This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

July 22, 2015

Medical Tourism in a Different Light

For many years, traveling to Asia or elsewhere for an expensive medical procedure was a financial imperative. Complicated medical procedures were prohibitively expensive in patients' home countries, not to mention the challenging insurance issues.

Now, the landscape is changing; Asian nations are leading the way with cutting edge techniques and sophisticated United States government- approved technology. According to the Medical Tourism Association (MTA), an estimated 11 million healthcare consumers pumped USD $438.6 Billion into local and national economies overseas last year alone. That number represents 14 percent of the world’s tourism dollars.

Hundreds of hospitals with a JCI Seal of Approval
Today, places like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, New Delhi, and Singapore rival the US. In Asia, 212 hospitals have earned the coveted seal of approval from the Joint Commission International (JCI) that sets worldwide standards in health care.

India is leading the way
Last year in India, "the Heart Mate II", a mechanical heart, was transplanted into a 29-year-old Iraqi man in Gurgaon, southwest of New Delhi. Currently the most sophisticated FDA-approved technology available in the world, this device could soon replace conventional heart transplants altogether, because it eliminates rejection problems.

Also in India, at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon, 50 patients successfully received kidney transplants using a robot-assisted breakthrough procedure. Thailand already known as one of the best places in the world for cosmetic surgery now has become one of the top spots for eye and dental surgery as well. And certainly Singapore remains on the list for organ transplants, cancer treatment, cardiac surgery, and fertility treatment. Joining Singapore is Malaysia coming on strong for cosmetic surgery and comprehensive health checks. And finally, Korea is known for its stem cell treatments and spinal surgeries.

Significant savings
And due to the strength of the US dollar, the cost savings are even greater than before---up to 80 percent, when compared to Western hospitals. Plus, patients are able to spend longer times resting and recuperating in facilities that cost a lot less than their Western counterparts. KTO, the official South Korean tourist organization, projects medical tourism will reach 598,000 in 2015 and 998,000 in 2020---adding up to USD $3.4 Billion in revenue by 2020, for South Korea alone.

Our forecast
We project exponential increases in the number of people and revenue generated by medical tourism; all the pieces are already in place: leading edge techniques and services, along with well-trained physicians---many of whom were trained in the US and returned to their home countries. Years ago, we warned our readers that this exodus would happen. The future is here today.

Special thanks to Business Traveler Magazine for covering this topic in their June 2015 issue.

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