Medical Tourism is experiencing enormous growth in the present era. However, several stumbling blocks are not allowing this industry to achieve its maximum potential. Dr. Prem Jagyasi, the renowned Medical Tourism Consultant and an extensive researcher comes up with his valuable suggestions to alleviate the concerns that may arise regarding Medical Tourism.
The ancient Greeks, Europeans and Egyptians have been traveling for centuries in the name of health. They journeyed to hot springs, baths and remote retreats during 18th and 19th century hoping to cure ailments. Now, tens of millions of uninsured or underinsured patients are boarding planes not for the typical face-lift but for the value in serious procedures such as hip replacements and sophisticated heart surgeries.
It’s no wonder that in this modern era that age-old concept transformed to the Medical Tourism industry. Medical Tourism is on the threshold of a dramatic boom. If Medical Tourism is to live up to this promise, several barriers must first be swept away.
Lack of Awareness:
Awareness is the most vital tool in today’s world necessary for proper decision making in life; however, various poorly researched steps lead people to getting distracted from the main focus of the exact concept. The concept and benefits of “Medical Tourism” are poorly presented. The knowledge is being mostly passed on by word-of-mouth or by internet-savvy individuals; the majority of it remains unreliable or fraudulent. Ignorant people continue dropping baseless comments on website blogs which seem to be enough to divert the populace to be aware of not only the pros, but more importantly the cons of medical tourism. Hence it’s highly necessary to put forth the authorized, authentic and well researched meaning. People need to know that Medical Tourism is just not tourism or trip, the core is high quality medical treatment with the added advantage of tourism. Industry players involved in medical tourism should focus on right objectives to ensure proper awareness is in place.
Lack of Legalization:
The Government authority of the developed world should term Medical Tourism as the legal and formal option. The people traveling from the UK and the US are to be supported and compensated. All of the leaders associated with the Medical Tourism industry should come together to make this concept a formal, acceptable and affordable industry. People should be aware of official and responsible associations dedicated to Medical Tourism related affairs. Though many medical associations and government authorities have started recognizing medical tourism as a solution, which is certainly a feather in the cap of the medical tourism industry, the medical tourism industry still seeks formal and legal approval from authorities.
Lack of transparency and quality:
Transparency is very much essential to make it a successful drive. There should not be any hidden cost or expense in the process of Medical Tourism. In the developed countries health and medical regulatory laws ensure quality. There is little way of knowing an overseas facility or physician has the same quality. Internet claims certainly are highly dubious. We need to remove this skepticism, and identify, evaluate and foster quality of care available abroad, best quality standards should be presented by the proper certified and accredited Medical Tourism providers and facilitators. The pre-operative and post-operative issues, future technological development, proper certification or accreditation are to be taken care. Price structure policy must be expressed with transparency by healthcare organizations and medical tourism facilitators.
As the industry is grows medical tourism facilitators are mushrooming. Though the role of medical facilitators is vital in many cases, a facilitator with little information could spoil the growth of the industry. Facilitators should follow guidelines suggested by associations, and such as the Medical Tourism Association develop a strict adherence plan to ensure safety, benefits and convenience for Medical Tourism. The ultimate objective of a Medical Tourism facilitator should be to provide the best value for patients under best quality practice. A certification from the MTA could also aid them in achieving these objectives.
Various healthcare organizations are jumping to attract international patients, but their understanding about patient’s cultural, ethnic or regional background remain unfocused. Healthcare organizations should be aware about ethnic and regional backgrounds along with patients’ healthcare histories. A little knowledge about cultural background would go a long way in helping them to satisfy patients’ personal needs.
Medical Tourism is the industry which involves the Ministry of Health, the Tourism Board and a country’s Economy. In many countries, government authorities are trying to get maximum business, jumping to capture a piece of the pie of this industry without any regard for the ethical norms and regulations. The residents are to be given priority; affordable healthcare services are to be provided and accessibility and availability are to begin in their home country for their residents first. Hence, government authorities should identify and promote certain medical tourism services, which are over produced by healthcare providers in their region.
The government should identify organizations which are capable of offering international care, and only certain services should be allowed by such organization for international patients.
Lack of Education:
There is not currently sufficient education available regarding the Globalization of Healthcare. Regional healthcare crisis and development and the evaluation and monitoring of Medical Tourism related solutions are the important facets that need empowerment. Regional education that covers culture, language and healthcare ethics are to be imparted and educational events to be performed to instill the notion of Medical Tourism perception among all.
Set of connections:
A professional base needs to be established for bilateral communication/networking within health authorities. There are many B2B providers, health authorities and insurance companies, but there is a need of more business to consumer relations communication, B2C events and interaction and platform for non-commercial networking. Many Medical Tourism events are appearing on calendars, but not many are focused on industry related issues and challenges. Medical tourism is seeking a platform from which regular connections could be established to educate the consumer.
Two- Way Deal:
Medical Tourism should have mutual means of agreement between organizations and governments in order to develop healthcare exchange resource programs to compensate and aid in setting up authorities to assist in economic development and in the prevention of a brain drain system. Medical tourism should always be developed as two-way street, and all healthcare exchange programs should be in place.
Let there be light, just not flight.
About Dr Prem Jagyasi Dr Prem Jagyasi is world renowned Health Tourism / Medical Tourism Consultant. He provides exceptional, extensive & high-end consultancy services to Healthcare Organizations, Medical Travel Facilitators, Governments and Semi-Government Authorities through his office based in Dubai HealthCare City. He is serving Medical Tourism Association (A Non-Profit Organization) as a Chief Strategic Officer, and is responsible to develop, execute and monitor marketing, brand and communication strategies. He is also closely involved with MTA team to create, protect & foster industry standards, quality of care projects & strategic developments. He has strong interest in Health Tourism industry, and has developed innovative, cultivable & productive strategies to boost global healthcare industry. He has defined several industry related terms. He is invited in several international congresses as speaker & chairperson in numerous national & international healthcare congresses.