|Pramod Goel, CEO, PlacidWay
Held in Panama City on March 14, 2013, and hosted by Luis Santamaría, director general of SALUD Panama, the SALUD Panama medical tourism conference was a first-of-its- kind event promoting medical tourism in Panama. Featuring over 100 medical travel experts, the four-day conference provided positive international exposure for Panama’s growing medical tourism industry.
Among the speakers was Pramod Goel, CEO of PlacidWay, one of the largest and fastest growing medical tourism companies in the US. The author of Evolution of Medical Tourism – from Cottage Industry to Corporate World, Goel believes that, “Latin American countries, including Panama, have some of the greatest potential to grow in the medical tourism industry.”
In addition to presentations by industry thought leaders, attendees were provided the opportunity to visit the country’s top hospitals. Led by Santamaria, the tours included Hospital Punta Pacifica, San Fernando Hospital, Pailtila Medical Center, and The National Hospital.
First up was the first private hospital in the Republic of Panama, San Fernando Hospital, a JCI-accredited facility that is recognized for its high-quality and patient-centered care services.
From there, attendees traveled to one of the top-rated hospitals in Panama, Paitilla Medical Center. Paitilla features an oncology center, an infertility clinic, and an intensive care unit. The facility also has a well-deserved reputation for blending excellent patient care services with the latest in medical, diagnostic and surgical technologies. Physically connected to the Hard Rock Hotel Panama, as well as the largest shopping mall in Panama, the hospital is positioned well to handle the needs of medical tourists.
Then the delegation went to the JCI-accredited Hospital Punta Pacifica, a private hospital associated with over 150 clinics, specializing in cardiology, orthopedics, women’s health, and IVF programs, as well as offering imaging procedures, surgeries, four surgical suites, an intensive care unit, a clinical laboratory and an emergency room.
The final visit was to National Hospital, which is equipped with a da Vinci surgical system and offers endoscopic surgical procedures, diagnostics, fetal diagnostics, diagnostic imaging, and more. An ISO-certified facility, the hospital recently underwent major renovations, expanding its capacity by 300 percent.
The conference also provided excellent networking opportunities. Over 150 doctors, dentists, clinic owners, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, including marketing managers of hospitality and hospital industries, were on hand to offer deeper insight into the potential of Panama as a medical travel destination.
Goel noted, “The medical landscape in Panama is impressive, with extremely qualified doctors, a majority of them American-educated, practicing in high-end medical centers and utilizing the latest in state-of-the-art medical technology from the US. The medical tourism program in Panama is young and has a potential to be a significant player in the region, given the right infrastructure and support.”
Climate-friendly, people-friendly and geographically diverse, Panama offers one of the ultimate travel destinations for medical travelers, whether seeking plastic surgery, dental procedures, fertility treatment, cardiac care, cancer treatments or bariatric procedures. Panama is on the cusp of creating and developing a solid medical tourism program. A master plan for sustainable medical tourism program with private-public collaboration will be the key to industry growth and competitive offerings in Latin America
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