Well, many of the worldwide people are not even aware of the term medical tourism. So, let us explain this first. Medical tourism refers to the people who cross international borders or travel overseas to seek any kind of medical service. It is also known as healthcare tourism. You will not be the first entrepreneur to know that the business in this domain is rising and is higher as compared to the oil and gas industry.
Earlier, medical tourism was done only by people of less-developed or underdeveloped countries to seek excellent quality medical care in the developed regions of the world. But today, this trend has changed. Medical services are almost available in all the countries; however, the prices vary from each other.
Hence, the people from developed countries travel to less developed regions to seek medical services at cost-effective prices. Sometimes, they even extend the stay to enjoy a relaxing time in a foreign country and recover from the treatment received.
Following are the important factors leading to medical tourism:
- Advanced medical technology and treatment options.
- Better care facilities for certain medical procedures.
- Easy access to medical processes.
- Lower costs of medical care.
- Low costs of discretionary procedures.
Types of Medical Tourism
Further, medical tourism is divided into three types, outbound medical tourism, inbound medical tourism, and domestic medical tourism. Hence, if you start a medical tourism business in the United States, you can surely serve clients heading to other countries like India for medical services. Moreover, you can tie up with companies that provide medical tourism services to the people of their countries coming to the United States. And you can also cater to clients traveling within the United States for medical services. For instance, a person of Texas travelling to New York for a medical procedure.
Business Opportunities in Medical Tourism
We know you are still confused about how to start a medical tourism business in the country. To begin with, entrepreneurs do not know which sub-domain they need to focus on. Hence, we have listed out specific opportunities that you can tap to seek business revenue and growth.
- Healthcare providers – It could be a hospital, a clinic, or even an independent physician. You can become a healthcare provider and help foreign patients.
- Agents and facilitators – These persons are the connecting link between the healthcare provider and the patient. For instance, you can connect a healthcare provider in your country to a foreign patient easily. The patient will rely on you and does not have to personally contact the healthcare provider.
- Travel desks at medical institutions – Each hospital that provides medical services to foreigners requires a travel desk. You have that option as you can cater to the requirements such as visa extension, stay arrangements, and other services.
- Travel and tourism – You can start a travel agency or a company simply to provide for the transportation requirements of the patients. You can arrange for their travel tickets, stay and other requirements and provide ease and comfort to them.
- Medical insurance company – This is an important business opportunity and comes to the rescue for a patient who wants to travel overseas. You can provide medical coverage to these patients. When they are short of money or have currency-related problems, you can come to the rescue. Please note that there is a rising demand for this business industry, and you can indeed tap it.
Medical Tourism Industry Trends
The only thing that can accelerate the growth of the medical industry in the country is the increasing awareness of this concept. When people understand that there are certain helpful services in the market that can let them seek medical services comfortably, then there will be a boom in the industry.
The existing market size of the medical tourism industry is valued at 10.1 billion US dollars. The estimates have stated that this size will rise at a growth rate of 12.1 percent CAGR. The good thing is that you do not have to be the sole entity to promote your services. As the government puts tremendous efforts into promoting medical tourism services, your business can come to the limelight easily without making special efforts.
Even if the global pandemic has made the countries block their borders, this doesn’t mean it is a full-stop to the medical tourism industry. When the situation will be back to much-normal, there is a surge in people travelling to the United States for various medical and cosmetic procedures. During this period, you can restrict the medical services to domestic regions.
How can One Tap Business Opportunities in the Medical Tourism Industry?
The best way to seek business revenue and growth in this industry is to choose a feasible and realistic business model.
- Targeting customers and businesses – The first and foremost way to target customers is through online marketing. You can directly approach them to cater to their medical tourism requirements. Another way is to become an institution tie-up with other medical-related organizations.
- Establishing brand identity amongst patients in a specific country – You can pick up a country of your choice and establish your brand identity at that place. You can connect with the patients; however you might need the country’s permissions and approvals beforehand. You won’t have any intermediary while dealing with other country’s patients, and this is the biggest benefit.
- Payer-driven model – In this model, you will be in touch with the employer or the payer for the insured. You can take care of the financial requirements of the insured, but you will be in connection with the employer and not directly with the insured. You will receive incentives for the services you provide.
- Fees – You have to be particular while levying fees as the agent or facilitator as you send a patient to the hospital. You should not be charging too little or excessively as it might drive future patients.
- Revenue – You can settle a medical bill, and once the patient pays your dues, the difference will become your revenue. However, some patients might require you to ask for the breakup of the expenses, and the commission you have charged. Hence, being truthful is the only choice and you have to be ready with all the documentation.
- Recreation services – All patients do not need bed-rest after the surgery or treatment. Some might need a break from their lives or would like to be a touristy for a while. You can become a tour agency and charge fees for providing these services.
- Good networking – Networking is the key in the medical tourism industry. Even if it is an agency business-to-patient model, you will have to communicate with all the entities in the complete medical tourism network, including interpreters. Hence, the more social and interactive you are, the better for your business.
- Online presence – A patient who wants medical services outside his country will not ask his neighbor for recommendations but will search online. Hence, be active on the online channels.
- Marketing plan – Even if the government takes initiatives to promote certain medical tourism businesses, you need to have a unique marketing plan.
In conclusion, the opportunities are ample in the medical tourism industry; you have to be vigilant and smart in tapping the same.
Medical tourism is a form of tourism in which travelers visit another country to receive medical services. It is also referred to as health tourism, medical travel, and global healthcare.
Medical treatments available through medical tourism include elective surgery, fertility treatments, dentistry, cancer treatment, and cosmetic procedures.
Cost savings can vary greatly depending on the procedure and the country in which it is performed. Generally, procedures costs 30-70% less in countries with lower medical costs.
Medical tourism services are generally safe as long as medical professionals are properly credentialed and facilities are certified. Many medical tourism companies vet their vendors to ensure that they adhere to international standards.
The benefits of medical tourism include cost savings, improved access to specialized care, recovery time in a tourist destination, and the potential for further treatments.
When traveling to a medical tourism destination, make sure to bring valid identification and any medical records, prescriptions, or other paperwork required for your procedures or treatments.
Even with insurance coverage, medical tourism treatments may not be fully covered. It is recommended to look into supplemental medical tourism coverage or travel insurance before going on your medical tourism trip.
Many countries adhere to international standards for the certification of medical devices and procedures. It is important to research providers thoroughly before undergoing a medical tourism treatment.
Choose a provider who is experienced and reputable and who has been certified and endorsed by medical associations. It is important to ask questions and look into the credentials of the medical staff, the quality of the facilities, and the safety record of the hospital or clinic.
A reliable medical tourism company should provide you with a detailed description of their services and treatments, as well as policies and procedures for customer service and quality assurance. They should be forthcoming about their business practices and be willing to answer any questions you may have.