The pandemic has shown that opportunity in the medical tourism markets may not be sustainable; in fact, the markets are vulnerable.
When thinking about health, dental & medical tourism, most of us think of someone traveling from one location to consume services in another location. Health tourism, including medical tourism has so far been thought of as people traveling.
With the pandemic, not only was travel disrupted, preventing people from getting from one place to another, but providers, (hospitals, doctors, clinics) were diverted to care for COVID-19 patients or were shut down! Medical tourism markets were profoundly decreased. And travel disruptions continue to interfere the ability of people to travel easily from one location to another.
Is there a way to re-imagine health tourism
While health, dental & medical tourism markets before the pandemic grew opportunistically as the result of patients and consumers eager to travel and find providers elsewhere for various reasons, it is now clear that these markets are vulnerable. But is there a way to re-imagine health tourism to both expand them and make them more sustainable? We believe there is!
One of the most compelling examples of this is telehealth & telemedicine, which have grown tremendously as a result of the pandemic. For decades, x-ray images have been taken in one location, transmitted to another location for review and analysis, and then the reports sent back to the doctor in the original location to guide clinical treatments.
This is an example of health tourism, although the patient never leaves his/her first location. An even simpler example of this type of health tourism is the way video conferencing (e.g., Zoom, Teams and Google Meets) has crept into every part of our day-to-day lives, making remote work, family visits and – yes – provider visits much more accessible, affordable.
Another form of health tourism is when the provider in one location delivers services to consumers in another location. Here, rather than the patient or consumer traveling from his/her home location, the provider travels to another location – perhaps even establishing a clinic or center in another location where consumers can more easily access the health, dental or medical services. This type of remote, destination service expands the concept of international health, dental or medical services is also cross-border trade in services, and should be considered a form of health tourism.
These simple examples make clear that the markets for health, dental & medical tourism should be considered far more broadly than one patient traveling across borders to receive care.
Reimagining health tourism will allow destinations, providers and businesses to expand their markets in a more sustainable and profitable manner.
There are seismic shifts occurring in the international healthcare markets, with new governmental, intermediary, and foreign providers stepping forward with innovations, which may be better aligned with the post-pandemic demand for, and supply of healthcare services.
Join us to discuss the effects of the recovery on the 29th September, for “From Opportunity to Sustainability” an Online Presentation with Elizabeth Ziemba, President, Medical Tourism Training, Inc
September 29th, 5 – 6 PM GMT, 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM EDT
Learn more here
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