Industry News

It's called Medical Tourism, not Medical Tourism

Industry News

(forgive the Donald Rumsfeld ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’ pun)

I’ve spent a lot of time skimming through the forums, thinking about how to grow Cambria and I continue to find people calling our industry ‘medical tourism.’ …and I have no problem with that.

But what does stick out is people talking about things like physician networks, asking ‘how many hospitals are in your network’ and trying to adapt quality of care measurements to us. I think we are concentrating on the wrong metrics.

There are over 20,000 physicians worldwide. It’s unrealistic to imagine having them all within your network and let alone having a working relationship with them. A similar scenario applies to hospitals worldwide. Patient satisfaction scores are relevant, but do not describe the same thing they do in medicine. Quality measures in medicine do not apply to this industry. Sure, if an international hospitals wants to continue receiving international patients long-term, they will keep these quality metrics high but to a facilitator, they do not apply.

A facilitator is in the tourism industry; medicine is a sub-specialty. The drama in Middle East has more impact on a facilitators role than the effect of health reform on the U.S. One can adapt to Obama-care (especially where there’s years to adapt) while conflict in Iraq may completely shut down medical tourism to surrounding countries. Not to discount quality of care metrics; concentrating on tourism measures will provide more realistic benefits.

We should be more concerned with tourism trends such as the short term effect of Japans earthquake on medical tourism in the Philippines. Effectively, respectfully, we are tourism consultants with a medical specialty and an industry with a TON of growth potential. So get out there; make those connections; market the industry and lets make a great impact on global healthcare! Good luck!

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