Tag Archives: medical tourism companies

How to make money investing in the medical travel industry

By now, you’ve heard all the hype about the potential growth of the medical travel industry and how US patients are fleeing the country to get affordable care. Unfortunately, the experts agree, that there are few reliable statistics about the size and growth of the market, there are no common definitions of a medical traveler, comparisons of revenues and costs are hard to make, and there remain persistent, nagging barriers to widespread adoption by patients, payers and physicians.

That said, investors are still clinging to the promise of big returns fueled by patients losing their health benefits because of high unemployment, the aging population requiring more units of care and exploding costs of healthcare. If you think the medical travel industry is set to explode, there are some areas of investment to consider:

Foreign Healthcare infrastructure

  • Hospitals and systems
    Ambulatory surgery centers
    Clinical labs and imaging centers
    Disease specific treatment facilities like cancer centers, stem cell centers, etc
  • Foreign Travel and hospitality infrastructure

  • Hotels and Surgical Hotels
    Airport development

  • Tools and support companies

  • Players in global healthcare information exchange
    Data analytics and business intelligence
    Quality, price and value determinations
    Companies offering alternative pricing mechanisms

  • Supporting global healthcare insurance and travel products

  • Trip cancellation
    Follow up care
    Emergency evacuation
    Professional liability
    Infectious disease management
    Geopolitical risk insurance
  • Firms in the medical travel supply chain

  • Travel medicine clinics
    Medical travel facilitators and specialty travel agents
    Medical concierge ground operators
    Currency exchange risk managers

  • Expatriate retirement health cities and communities

    Like other industry sectors, gold, for example, you can invest in the product itself, the people who create the product, or investments that pools risks, like mutual funds or exchange traded funds.

    Look for companies in markets where the supply of care does not meet the demands of a growing middle class, that provide products and services delivering low, cost high volume care, and that provide platforms and infrastructure designed to reduce transaction costs for billing and collecting and value-based information.

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    SURGICAL HOTELS: An Emerging Opportunity

    With more and more patients seeking care away from home, there is an opportunity for the hotel and hospitality industry to offer customized services to patients recovering from surgery and treatments and their companions. Neither a hospital nor a hotel, a surgical hotel is a place designed to provide a level of care below that required in a hospital, but yet accommodates the healing needs of patients in a comfortable environment.

    So, what does a surgical hotel offer?

    How does a hotel providing services to a postoperative patients and their companions provide value and differentiate themselves?

    A surgical hotel, part hospital-part hotel, would offer the following:

    1. location convenient to healthcare facilities
    2. transportation to facilities/airport/other
    3. availability of emergency medical care
    4. amenities
    5. sensitivity to the needs of specific postop patients; connected rooms.
    6. things to do for companions
    7. information and communication technology links with providers
    8. alternative/complementary services for postop patient
    9. security
    10. privacy/confidentiality in check in and exits
    11. disability accommodations in architecture, transportation vehicles
    12. medical concierge
    13. accommodate in-room stay by nurse or companion
    14. availability of equipment to take vital signs by medical professional
    15. availability of wound management supplies
    16. online medical education and postop care resources
    17. nutrition counselor, special dietary restrictions
    18. evacuation preferences
    19. brand awareness and snob appeal
    20. new design for bedding and furniture?
    21. allergy free environment
    22. medication reminder system (part of automatic wake-up call system?)
    23. mini-kitchen facilities
    24. real time patient feedback and request system
    25. panic button
    26. prevention of nosocomial (need a new word for hotel acquired) infections
    27. modified housekeeping schedule
    28. separate parking a minimal distance to room
    29. wheelchair management
    30. quiet
    31. bathroom amenities (antibacterial soap, hand lotion, etc)
    32. antibacterial surfaces on furniture
    33. billing and collecting interface with medical insurance ?
    34. disposable cell phones for companions
    35. pet accommodations?

    The global medical travel industry in rapidly growing and expected to reach $1B by 2012. Developers and the hospitality industry have an opportunity to participate and profit by offering differentiated, value added services to patients and their family members and companions that accompany them for care away from home.

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    Medical Tourism Evolution

    Medical tourism used to be tiny and only for the wealthy. Now it’s ‘Medical Travel’ and it’s growing, fast.

    Leaving home for care is nothing new. People have been traveling around the world for treatment since the beginning of time. Now we call it medical tourism, and it is growing quickly.

    Patients seek care away from home because it is cheaper, unavailable in their home location, can be accessed without waiting for a long time, can be combined with a travel experience and can be kept secret. Despite the talk of healthcare reform, patients and employers are paying more for care with no forseeable decreases and they are looking for safe, affordable alternatives to care in the US.

    There are several serious barriers to adoption and penetration of the notion of leaving home for care. In fact, we’re not even sure what to call it these days. “Medical tourism” has morphed into global healthcare referral or medical travel, underlying the fact that we are talking about healthcare in a different place, not sipping Margueritas by the pool. The growth of the industry is being fueled by mostly medical outsiders who see the commercial potential of opportunities that have resulted from medical cost inflation, globalization and cheap information and communications technologies.

    There are lots of opportunties for physicians in the medical travel industry. Substantial challenges to the traditional notions of face-to-face care, continuity of care, itinerant surgery and global healthcare information exchange are but a few of the issues that the medical provider establishment will have to confront as medical travel continues to grow around the world.

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    Lorenzana Dental Center: an American Board Certified Dentist Abroad

    American Board of Prosthodontics logoDental implants are relatively new area of dentistry in which Dr. Rafael Lorenzana of Lorenzana Dental Center in El Salvador has been a true pioneer. Dental implants first arrived in the US in the early 1980s when Dr. Lorenzana was at a student at Baylor University and he has been perfecting his technique since inception.

    As a Prothodontist, a specialist who has studied the mouth and jaw for an additional three years and replaces the look and function of lost or damaged teeth, Dr. Lorenzana specializes on full mouth reconstruction and is board certified by the- a distinction that less than five percent of US Dentist can claim.

    People from around the world come to Lorenzana Dental Center because his credentials make a difference; Dr. Lorenzana studied Prosthodontics for three years at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the Medical University of South Carolina. He went on to graduate as a member of the honorary dental society, Omicron Kappa Upsilon, and received his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Baylor College of Dentistry, where he was also a professor in Prosthodontics for ten years. The American Board of Prosthodontics also requires stringent recertification every eight years which keeps him abreast of the latest technology.

    As an American citizen born in El Salvador, Dr. Lorenzana has the mindset of an American and also practiced for seven years in Highland Park, a tony suburb of Dallas, Texas. He is a respected researcher and speaker, has visited facilities all over the worlds and prides himself that he uses the same standards, advanced techniques, materials and equipment that you would find in the United States.

    See the video interview.

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    Has Medical Tourism Gone Mainstream?

    A new reality show entitled The Health and Wellness Travel Show takes men around the world to explore alternative treatments in a variety of exotic locations. The show will take a look at a variety of ancient and modern treatments from a variety of practitioners ranging from traditional doctors to shamans. This premise has been given the Hollywood spin and dramatized for television since medical tourism connects patients to accredited and highly-trained medical doctors. However, the fact that this show even exists makes the case that global healthcare has become mainstream and the concept of leaving home for a cure is becoming commonplace.

    What do you think?

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    Global Healthcare Is Not Just About The Cost

    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.

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    medical tourism companies in usa

    In a growing world of globalization, many and many medical tourism companies are emerging in Medical tourism industry outside U.S.A. It’s very important that one works with a medical tourism company based in U.S.A primarily due to some concerns listed below:

    • Hard to track and verify the credentials of the company. It could be just a pure website based company with no track or well maintained process/procedure in place.
    • Customer Reliablity programs such as Better Business Bureau doesnt track companies outside U.S.A and hence its very to understand the trustworthy of these organization.
    • Companies based outside U.S.A are NOT governed by and adhere to stringent U.S. privacy laws
    • Legal recourses outside in U.S.A might be limited to none.

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    Three Things to Know about your Doctor

    A recent Deloitte report on medical tourism predicted that outbound medical travel from the US could reach upwards of 1.6 million patients by 2012, with sustainable annual growth of 35 percent. If you are one of the many potential patients seeking high quality, affordable care outside of the US, you should know three things about your provider before boarding the plane: who they are, how and where they practice, and what are their results and outcomes.
    The first question, who they are, probes the provider’s education, qualifications, experience and reputation. Most of this information is usually accessible on the doctor’s website and can be verified on accreditation organization websites or professional association resources. Check to see whether the practitioner is board certified by a reputable US or foreign specialty board and if they are a member of the national specialty society or association.

    Secondly, ask how and where they practice. For example, plastic surgeons and dentists are likely to practice and operate in private clinics or ambulatory surgery facilities removed from a hospital setting. Some may even own the clinic and they should divulge that information to you. If something goes wrong during a procedure, make sure you understand how and where you would get emergency care, how you would be transported there, and who would pay for it. In addition, unlike more and more hospital facilities that are being accredited by the Joint Commission International, (click for a list of accredited hospitals) the organization responsible for making sure hospitals adhere to acceptable practices and procedures, independent, free-standing facilities frequently are not similarly examined or accredited.

    Finally, and perhaps the most difficult information to find, is the outcome and results of a given procedure. Ask ” How many of these operations do you do in a week, a month or a year ?” Also, inquire about the number of cases that result in complications, the need for revision surgery or significant morbidity i.e. something that unexpectedly doesn’t work the way it should after surgery, or postoperative death. Most doctors, including those in the US, will be unable to give you an accurate answer because they don’t keep good records or have an unreliable system to keep track of results. Sometimes the best you can do is to talk to someone who has had a similar procedure.

    Getting information about a doctor and his or her results in not easy, wherever they practice. The more information you know, however, the better you can determine whether surgery away from home makes sense.

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    Healthcare Open Enrollment Period

    It’s that time of year again… open enrollment for your health benefit plans. Most Americans are frustrated because their healthcare care bill is increasing… yet again… and this is exacerbated by the global recession and the confusion surrounding healthcare reform. Colorado is projected to see a healthcare increase of 14.4% in 2010 – slightly higher than other states due to the large number of small businesses in the state.

    Large employers with 100 or more employees will often receive utilization and cost data and are in a much better position to manage their health care cost through aggressive plan management strategies and tactics. Small employers (and individuals) generally do not receive utilization and cost data plus often rely on the pooling of risk since they have a higher probability of costing the system more than the dollars they contribute through premium payments – since “everybody pays for a few”.

    The misperception in healthcare is that cost and pricing for the same clinical procedure is relatively the same from provider to provider yet clinical costs vary significantly from zip code to zip code, state to state, and country to country.

    Domestic and international medical tourism introduces transparency and helps to lower healthcare cost. There are scores of articles on lowering your out-of-pocket healthcare cost in 2011 that may help marginally.  However, MedVoy is in a position to help individuals, employers and employees save real money on healthcarecontact us for details.

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    Testimonials in Global Healthcare

    A few months ago, we blogged about finding a reputable medical tourism facilitator in How do I find the best medical tourism company?

    Another important factor is… a patient testimonial. Does the medical tourism facilitator have reference from past customers who were delighted by both the service provided by the company AND the doctor?

    If not, you may want to think twice….

    Anne Marie from Virginia

    Looking in the mirror I saw sagging cheeks and droopy eyelids and I knew it was time to do something to reverse the “old” look. I also knew I wanted to find a surgeon who was the best with no regard to where he or she was located.

    After searching the world, I was lucky enough to find, with the help of MedVoy, Dr. Edmond Khoury. He specializes in only faces so I knew he was performing the kind of face procedures I needed daily, not monthly. My experience with Dr. Khoury was incredible. Minimum pain, little downtime, totally natural look and, best of all, no one knows I had anything done! Friends and family just know I look great. Thanks to MedVoy for helping me find this fine surgeon.


    Anne M.

    To read more, please visit: http://mycommunity.in/medvoy/testimonials.php

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