Medical Tourism

Expanding Medical Tourism in Asia: Tackling the Challenges Limiting Growth

Medical Tourism

The medical tourism market across Asia has been expanding in the last decade, millions of patients traveling to Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia every year. With a growth rate climbing from 15% to 25% within a few years, the region is pushing their frontiers and creating more health payers and consumers around the world.  

As the pandemic years moved past, health consumers and payers around the world began to reconsider some of these centers of excellence and opt to receive healthcare many miles away from home in Asia. With the promise of huge cost savings, quality patient experience, and positive clinical outcomes, the trend is running full steam ahead.  

However, the markets in Asia have been plagued by many challenges in achieving their true potential and profitability. In a recent survey by the Medical Tourism Association, analyzing the challenges in the industry across several regions, stakeholders in Asia pointed out key factors that undermine growth of the industry.  

The top three challenges identified by stakeholders in the region include:  

  • Marketing challenges (28%)
  • Lack of patient Leads (21%)
  • Lack of enough patient referrals (16%)

This triad represents the major impedance to growth across Asia despite having some of the best and most advanced medical institutions.  

Marketing Challenges

With rapid tech advancements sweeping through the globe, communication gaps are constantly closing in. Healthcare providers often do not realize the potential of digital ecosystems in boosting or reducing destination attractiveness.  

Asia is known for its robust tech developments, however, limited understanding of the nuance of the international patient population may limit growth for some providers and organizations. Knowledge of cultural sensitivity and diversity, appropriate communication methods, as well as availability of strong networks to ensure continuity of care may be missing marketing links for some organizations.  

Lack of Patient Leads

While many medical travel programs see considerable inbound travel, the number is still below their capacity for international patients. Respondents across Thailand, India, and Malaysia in the survey pointed to this as a crucial factor limiting growth, revealing the wide gap between marketing strategies and patient conversion.  

Flaws in the marketing process and weak conversion strategies may explain a lack of patient leads for many such organizations. Further, absence of strategic partnerships with industry key players and stakeholders may leave healthcare organizations operating in isolation and unaware of market dynamics and demands needed to reshape their marketing capacities.  

Lack of Enough Patient Referrals

This challenge cuts across most regions and represents a large disconnect between many healthcare providers and referral organizations. Even with the best surgeons and the most advanced treatment and diagnostic equipment, a healthcare organization may not reach its true potential in regard to patient volume simply because the patients do not know who or where they are.  

Many healthcare organizations in Asia have the capacity to provide care to U.S. consumers but lack access to referral organizations to connect them to the large pool of patients with pent-up demand for care.  

How can these problems be solved?

The Medical Tourism Moonshot is a turnkey initiative that tackles these challenges and helps healthcare providers and medical tourism businesses to rebuild their strategies to optimize patient volumes.  

The Medical Tourism Moonshot brings the long-needed solutions to these problems, leveraging a network of major stakeholders and healthcare leaders. The Moonshot brings together a wide range of strategies, including the Global Provider Network, which pools healthcare payers, providers, and referral organizations into one system where they can network and collaborate easily

This Moonshot also opens access to a plethora of medical tourism training programs, certifications, and resources to help stakeholders to access global best practices and knowledge of what works in the industry.  

The Asian markets can access the Moonshot, particularly the Global Provider Network not only to improve access to buyers and payers, but also expand their access to high-level industry resources, training in rebuilding their business models and strategies, and critical partnerships to scale up their programs.  

The Network provides swift access to providers as well as health consumers. Patients who require complex heart surgeries, for example, know exactly where to find providers that can offer that without jumping from hospital to hospital, while providers that offer world-class services across several specialties know exactly where their patients are with a push of a button.

Through GPN, Providers gain access to the largest pool of referral organizations, who effectively manage and refer large groups of health payers. This ensures patient referrals are faster than ever and the patient base grows geometrically.

The Moonshot also offers unparalleled access to best practices in marketing, especially digital marketing solutions. The project unleashes ways industry players can leverage digital solutions to make certain processes easy. Medical travel processes, such as payments, communication with clients, provider-provider collaborations, and networking between industry players, such as referral organizations and providers, have slowed down growth for many providers, and undermined the patient experience.  

GPN helps industry players introduce new gateways to the global market, adopting right tech platforms and digital tools to improve patient access and communication, and create a strong network between providers and referral organizations.

Global Healthcare Accreditation and the Medical Tourism Market in Asia

Global Healthcare Accreditation is a leading authority in medical travel accreditation and standards. Led by a team of industry experts and healthcare leaders, GHA has continued to reshape the industry, helping medical travel organizations to redefine standards of care and provide excellent patient experience.  

The GHA provides third-party evaluation of medical travel programs to demonstrate their commitment to not only a high quality of healthcare delivery, but also a commitment to safety and patient experience.  

Accreditation is one of the drivers of medical tourism in the new normal, as it gives patients and plan sponsors a whole new level of trust, which has become one of the key currencies in the medical tourism industry. GHA offers these providers access to high-level training, resources, and collaborations to help them attain industry standards and achieve accreditation.  

GHA offers the GHA Accreditation for Medical Travel, which is one of the major benchmarks of provider quality in the industry. The Accreditation for Medical Travel provides a comprehensive evaluation of all the stages of the medical travel continuum, and not just the treatment phase. This ensures patients and health payers are guaranteed a safe and top-notch service throughout the entire continuum of care.  

GHA also offers the Certified Medical Travel Professional, a certification that demonstrates expertise and knowledge of the industry best practices and that upskills individuals and organizations in delivering the highest level of care for the international patient.  

These are the tools of the new normal of medical travel and are crucial levers in achieving growth and optimizing the potential of your medical tourism program.  

To learn more about GHA, click here.  

Learn about how you can become a Certified Medical Tourism Professional→
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