I attended an informal networking event last night that was billed as an exploration of global healthcare and medical tourism. There was a good representation of healthcare professionals present. There were representatives from HR (buyers of HC), Providers, and Entrepreneurs, that are building and managing business that are delivering care to Americans overseas. With one, that is building a business here in Colorado that she intends to be a hub for individuals to come to America for care.
Two things struck me about the event. One half of the individuals here were in the Medical Tourism business. There appears to be two segments to the business. One is the cost control segment. An individual talked about the Heart valve replacement he received in India for $15,000 vs. $150,000 estimate here in Colorado. He spent 23 days in the hospital in India. Here in the US for this procedure it is typically a 3 – 4 day stay.
The other segment is more of the Spa segment. Here individuals travel to other parts of the world for treatment and because of the cost, they can have a spa experience as a part of their pre or post procedure experience.
As someone who has been following closely the debate over healthcare here in America, let me say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” I predict that within three years Main Street America will see their health plans offering a cost containment package that directs some procedures overseas. And for those who are ethnocentric enough to think that “they” can’t match our quality overseas… think Toyota, Honda, LG, WIPRO, etc.
It is no longer coming or on the horizon, the business is here; and while it is still in what I’ll call the wild west phase, it is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Like most global businesses that have found a market in America, it is exploiting a large industry (one sixth of our economy) that is entrenched in the way “we do it”. Be careful of that mind set.
And Take Good Care,