Medical tourism matchmaking involves identifying the right services matching the requirements and objectives of a medical traveler in terms of cost, quality and processing time. Dr Prem Jagyasi, in a recent medical tourism conference in Euroevents, coined the term ‘medical tourism matchmaking’. As a veteran in medical and wellness tourism industry, he deeply realizes the value of matchmaking. He feels efficient match making is integral in the medical tourism business.
Given the diverse requirements of medical travelers and the wide range of services available, finding the right match is not easy. Simply referring a patient to a doctor/hospital may not work exactly the manner desired by the patient. It demands insightful thinking and planning which can only be gained through knowledge and experience. Medical tourism matchmaking has immense prospects as a standalone business or a vital service of the facilitators, agencies and related organizations.
Efficient Medical Tourism Matchmaking is Crucial To Take Your Business To The Next Level- Insights From Dr Prem Jagyasi
Why Medical Tourism Matchmaking?
Liliana, 65 was desperately looking for a knee-replacement procedure. Going by the appointment schedule in New Orleans, she will have to wait for 2 months and perhaps another 1 or 2 for fixing the operation date. Looking for a quick solution for restricted mobility, she decided to consider options beyond the border consulting a medical tourism company that helped her go through the process successfully.
In the first instance, it might seem to be a very simple process. But this was not so. She had heart problems and high blood pressure. She had special preferences too. Therefore, many things needed to be considered to get near-to-perfect matching services.
On the other hand, Sophia also needing the same knee replacement surgery wants to spend a relaxing wellness-oriented vacation after the surgery in a destination not far from her home in California. She prefers Costa Rica or some Caribbean Islands. In both the cases, though the basic treatment requirement is the same but there are other secondary requirements that vary a lot. Today, people are looking for a combined medical and wellness tourism services for a more pleasurable experience along with getting the job done.
Lots of providers are out in the market with varied offerings. Prospective medical tourists are spoilt with choices. Given the varied requirements of medical travelers, one fixed package never works for all. Here, efficient matchmaking service becomes important. It is a special trait possessed by very few. If you are smart at this, you are ahead of your peers.
How competition and personalized services are driving medical tourism matchmaking?
Sometimes, saving money or getting better quality healthcare is not enough for patients. They look for something more that can give them a sense of satisfaction and help them recover fast. Customized medical services and personalized care can work best in such situations, which usually the public healthcare systems of most of the developed countries do not offer. However, medical tourism can come up as one of the excellent solutions for this issue.
Medical Tourism destinations place a premium on personalization
Leading medical tourism destinations like India, Thailand, Costa Rica, Mexico, Malaysia and others have the necessary setup that can keep the entire process easy, smooth and streamlined. The idea is to ease the process for foreign patients who know nothing about the destination country. The doctor-patient ratio in such nations is also very impressive. As there is no long waiting list, medical professionals can spend enough time with each of their clients, know their problems in detail, identify with their requirements and finally come up with personalized healthcare services for them.
Like the doctor-patient ratio, the staff to patient ratio maintained by the hospitals and other healthcare organizations in these countries is also quite low. Nurses working in these medical facilities are very friendly and efficient. They receive proper training to manage their tasks successfully. They can easily provide professional attention and care to foreign patients, even after their treatment.
Technology also plays a key role in providing personalized care to overseas patients. Most of the hospitals and clinics present in various medical tourism destinations are equipped with highly sophisticated equipment and use the latest technologies. It helps medical practitioners offer the right treatment to the patients as per their requirements.
Competition between destinations is an advantage to the traveler
The most important benefit of medical tourism is its affordability. While the medical expenses incurred by the public healthcare systems around the world are out of people’s reach, several countries offering medical tourism are coming up with a number of cost-effective solutions. Moreover, with the ever-increasing competition in the thriving industry, most of the medical service providers are trying to keep the costs at the lowest point and the quality at the higher end, which adds to the advantage of the patients.
Medical tourism has opened up a completely new industry. As the healthcare costs in developed nations are rising dramatically, more and more people around the world are opting for medical tourism. Though it was limited to a few countries like India, Thailand, Malaysia, etc. at first, the scenario has changed a lot. In order to compete in the global marketplace and gain huge profit from the boom, several other nations like Mexico, Costa Rica, Taiwan, and Singapore have joined the industry and the number is still growing. As a result, it has become very important for every medical tourism destination to offer quality services at unbelievably low prices in order to fetch the maximum number of foreign patients.
While the countries are trying hard to sustain the highly competitive market, patients are enjoying amazing low-cost high-quality services. This setup contributes to the advancement of the entire medical tourism industry significantly and hence, the business is growing at a 30% annual rate around the world.
A quick glance at likely costs
Here is how the foreign competition is driving the costs of healthcare down for patients (costs can vary):
- A Cardiac Bypass surgery that costs $144,000 in the U.S. can be availed at $25,000 in Costa Rica, $24,000 in Thailand, $24,000 in Korea, $20,000 in Mexico, $13,500 in Singapore, and only $8,500 in India
- S. patients need to spend around $50,000 for a Hip Resurfacing surgery. But it costs $20,900 in Korea, $16,000 in Thailand, $12,800 in Mexico, $12,100 in Singapore, $12,000 in Costa Rica, and as little as $8,000 in India
- The average cost of Rhinoplasty is $8,000 in the U.S, while it costs approximately $5,500 in Costa Rica, $4,165 in Mexico, $3,500 in India, $3,400 in Thailand, and only $2,700 in Singapore.
Why matchmaking is at the forefront of Medical Tourism business?
Patients or customers are looking to satisfy multiple health and well-being objects in one go. Investment in a medical tourism trip is substantial, therefore their attitude is to get the best of everything possible within their means. The needs and wants of modern-day medical tourists of course vary with their demographics and spending capacity.
Medical tourism facilitators, agencies and companies can’t help but give special attention to this emerging diverse customer demands. Smart and efficient matchmaking services can substantially contribute to enhanced patient experience escalating the business prospects of the facilitator.
How emerging demands are driving medical tourism matchmaking?
Going by the medical tourism trends, one could see the requirements of medical travelers are no longer restricted to a few specified treatments as used to be a decade ago. Demands of medical travelers are becoming diverse. They are seeking innovative groundbreaking treatments like stem cell therapy, genomic medicine, regenerative medicine, immunotherapy, organ transplantation, precision medicine, etc. More diverse the demand more complex is the medical tourism facilitator’s job.
Some destinations are extensively marketing breakthroughs of innovative treatments to attract global patients where these treatments are yet to be approved or legally prohibited. Fake claims are also doing rounds. There have been rapid advancements in reproductive medicine since the last few decades.
Many assisted reproductive techniques are either restricted or totally banned in many countries. Often, there is no adequate data to support the claims of success rate in various treatments. Legal prohibitions may not allow a medical traveler avail a particular treatment. Cryofreezing, egg donation, surrogacy, ART for LGBT are not permitted in many countries. Efficient matchmaking becomes more relevant in this situation else chances are high for a medical traveler to be misguided.
How efficient matchmaking gets you the right provider?
Selecting the destination or provider according to the requirements of medical travelers needs careful deliberation. It depends on different factors – patient’s health condition, availability of the treatment and the accepted level of expertise, cost, success rate, healthcare standard and regulation in force.
Are medical travelers in the best position to make a correct judgment based on information and knowledge gathered from the net?So many things remain hidden.But experienced facilitators/agencies/companies know them like the back of their hands. A patient is most unlikely to be fully aware of his/her health status and whether the selected provider/destination would be able to cater to his/her requirements.
Clinics and hospitals of medical tourism destinations offer a bouquet of treatments/services but are all those at par with international standards? Are those services/treatments rightly priced? Commonly, the popularity of medical tourism destinations is based on the expertise of specific treatments. Columbia is popular for aesthetic surgeries, Ukraine and Georgia for IVF and surrogacy, India for orthopedics, organ transplantation and other complex treatments, Thailand for cosmetic surgeries and so on.
While many clinics/hospitals in these destinations provide an array of services, how as a foreigner would you be able to decide which destination/provider’s offerings can match your requirements? A specialized matchmaking service can help in getting the best deal. Majority of licensed and accredited medical tourism facilitators maintain strong networking with the best of the class facilities in different destinations. They are the ones who can find the right match for you.
How the matchmaking services of facilitators work?
Simply put, sending the right person to the right place sums up the matchmaking service. When a prospective medical tourist approaches a medical tourism facilitator or company, he/she has to share the details of the disease and other related information. After a thorough assessment of the patient’s condition and requirement, it is the facilitator’s responsibility to fix the right facility suiting all requirements of the patient that too within a budget.
For example, a patient wishes to avail a specific treatment in a high-end facility in a destination too far from his/her country. It might not be feasible for him/her given the current clinical condition. On-board medical experts of the facilitator company would be able to provide better options taking care of all requirements.
Not only in the treatment part, efficient match making service count in all-round support service, post treatment recovery, rehabilitation and travel. It is more of a balancing act between the needs and wants of a patient. A patient may not be recommended for long distance touring activities during the recovery period even if he/she wishes so. Expertise in matchmaking service would help in finding the right solution.
What things should you consider in medical tourism matchmaking?
From the patient’s perspective:
- Patient’s home country
- Problem/illness to be addressed
- Evaluation of the patient’s clinical condition
- Patient’s preferences – nearby or faraway destination
- Patient’s budget
- Patient’s cultural background
- Language compatibility of the patient
- Other requirements regarding concierge service, recovery options, travel and tourism.
- Accommodation preferences
In finding the right provider:
- Quality treatment/service providers meeting the patient’s requirements
- Success rate of the specific treatment with a specific provider
- Legal support of the particular treatment in the destination country.
- Best priced package and the included features
- Distance between the destination and home country permitting the traveling distance of the patient.
- Provisions to meet the cultural and religious needs of patients.
- Legal formalities to take care of in destination countries for a specific treatment.
From the perspective of the medical tourism facilitator, agency, or provider:
- Good understanding of the patient
- Anticipating patient’s unsaid needs
- Medical tourism journey mapping
- Curating and personalizing medical tourism packages
- Adding elements of flexibility
- Building strong relationships
What are the quintessential medical tourism matchmaking services?
Quintessential medical tourism services rest on:
- Empathetic and humane communication
- Creating delightful patient experience surpassing their expectations
- Get insights on patient behavior through efficient data management
- Enhance patient loyalty
- Enhancing the brand image
- Increasing team efficiency
- Work on customer acquisition and retention
- Improving word of mouth marketing
- Improve your online and local reputation
- Expand your knowledge base. Be updated.
What is the future of medical tourism matchmaking services?
Medical tourism facilitation business will rest on matchmaking services as this boils down to everything in facilitating a successful medical tourism venture for a patient. As the volume of medical travelers continues to grow there will be more emerging destinations and providers in the market. Roughly, 30-50 million medical tourists worldwide are seeking beyond the border medical treatments.
A survey by MTA (Medical Tourism Association) states 74% of medical travelers prefer the help of a medical tourism facilitator to organize their abroad medical trip. Established facilitators handling voluminous international patients will have to focus more on efficient patient-provider matchmaking to improve their bottom line.
How AI-driven analytics will help in efficient medical tourism matchmaking?
Established facilitators handling a huge number of international patients and networking with global providers, matchmaking will be a prerequisite. Providers worldwide are offering countless treatment options in varied packages. Artificial Intelligence will help in finding the matching services by filtering the patient’s choices.
Matchmaking is turning out to be a service differentiator in the medical tourism business. It is high time facilitators focus more on this to acquire and retain customers. However, one cannot expect this service to be free from criticism. Experience builds foresightedness. Better you foresee the requirements of medical travelers, more efficient you would be in matchmaking.
Get Dr Prem’s proposal on Medical Tourism Matchmaking
Dr. Prem’s innovative Medical Tourism Matchmaking strategy has fetched massive success in the medical tourism facilitation business. Dr. Prem has traveled to 65+ countries and offered medical tourism consultation to many global startups and organizations. With his vast expertise and industry insights, he creates a revolutionary blueprint to foster effective connections between patients and providers. His innovative strategies leverage cutting-edge technology to create the highest level of personalization, meeting patients’ needs to their satisfaction.