Medical tourism is a multi billion dollar industry but its characteristics vary from one country to another. Some countries have transformed themselves into the top most medical tourism destinations and others are just supplying patients. Not so surprisingly, it is the developed countries that are losing out in the battle called medical tourism.
Developing countries like Costa Rica, Thailand, Singapore and India are way ahead of the competition as they offer surgical facilities for much less. However, a new trend is on the rise that may turn around the game a little. Americans are traveling within US for getting surgeries done at a discounted price.
Surgeon tries to bank on Medical Tourism
During his lifeguard days in the Myrtle Beach, James Spearman, noticed how residents of New York were coming down to Florence for getting their dentures at a lower price. The flat discount was what attracted them to the beach. After getting their tooth pulled out, they spent time in the beach and returned to New York refreshed. Despite weeklong holidays, the total expenditure did not amount to what denture costs in NYC.
This gave him a brilliant idea and he decided to offer similar discounts as an orthopedic surgeon. Patients who opt for domestic medical tourism can easily save money on flight tickets. A flight ticket to India will cost around $1500 and a surgery like knee or hip replacement will cost another $15,000. Domestic medical tourists can get the same surgery done for $20,000 and save money on flight ticket.
USA is the hotbed for outbound medical tourists
In 2014, an estimated 1.2 million American patients traveled abroad to developing countries for getting medical treatments. The medical tourism markets are growing and thriving. The government and private sectors are both investing in the betterment of medical infrastructure in developing countries for attracting more international patients.
Though finding information about exact turn over and profit of medical tourism industry is a bit difficult still the estimated worth of this industry is near about $55 billion. Finding information about the domestic medical tourism is even more difficult. But this trend is catching up with its more popular counterpart.
To profit from this growing trend, Jack Spearman set up a website named Travel Surgery USA. He has found that the doctors are not yet ready to share surgical costs with the patients and the patients cannot completely rely on vague information. Off shore hospitals not only offer complete information about prices but also lucrative discounts.
To beat the competition, Spearman started using the website to show the exact prices of surgical prices so that the patients can compare prices and count costs. Unfortunately, he has not been much successful in attracting patients from NYC or other urban locales. If people recognize the advantage of getting medical procedures done near at home Spearman and others like him may be able to have a more thriving practice.
Domestic medical tourism is kicking up in US and people have started to understand the benefits of getting surgeries done near their home. With proper marketing and awareness initiatives this part of medical tourism can rally prosper.