Medical Tourism

Embracing the Resurgence and Future of Medical Tourism

Jonathan Edelheit
Medical Tourism Association
Medical Tourism

Seventeen years ago, I founded the Medical Tourism Association, and I believe we are now experiencing the most exciting times in the industry. With the sector's resurgence, we are witnessing the entry of innovative and sophisticated players in the market.

The pandemic has served as a global reset for medical tourism, and not all old players have returned to the game. This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. The industry needed a pause, providing an opportunity for change and growth in a positive direction. New entrants to the market bring with them significant investments, fresh strategies, and novel ways of thinking. It's quite invigorating to see industry veterans coming out of hibernation, investing more than ever, and expanding their businesses.

Today, we have new channels available to reach both consumers and referral organizations (buyers). Our organization is heavily investing in consumer education and awareness this year, in ways we have never done before. The MTA's Medical Tourism Moonshot initiative aims to eliminate barriers and challenges that hinder the success of organizations in the sector. The new channels of communication, engagement, and emerging technologies are truly transformational for the industry.

We have significantly expanded our editorial and marketing teams, employing innovative techniques, state-of-the-art technology, and 17+ years of understanding how patients search for medical care. Leveraging our proprietary algorithm, we are launching new consumer education campaigns, which emphasize the benefits of working with accredited organizations (Global Healthcare Accreditation) and certified professionals, such as Certified Medical Travel Professionals.

We are initiating new consumer and buyer campaigns worldwide. As part of our efforts to grow the buyer (referral organizations) segment in the medical tourism marketplace, we will host the first American healthcare conference (HEALTHCARE REVOLUTION) focused on medical tourism adoption by self-funded employers and payers in May, expecting about 1,500 attendees.

The industry now has a unique opportunity to do things differently, set higher standards and goals across all organizations working with medical tourists. One area to focus on is investing in training and accreditation to establish a gold standard in the industry, ultimately optimizing business outcomes and revenue. Global Healthcare Accreditation has been assisting companies worldwide in optimizing their international patient programs. We recommend that facilitators, hospitals, doctors, and referral organizations invest in their staff to maximize success. Programs will not flourish without investment in the staff managing international patient services. The outdated mindset of not investing in staff training and expecting them to figure things out leads to subpar business results.

When was the last time you had a third party evaluate and audit your processes?

Improvement is impossible without understanding what it looks like. It's heartening to hear how well Global Healthcare Accredited organizations have fared during and after the pandemic. Healthcare consumers seek exceptional experiences and trustworthy providers; the organizations that understand this are the most successful.

The future of medical tourism holds tremendous opportunities. Don't waste them, and don't do things the same way as before, or you risk being left behind. The investment you make in yourself and your organization will determine your success in the industry. Allocate your time, training, marketing, business relationships, and finances wisely, and you will see the return.

Contact Jonathan Edelhet

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