled to begin in two months, according to estimates by PROMED.

Training will include both classroom and online courses so that selected companies can offer good customer service and market their services abroad, Manzi said.

Companies also will benefit from both Costa Rica's current prestige in the health tourism market and its proximity to the U.S., he added.

The latest survey by the International Medical Tourism Index ranks Costa Rica fifth in medical tourism services, just after Canada, the U.K., Israel and Singapore.

Manzi considers this position to be excellent, "considering that all countries above Costa Rica are developed economies."
PROMED leaders believe the potential for Costa Rica to increase medical or wellness tourism is still wide open.
A potential market of 40 million people who require these services exists in the U.S., according to PROMED research. "Of these, one percent ... already is willing to seek these services elsewhere, as long as they are guaranteed quality and safety in both treatment and recovery," the PROMED study states.

It is estimated that U.S. citizens this year will spend the equivalent of 20 percent of the country's gross domestic product on health services, and although the figures have dropped due to President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, a study last year by consultant group Gallup found that 15.6 percent of the U.S. population still does not have health insurance.

PROMED's most recent data indicate that the country in 2011 attracted 48,253 medical tourists that generated revenues of some $338 million. The goal for this year is to attract at least 100,000 of these tourists.

For further info, contact Massimo Manzi at: 2201-5263 or email PROMED at: info@promedcostarica.org.

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

Medical Tourism Soaring in Southeast Asia Thanks to Government Support, says GlobalData Analyst

Malaysia expected more than 770,000 foreign patients in 2013, a 14.9 percent increase on previous year.

"In countries such as Malaysia, government backing of the medical tourism industry ensures high-quality care for foreign patients," says analyst.

A number of countries in Southeast Asia continue to witness a boom in medical tourism, as affordable healthcare for foreign visitors is being actively promoted by governments in the region, according to an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

Jennifer Ryan, GlobalData's analyst covering medical devices, states that while medical tourism was once the preserve of affluent patients seeking elective or cosmetic procedures, it is now a burgeoning industry and major source of revenue for select countries.

Ryan explains: "These countries' governments are allocating money and resources to training healthcare professionals, as well as top-of-the-line facilities and devices. Some hospitals have even partnered with particular hotels to provide a full package to patients from abroad.

"Numerous websites exist to help patients plan their trips, with information on everything from hospital and hotel stays to restaurant and sight-seeing recommendations, as patients can enjoy a relaxing post-treatment vacation without having to travel any farther."

The analyst cites Malaysia as a prime example of this phenomenon, noting that in 2012 alone, the country saw over 670,000 patients from abroad and expected more than 770,000 foreign patients in 2013, an increase of 14.9 percent.

Ryan continues: "In countries such as Malaysia, government backing of the medical tourism industry ensures high-quality care for foreign patients, as well as accredited facilities and enforced safety standards.

"By offering a wide range of treatments, in areas from cardiology to orthopedics and fertility treatments, Malaysian hospitals and healthcare professionals are able to provide comparable care at a fraction of the cost otherwise available to a patient."
Despite these incentives, there are potential drawbacks to medical tourism, including economic issues and patient complications.

The analyst concludes: "With an emphasis on attracting patients from abroad, residents of the destination country may not receive the same level of care as foreign travelers. Meanwhile, medical tourists may encounter complications ranging from deep vein thrombosis to counterfeit medicine and country-specific antibiotic resistance.

"However, the medical tourism industry is on the rise, and participating countries provide many safe, affordable options to patients from around the world, allowing countries such as Malaysia to prosper accordingly."

Notes to Editors
- Comments provided by Jennifer Ryan, GlobalData's analyst covering medical devices.
- For guidelines on how to cite GlobalData, please see: http://www.globaldata.com/QuotingGlobalData.aspx

About GlobalData
GlobalData is a leading global research and consulting firm offering advanced analytics to help clients make better, more informed decisions every day. Our research and analysis are based on the expert knowledge of over 700 qualified business analysts and 25,000 interviews conducted with industry insiders every year, enabling us to offer the most relevant, reliable and actionable strategic business intelligence available for a wide range of industries.

For more information, please contact our Press Office on +44 (0)1204 543 537 or at pr@globaldata.com.

 

Industry News

Okyanos Cell Therapy Success Brings Hope for a Normal Life
Treatment of growing patient base with adult stem cell therapy puts Okyanos at the forefront of adult stem cell therapy

In just a few short months since Okyanos opened its doors, remarkable results are becoming a daily reality. In light of these mounting successes, Okyanos, the leader in cell therapy, has augmented its adult stem cell therapy for severe heart disease and expanded their offerings to include treatments for patients with other chronic unmet needs. Now, patients like Patsy and Dylan are experiencing the tangible benefits that Okyanos cell therapy provides.

Patsy, 72 years old, lived a normal life until 2012 when a diagnosis of congestive heart failure (CHF) put a halt to her active lifestyle. Patsy's health quickly deteriorated. Despite open heart surgery, a pacemaker and medications, all were insufficient to arrest her physical decline. Faced with a heart transplant as her next option and fearful of the idea, Patsy began searching for another alternative.

"I was looking at going to Mexico, and my cardiologist was talking to me about being a part of a clinical trial where they inject two different kinds of drugs into the heart, but I was hesitant about that idea and worried I would get the placebo. A friend knew I had a heart problem, and she recommended Okyanos."

Patsy's arrival at Okyanos quickly allayed any apprehension as she said, "I couldn't ask to be treated any better than if they were my own sisters or brothers. It was truly amazing. You just don't get that kind of care in regular hospitals."

After just a few short months since her mid-October (2014) treatment with Okyanos cell therapy, Patsy is noticing improvements. "I'm doing better. I can already tell the difference. I'm getting up the stairs more easily. I'm doing the laundry again. I have more energy, and when you have more energy and you feel better, your point of view on life is better-it really makes a big difference."

Dylan is another success. At 16, Dylan had dreamed of a career playing tennis, but began experiencing extreme pain with his hips locking up, causing him to fall to the ground. He was diagnosed with a rare condition that causes abnormal growth of tissue lining the joints that can later break off and damage cartilage. After two surgeries to clean out his hips, constant pain and an inability to walk without a limp, run or bend over, the condition worsened. After speaking with doctors, it was clear that continuation of regular surgeries would further deteriorate Dylan's hips. Determined to see her son walk normally, Dylan's mother discovered Okyanos, and both decided to move forward with cell therapy.

Dylan underwent cell therapy wherein stem cells were separated from his own fat tissue for direct injections into the hip, as well as delivery by IV to address underlying causes of ischemia, inflammation and abnormal immune response. Ten days later, Dylan was pain-free and able to walk normally, run and bend over.

"I'm pinching myself. It's amazing. No, it's miraculous!" says Elena about her son's recovery. "If Dylan had not had the cell therapy, we would have kept doing other treatments and crossed our fingers. At 20 years old, his future would have been hip replacement surgery and a lifetime of problems walking, painful movement and an inability to bend down."

Stem cell therapy is a relatively simple and minimally-invasive same-day procedure-a stark contrast from open heart surgery or hip surgery-yet offers patients the hope of a more normal life. Patients like Patsy concur, "It's going to give people hope. And give them a life. You get to a point with a body where you push and push and run out of energy. That's not really life to me. I think stem cell therapy can give back life."

Okyanos follows the treatment guidelines laid out in clinical trials such as PRECISE and others, which have demonstrated positive results from adult stem cell therapy. Okyanos cell therapy is performed in their newly constructed surgery center built to U.S. surgical standards, and which also includes a state-of-the-art Phillips cath lab.

Just 50 miles from U.S. shore, the Bahamas maintain a rigorous regulatory framework through the National Stem Cell Ethics Committee, Scientific Committee and Compliance Committee with strict licensing requirements.

Patients with severe heart disease including coronary artery disease (CAD) and CHF, as well as patients with autoimmune diseases, tissue ischemia, neurological and orthopedic conditions, can contact Okyanos to request a free consultation at www.Okyanos.com or by calling 1-855-659-2667.

About Okyanos: (Oh - key - AH - nos)
Based in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Okyanos brings a new standard of care and a better quality of life to patients with coronary artery disease, tissue ischemia, autoimmune diseases, and other chronic neurological and orthopedic conditions. Okyanos Cell Therapy utilizes a unique blend of stem and regenerative cells derived from patients' own adipose (fat) tissue, which helps improve blood flow, moderate destructive immune response and prevent further cell death. Okyanos is fully licensed under the Bahamas Stem Cell Therapy and Research Act and adheres to U.S. surgical center standards. The literary name Okyanos, the Greek god of the river Okyanos, symbolizes restoration of blood flow.

Media Contact:
Kathy Wattman
818.398.0197
PR@Okyanos.com

Industry News

Doing Away with "Fully Hosted Buyers" at Medical Travel Events
...and the reasons why
by Constantine Constantinides, M.D., Ph.D.

Some Disambiguation

In this piece of writing, "buyer" refers to those who attend (or are invited to) exhibitions and B2B meetings as:

  • Medical tourism facilitators
  • Payers (of health-related services)
  • Cost-bearers (of health-related services)
  • Tour Operators - and to a lesser degree - travel agents

One medical travel exhibition fancifully refers to these as Commissioners of Medical Travel (CMTs).

The Story which goes with it
...the incentives and motivations to "pay to participate"

In another piece published in the IMTJ ("Buyers" at medical tourism events - and why they fail to live up to expectations - http://www.imtj.com/articles/2014/buyers-at-medical-tourism-events-and-why-they-fail-to-live-up-to-expectation-40187/), I refer to "buyers in name only" - and explain why buyers do not buy at medical tourism exhibitions.

My opinion was shared by another medical tourism insider, Maria Todd, who added a comment to the article.

If this, as I claim, is the case, why do event organizers prominently feature and tout the number of "hosted buyers" as the "drawing card" for their events?

And why are "paying" health-related services providers motivated and incentivized by the attendance of these "buyers in name only?"

In my view, for health tourism and medical tourism events, the conventional "hosted buyers" feature is a "dud."

Being paid for the benefit of doing business
...and making money

Buyers attend medical travel events to scout for "business."

So, why are they not expected to pay for the benefit and privilege of meeting up with business prospects?

If buyers are serious about buying (or about finding provider-clients who will pay a commission for patients sent to their facilities) then we should not be "doubly rewarding" them. Their reward for participating in the event should be the commission fees paid to them by providers for "patients delivered."

It is for this reason that I have done away with "fully hosted buyers" in my "optimized" model of the health tourism event - as exemplified by the International Health Tourism Convention (http://www.internationalhealthtourismconvention.com).

I was pleased to see that my view seems to have been shared by the organizer of the 2015 Medical Travel Summit - which does not feature hosted buyers (http://summit.imtj.com/).

Replacing the "Fully Hosted Buyer" Model
...subsidizing real buyers who have paid their dues and have proved their worth

So, if we do away with the conventional "fully hosted buyer model" what do we replace it with?

Basically, my suggestion is that both sides need to show good will and financial commitment. Event organizers and buyers need to meet half way.

What I have in mind is a "subsidized real buyer" model.

More specifically, I suggest that exhibition / B2B event organizers should be prepared to provide board and lodging to buyers / payers / cost bearers who "have paid their dues" and have proved their worth.

By this I mean those who have a proven track record of delivering patients.

All Buyers are Welcome
...but some will need to pay their way

I am in no way suggesting that we keep newcomers and aspiring buyers away from exhibitions and B2B meetings.

What I am suggesting is that these be made welcome, but that they should pay their way fully until they have "paid their dues" and proven their worth.

By the way, "have paid their dues" refers to those who have earned their right to something through hard work and a proven record.

Encouraging Tour Operators to Embrace the Business of Health Tourism
...the industry which actually buys in order to sell

In my view, tour operators have the ideal infrastructure and resources to best serve the needs and expectations of health-related services providers targeting international patients.

And of course, there is no reason why tour operators should not also clearly state that they are acting as medical tourism facilitators, as well.

See, for example, Thomas Cook Egypt and Medical Travel (www.thomascookegypt.com).

Industry News

Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Bags International Medical Tourism Accreditation for the Fifth Time in a Row

PharmaBiz.com-Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, has been ranked third amongst the Top 20 hospitals across the globe for medical tourists in the annual ranking by the Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQUA). It has received this recognition for the fifth time in a row.

A hospital, clinic or medical tourism agency receives medical tourism certification through a formal evaluation against standards of quality in 10 non-clinical areas that directly impact a medical tourist's well-being and good results. The MTQUA evaluation team reviewed how the hospital manages a medical tourist, including the inquiry process, intake procedure, and care management after discharge. They studied the hospital's website and internet marketing, communication procedures, privacy and security measures, multicultural sensitivity, International Patient Services department, care support services and certain operations and business procedures that influence the quality of treatment and care a medical tourist receives.

"It is encouraging to receive such a high level of accreditation, consistently. By providing a strong foundation of quality, along with affordability, in our patient care processes, we have delivered to both our domestic and International patients exceptional value. Our effort is to ensure transparency of care and most importantly cater to the unique needs of medical travelers. This achievement inspires and prompts us to maintain our momentum and uphold this hospital's global standing," said Karthik Rajagopal, regional director, South, Fortis Hospitals.

India is placed among the top three medical tourism destinations in Asia as per a combined study by consultancy firm KPMG and industry body FICCI due to the low cost of treatment, quality healthcare infrastructure and availability of highly skilled doctors.

Medical tourism is a growing sector in India, which is projected to reach $2 billion by this year with an annual rate of 30 percent. The leading medical tourism destinations in India are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, New Delhi, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. At present India has the maximum number of medical tourists from SAARC Countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka) due to their geographical proximity and political co-operation agreements.

MTQUA, an independent international organization founded in 2009 to promote the special safety and quality needs in treatment and care of medical tourists, publishes the Top 10 World's Best Hospitals for Medical Tourists and Best Practices in Medical Tourism. The recognition is offered on the basis of key criteria such as quality of medical care offered to the patients, international patient management, accessibility to the hospital by the international medical travelers, value for services, patient safety and security. It is the only global certification program for hospitals, clinics, agencies, recovery resorts and related services and providers.

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

Research and Markets: Global Medical Tourism Market 2015-2019 with Bangkok Dusit Medical Services, Bumrungrad Hospital Public Co. Ltd., IHH Healthcare Berhad & KPJ Healthcare Berhad Dominating

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Medical Tourism Market 2015-2019" report to their offering.

The Global Medical Tourism market to grow at a CAGR of 19.38 percent over the period 2014-2019

Medical tourism is defined as a patient travelling abroad in order to receive medical treatment. The medical treatment includes medicinal or surgical treatments, such as heart bypass, heart valve replacement, hip replacement, dental implant, spinal fusion, tummy tuck, breast implant, cosmetic surgery, angioplasty and other treatment. The patients travel abroad to get the medical treatment because of cost-savings, better quality care, affordability, no waiting time, and more personalized care. Medical tourism is a form of outsourcing medical services to low-cost countries. The medical tourism market is in the nascent stage, and is expected to gain momentum during the forecast period.

The majority of medical tourists are of U.S. origin because of increasing healthcare costs and the growing number of uninsured people in the country. They prefer medical tourism for cost-saving purposes. Increasing numbers of baby boomers in the country, coupled with the high costs of healthcare, compels patients to search for affordable and low-cost treatment overseas.
According to the report, an increase in healthcare costs in developed countries is boosting the global medical tourism market. Patients from highly developed countries prefer to travel to less developed countries to obtain treatment for cost-savings.

Further, the report states that lack of proper medical infrastructure in major medical tourist destinations such as India is one of the major challenges for the market. Factors such as facilities at airports, unskilled or under-skilled workforce, and unhygienic conditions are the major causes of concern for medical tourists, hampering the growth of the market.


Key Vendors

  • Bangkok Dusit Medical Services
  • Bumrungrad Hospital Public Co. Ltd.
  • IHH Healthcare Berhad
  • KPJ Healthcare Berhad

Key Topics Covered:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. List of Abbreviations
  3. Scope of the Report
  4. Market Research Methodology
  5. Introduction
  6. Market Landscape
  7. Key Leading Countries
  8. Buying Criteria
  9. Market Growth Drivers
  10. Drivers and their Impact
  11. Market Challenges
  12. Impact of Drivers and Challenges
  13. Market Trends
  14. Trends and their Impact
  15. Vendor Landscape
  16. Key Vendor Analysis

For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/m4l5xc/global_medical

Contacts

Research and Markets
Laura Wood, Senior Manager
press@researchandmarkets.com
For E.S.T Office Hours Call 1-917-300-0470
For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call 1-800-526-8630
For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900
U.S. Fax: 646-607-1907
Fax (outside U.S.): +353-1-481-1716
Sector: Healthcare and Medical Devices, Travel and Tourism

Industry News

Legislation Aims to Streamline Interstate Physician Licensing
by Emily Rappleye
Becker's Hospital Review is the original producer/publisher of the content.

Beckershospitalreview.com- Lawmakers in nine states have formally proposed legislation to accelerate the licensing process for physicians to practice in multiple states.

To read the original article click here.

Industry News

The Global Guide to Healthcare Tourism
Original Source: http://www.traceysolicitors.ie/blog/the-global-guide-to-healthcare-tourism-infographic/

Industry News

IV International Exhibition of Medical Tourism, SPA&Wellness - Healthcare Travel Expo
On April 15-17, 2015 in the EC "KyivExpoPlaza" will be held the IV International Exhibition of Medical Tourism, SPA&Wellness- Healthcare Travel Expo - Ukraine's first exhibition, which covers the world tendencies of the new dynamically developing direction - medical tourism.

The purpose of the Healthcare Travel Expo is consolidation of medical tourism and healthcare industry specialists, heads of field-oriented departments, representatives of embassies, local, regional and international associations and organizations, representatives of international clinics, rehabilitation centers, SPA&Wellness resorts in Europe, Asia and America to develop medical tourism market. Professional platform Healthcare Travel Expo is a meeting place for doctors, experts, companies working in the field of medical tourism, representatives of professional industry organizations, travel agencies, representatives of insurance companies, medical tourism agencies, VIP-guests, suppliers, buyers and consumers in order to attract new customers, establish business contacts, exchange experience with foreign colleagues, establish bilateral cooperation with the world's leading clinics, rehabilitation centers, health and SPA&Wellness resorts without going abroad.

During its existence the International Exhibition of Medical Tourism gained trust and recognition.

The Organizer of the Exhibition is LMT Company - Organizer of the leading events of the healthcare industry.

Official Support: Verkhovna Rada Committee on Family Matters, Youth Policy, Sports and Tourism, Ministry of Health of Ukraine, State Agency of Ukraine for Tourism and Resorts, NAMS of Ukraine.

With the assistance of the Hungarian National Tourist Office, Trade and Investment Promotion Office of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Kyiv, Polish Tourist Organization, Czech Tourism Representative Office in Ukraine, Embassy of Malaysia in Ukraine, the Commercial Section of Austrian Embassy - ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA, Cuba Chamber of Commerce, Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Kyiv.

International Partners: DOĞA FUARCILIK, Atlas Business Service Ltd, Intersana.

The uniqueness of the Exhibition is caused by intense exposition, measured business and training programs.

The Exhibition will present national expositions, leading clinics, medical and rehabilitation centers, health and SPA&Wellness resorts of Austria, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, Finland, France, Croatia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Georgia, Israel, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, United States, Cuba and many other countries.

A feature of the Exhibition are the business programs - Business Point and Buyers program, which allow participants to maximize time using - hold productive meetings, schedule of which is pre-planned.

In the framework of the Exhibition also will be held numerous practical events - seminars, trainings, workshops for beginners and professionals in medical tourism that will have opportunity to learn about effective models of building business, secrets of searching target audience, rules of working with international clinics and companies that work in medical tourism, current problems of insurance and visa, as well as many other issues.

The undeniable advantage of the International Exhibition of Medical Tourism, SPA&Wellness- Healthcare Travel Expo is its proximity to the main event of healthcare industry in Ukraine - International Medical Forum "Medicine Innovations - the Nation's Health". The Forum is large-scale complex innovation-oriented event of the healthcare industry of Ukraine, which combines a powerful interdisciplinary scientific-practical program, the largest specialized exhibitions in Ukraine and creates international platform for the exchange of experience and training of healthcare professionals. According to the organization, number of exhibitors and geography, large-scale of exposition, intensity of scientific-practical and business program, activity of attendance, the Forum is considered to be the main event in the healthcare industry and annually unites more than 12,000 professionals. Traditionally, on the platform of the Forum will be the International Medical Congress "Introduction of medical science advances into healthcare practice in Ukraine". In the framework of the Congress will take place over 40 scientific-practical events in various fields of medicine.

Exhibitors of Healthcare Travel Expo have a unique opportunity to take an active part in the Congress, both as speakers, presenting their projects, methods and techniques of prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and as the listeners, getting new professional contacts of Ukrainian scientists and physicians.

Free Entrance in case of pre-registration.

The Exhibition is your chance to be at the origin of the rapidly developing direction - medical tourism, which in the future will not have borders and will guarantee new perspectives in business development.

Facts and figures of the Exhibition and Forum 2014:

5078 m2 of exposition area
350 exhibitors of IMF
96 exhibitors of HTEXPO
Countries: Austria, Spain, Italy, China, Lithuania, Malaysia, Germany, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the USA, Thailand, Turkey, Hungary, Ukraine, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Japan.
10252 registered professional visitors
Geography of visitors: the Netherlands, the USA, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Italy, Germany, Poland, Estonia, Switzerland, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Moldova, Russia.
55 scientific-practical events
30 master-classes
76 organizers and co-organizers

Welcome to participate and to attend
April 15-17, 2015 in the EC "KyivExpoPlaza" on IV International Exhibition of medical tourism, SPA& Wellness- Healthcare Travel Expo

Contact Information:
Tel.: +380 (44) 526-90-10, 526-94-87, 526-90-30
E-mail: marketing@htexpo.com.ua
www.htexpo.com.ua
www.medforum.in.ua

Industry News

Medical Korea 2015: The 6th Global Healthcare & Medical Tourism Conference





Industry News

Help Save a Life and Support MatchingDonors
100 percent of all donations on MatchingDonors.com go to help people get organ transplants on MatchingDonors.com.

MatchingDonors is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and the nation's largest online living organ donor organization finding living organ donors for people needing organ transplants.  In conjunction with various health organizations throughout the United States we have created a very successful Public Service Announcement campaign to help people recognize that they can save lives by being a living organ donor, to encourage them to register as an altruistic living organ donor, and to make them realize they can help save the lives of people needing organ transplants by donating other things. This MatchingDonors Living Organ Donor Initiative program has already saved thousands of lives.


Upcoming Events

International Health Tourism Convention

March 11-14, 2015 - Royal Olympic Hotel, Athens, Greece
To learn more or to register click here.


Kuwait Medical Tourism Conference & Exhibition

March 16-18, 2015 - Crowne Plaza Kuwait, Kuwait City, Kuwait
To learn more or to register click here.


Moscow Medical and Health Tourism Congress

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March 18-21, 2015 - Moscow Expocenter, Moscow, Russia
To learn more or to register click here.


Medical Fair India

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March 21-23, 2015 - Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India
To learn more or to register click here.


12th Annual World Health Care Congress 2015

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March 23-25, 2015 - Marriott Wardman Park, Washington, D.C.
To learn more or to register click here.


VI International Medical Forum & IV International Exhibition of Medical Tourism - Healthcare Travel Expo

April 15-17, 2015 - EC KyivExpoPlaza, Kyiv, Ukraine
To learn more or to register click here.


2nd Istanbul Medical, Health, Geriatrics, Termal, Spa & Wellness Tourism Fair & Congress

May 7-9, 2015 - Istanbul Congress Center, Istanbul, Turkey
To learn more or to register click here.


22nd Kazakhstan International Healthcare Exhibition

May 13-15, 2015 - Atakent Exhibition Centre, Almaty, Kazakhstan
To learn more or to register click here.


Destination: Health Canadian Medical Tourism Trade Show

August 13-15, 2015 - Montréal Convention Centre, Montréal, Québec, Canada
To learn more or to register click here.


Arab Health: International Medical Travel Exhibition and Conference

October 7-8, 2015 - Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Center, United Arab Emirates
To learn more or to register click here.


9th Annual 2015 Global Spa & Wellness Summit

November 13-15, 2015 - Mexico City, Mexico
To learn more or to register click here.



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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

DHCC Receives Record 1.2M Patient Visits
Tradearabia.com-Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), a landing healthcare free zone, said it received a record 1.2 million patient visits by the end of last year, up from a million visits recorded the previous year.

Medical Tourism Blossoms with Public-Private Partnership
Gulfnews.com- Dubai healthcare providers are continuing to roll-out comprehensive packages for medical tourists, said a top health official.

India's Medanta to Open Hospital in Dubai
Thenational.ae-A 250-bed hospital is expected to open in Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) in early 2017, to offer improved care for patients in need of specialist treatment.

Visit Jacksonville Given State Grant to Promote 'Medical Tourism'
Jacksonville.com-Visit Jacksonville announced Thursday that the tourism bureau received $99,200 in a matching grant from Visit Florida, the state's tourism agency, to promote the medical facilities to new patients and medical convention planners.

Medical Tourism Takes Shape in UP with Apex Institutes Readying Packages
indiatimes.com- The city is poised to turn into a hub of medical tourism with both Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences and King George's Medical University working to project themselves for the purpose.

Thai Medical Tourism Expands
Ttrweekly.com- Kasikorn Research Centre says medical tourism is a significant revenue earner that should generate THB100 billion in revenue this year.

Rare Surgeries: Paving the Way for Medical TourismGulfnews.com-As more and more internationally renowned health experts with intensive experience have begun working in the UAE, hospitals have been able to set up medical precedents.

Consumers Would Benefit from Transparency Tools on Exchange Websites
modernmedicine.com- Marketplace websites could be doing significantly more to help consumers make informed choices about their health plans, according to a new study.

Americans May See Appeal of Medical Tourism in Cuba
Nytimes.com-Anuja Agrawal jumped on the phone. President Obama had just announced that he would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba - and Ms. Agrawal, who runs a medical tourism company in Orlando, Florida, did not want to miss her opening.

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.