3 Million people spent $76B on care away from home in 2010.
A recent Frost and Sullivan research report on the medical travel business predicts that medical tourism will come a $100 B business by the end of 2012 and that hot spots to watch will be: the Middle East, Asia and Germany.
While most believe that cost is the main driver this is not true across the board. A McKinsey and Company 2008 report emphasizes that 40 per cent of medical travelers seek advanced technology, 32 per cent seek better healthcare, 15 per cent seek faster medical services and only 9 percent of travelers seek lower costs as their primary consideration. Click to view the full report.
As reimbursements for Medicaid and Medicare continue to decrease and increasing numbers of US doctors indicate they will cut back seeing patients insured by these government insurance plans, or stop seeing them altogether. This will fuel access, rather than cost, to the forefront of medical travel.
Inbound tourism is the flip side of the same coin – as US healthcare continues to get more expensive and more difficult to access, hospitals are looking for ways to fill the beds. Foreign patients are attractive market and also pay in cash.
As I””ve pointed out before, these market eruptions present entrepreneurs with big opportunities. Healthcare reform might change the rules, but I don””t think significantly, given the big picture patient demographic and manpower supply and demand challenges.
Global referral communications, coordination and care is a growth industry begging for talent and $100B is likely to get a lot of attention. It certainly got mine.