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Medical Tourism 2-0

Medical Tourism 2-0



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Published by MarketingHealth

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Published by: MarketingHealth on Aug 06, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 MEDICAL TOURISM 2.0(This is not a strategy article. The objective of this article is to highlight the importanceof integrating web strategy into medical tourism marketing drive of the hospitals havingstake in this industry)
When Thomas L. Friedman was writing his much acclaimed book- “The world isflat”; he would have hardly imagined that this phenomenon would even penetrateinto healthcare delivery sector!Trends of patients in the west opting to get their healthcare needs met byhealthcare delivery centers in other parts of the world have been showing arobust growth. 2008 saw first ever world medical tourism and global healthcongress organized to focus in this industry.
The world healthcare market is estimated to be over US $ 3.6 trillion in 2004. During2000-2004, the market has grown at a CAGR of over 8%. The market is estimated togrow at a CAGR of 7.8% to reach a value of US $ 5.25 trillion by 2009. The substantialportion of this market is managed healthcare: 51%.USA is the largest market for healthcare, with 40% share in world, and the total revenuebeing US $ 1.44 trillion in 2004. Other major markets were Asia Pacific (33.5%) andEurope (21%).The growing cost of medical treatment, increasing restricted insurance due to “pre-existing” clause (About 250 mill), substantial uninsured population in US (47 mill.)followed by extended delays in treatment due to patient load in Canada (34 mill.) andEuropean countries has added a new flavor to international healthcare delivery industry.Patients are now looking at affordable world class treatment with “no waiting” athealthcare delivery destinations outside home country. They research on web, connectto others in social media, travel agencies, hotels, insurance companies, interact withpotential hospital at different countries and plan their visit. To add impetus to this, theinsurance companies in the west have started offering various options to cater to thisfast evolving industry.Hospitals focusing in medical tourism have been busy setting up world class centers,getting JCAHO accreditations, signing up with health insurance payors, signing up withagents, putting up promotion team, etcOne key area that hospitals (Select countries in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe,and S. Africa) should not ignore is “utilizing webspace” strategically.
Before we look at how webspace could help a hospital identify target audience andsuccessfully convert them to customers, let’s have a quick peek at the behavior patternof people seeking health information and solutions.There are two categories of patients that we will consider here:A. Asymptomatic health conscious individualsB. Diagnosed patients with known ailments.A.) Most diseases are asymptomatic in its initial stages. They are usually detected by:1. Accident, during health check ups or during treatment of some other ailment.2. Proactive health conscious patient surfing web to address smallest health issue.B.) Diagnosed patients are very proactive in researching information related to their ailment. They study books, look for case studies on web, seek referrals, etc.
Here is the chain of activities that a patient performs once he/she comes to know of theailment..
Learn on the problemthat’s in the body.Explore its treatmentoptionsExplore costimplicationExplore insuranceoption (if any) –including premiumloading, restrictedcover, etc
Explore alternatechannelsExplore throughresources to affirmdecision
Web (Forums, health sites, connecting forums like patientslikeme.com) etc)Health camps, Books, family physicians
PhsiciansWebInsurance comaniesWeb- Networks, random searchFriends, Travel agents, government resources
Family Physician, specialist medical consultantWeb space
Insurance companiesWeb sace for other insurance otions if anFriends, Travel consultantsWeb, social media, interactive media if an

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