When I talk with clients about today’s issues in the medical tourism industry, I suggest they consider a number of questions as they develop or review their business strategy for a medical travel or health tourism business.
Here are 9 questions to ask as you start your medical tourism business.
- As an agency, will you be a full-service medical travel agency, a health tourism agency, a broker or facilitator or an on-site international patient care management service? As a provider, will medical travelers be a significant part of your business or an incidental part?
- If it’s to be a significant part, will you establish a full-service international patient department available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year or will you rely on a local inbound full-service medical travel agency for patient processing and handling? If an incidental part, will you be able to provide important safeguards for medical travelers or health tourists including privacy, security, and quality of outcome?
- Will your market have a global reach? Regional? Will it be defined geographically or will it focus on special interests or needs of a specific clientele?
- Whether for medical tourism or wellness tourism, how will you select the agencies, providers, insurance brokers, treatment and spa facilities and other support service partners?
- Will you formally or informally partner with recovery resorts, travel agencies, clinics, hospitals, doctors, other full-service medical travel agencies, insurers, TPAs, employers?
- Will you be a general service or specialize in one or more of orthopedics, spine, cardiac, cosmetic, dental, IVF, alternative treatments, anti-aging, sports wellness, pediatrics, women’s health, oncology?
- Will you choose medical tourism partners on the basis of how much they pay you or how many patients they promise to deliver? Will you select a provider or an agency based on the location of its offices or facilities?
- Will you judge a provider or agency by the recommendation of friends or colleagues, independent research reports, magazine or newspaper articles, website review, certification or accreditation credentials?
- What credentials are most important to you as a provider or agency? Do you know how these credentials differ, and what each is best for: JCI, Trent, Accreditation Canada, ISQUA, ISO, MTQUA, TEMOS, MTA?
What other questions would you ask if starting a new medical tourism company or international patient department?