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Opportunities in Health Tourism Learnings from International Experience By B K Ong General Manager (India), Singapore Airlines An overview Medical Tourism- Patients going to a different country for either urgent or elective medical procedures WHO defines it as Medical care

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opportunities in health tourism learnings from international experience

Opportunities in Health TourismLearnings from International Experience

By

B K Ong

General Manager (India), Singapore Airlines

an overview
An overview
  • Medical Tourism- Patients going to a different country for either urgent or elective medical procedures
    • WHO defines it as
      • Medical care
      • Sickness & well-being
      • Rehabilitation & recuperation
    • Is fast becoming a worldwide, billion dollar industry
    • Low cost travel has taken the industry beyond the wealthy and desperate

This is not a recent phenomenon, people have been traveling to far off lands to improve their health for centuries

countries promoting medical tourism
Countries promoting Medical Tourism

Example-South Africa specializes in medical safaris-visit the country for a safari, with a stopover for plastic surgery, a nose job and a chance to see lions and elephants

the right move singapore
The Right Move- Singapore
  • SingaporeMedicine
    • A multi-agency government initiative involving Singapore Tourism Board, the Economic Development Board & International Enterprise Singapore
    • Aimed at developing Singapore into one of Asia’s leading destinations for healthcare
    • Positioning Singapore more than a center for the treatment of illness
      • Destination where visitors can select from wide range of services to enhance their health & well-being
      • Includes health screening, medical wellness, aesthetic & anti-ageing programmes
the right move singapore5
The Right Move- Singapore
  • SingaporeMedicine
    • Brought healthcare providers & travel agents together
      • To develop suitable healthcare cum travel packages
another example thailand
Another Example - Thailand
  • Thailand
    • Attracts maximum Americans & western expatriates across South East Asia
    • Bangkok, a center for medical tourism
      • Its International Medical Center offers services in 26 languages and recognizes cultural & religious dietary restrictions
    • The medical tour companies that serve Thailand often put emphasis on the vacation aspects
      • Offering post recovery resort stays
    • Is successful in tapping the health tourism market
      • Good infrastructure
      • Aggressive international marketing in conjunction with tourism authority
india an attractive healthcare destination
India-An Attractive Healthcare Destination
  • Government & private sector studies in India estimate that medical tourism could bring between 1-2 billion USD into the country by 2012
  • Its unique offerings include
    • Cost benefits
    • Holistic medicinal services
    • Internationally qualified & experienced specialists
    • Language is another plus point- English widely spoken
    • No waiting lists
indian medical tourism
Indian Medical Tourism
  • The caveats
    • India is emerging as an attractive, affordable destination for healthcare BUT there are some constraints for e.g.
      • Infrastructure/facilities need to be improved
      • Staff in attendance need to be better trained to serve
      • Image of India needs to be enhanced
      • Overall service needs to be improved

Much needs to be done

indian medical tourism9
Indian Medical Tourism
  • Need of the hour
    • Uniform price band in major specialties to be made public
      • This would facilitate foreign patients seeking treatments in India
    • Accreditation of hospitals
    • Undertake international marketing campaign
      • Establish Indian healthcare as safe & trustworthy
      • Road shows, exhibitions in targeted countries
    • Streamline immigration process for medical visitors
indian medical tourism10
Indian Medical Tourism
  • Need of the hour
    • Develop Joint Ventures with like minded companies for exchange of expertise & knowledge
      • Collaboration for training of hospital staff
      • Indian specialists as consultants abroad etc.
    • Development of high quality convalescing homes – good after care
    • Air capacity allowed to be increased
      • Patients should not wait for weeks to avail treatment