Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Business Opportunity In Medical Tourism
Getting tourist from other countries to visit the Philippines for medical treatment is what medical tourism is all about. Countries like India, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia are already at the fore front of this kind of tourism. In the Philippines, medical tourism is still at its early infancy stage. Some well known hospitals in the country are attracting patients from the Americas and Asia as well as expatriates familiar with our local health services. St. Luke's Medical Center and Asian Hospital are envisioning the Philippines as a medical care destination for Asia and to solidify this. Both have invested a significant amount to obtain international accreditation, opening the doors for international HMO portability or the ability to tap the medical insurance systems of foreign countries. Opportunities in specialty clinics are abound, particularly in eye, dental and cosmetic treatments. Most customers are foreigners, including resident expatriates, Micronesians, Guamanians, Indonesians and the rising Korean community. Overseas Filipinos are prime targets. Most eye specialty clinics concentrates on lasik treatments and cataract procedures. Philippines to exploit the full potentials of medical tourism. These include investing in facilities and equipment that meet international standards.
But Philippine hospitals must endeavor to become more price competitive because countries like Thailand and India are relatively less expensive in the field of medical tourism plus a major cost disadvantage of the Philippines is the price of medicine, which comprises a substantial percentage of total costs. Government must require drug manufacturers to produce cheaper generic medicines not only for medical tourism but particularly for the masses so medicines will be within their reach. Also, the country must improve its tourism infrastructure and support services. The quality of education for doctors, nurses, therapists and technologists must be raised significantly and assessed regularly and must require to to render at least a years worth of service in our country instead of the all too familiar going to another country to find a job. Dedicated facilities for long term patient care and recuperation must be provided. The business opportunities for medical tourism are there for the taking but Philippine hospitals and specialty clinics must also internalize strict international standards by which the country's global and Asian competitors go by.