Academic medical centers in the United States have been at the top of the global healthcare travel market for years, but there is new medical tourism competition threatening their exclusive position.
Pam Frank, the Chief International Officer at Minnesota International Medicine, has been an observer and researcher involved in global healthcare for years. In this interview, Ms. Frank discusses the historical perspective and future of the U.S. position in international medical travel.
“Academic medical centers were leaders in the international medical travel market, and when I started in 1990’s, there were really no rivals to the US in terms of quality and innovation. Now, however, after 9/11 and the barriers to access that were created, more foreign providers have appeared to meet the demand,” says Frank.
The increase in quantity and quality of foreign hospitals, especially those with JCI accreditation, indicates a new level of global competitiveness, which U.S academic medical centers have been slow to respond to.
A rise in healthcare costs in nations such as the U.S. and U.K., has made medical care of comparable quality at lower costs shift the global market away from the U.S. The management and staff at prestigious U.S. academic medical centers often have an attitude of entitlement. Many are now realizing that in order to earn business and loyalty from international patients, they have to work hard. Ms. Frank sees the licensing and franchising of US brands, such as Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, and others, as examples of US-based academic medical center attempting to respond to this market shift.
Mount Sinai Medical Center has created the Innovations Partners to accelerate the commercialization and monetization of ideas generated by doctors and staff, and the National Innovation Summit features accelerated change initiatives.
In this interview, Pam discusses the anticipation of, and misunderstanding about the impacts of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).
“Some organizations, consultants and foreign governments anticipated a flight of US healthcare consumers to foreign destinations as a result of Obamacare. This is clearly a misunderstanding of the situation,” states Ms. Frank, “however; those destinations which have invested in the quality of their healthcare providers, and have sound strategic plans will be far stronger competitive positions for the future.