You will not be surprised, that in an era of globalisation and common use of the Internet, the number of individuals who wish to undergo high-quality medical treatment abroad and save a significant amount of money is rapidly growing.
Patientsbeyondborders found out that the most important reasons why international patients go abroad for treatment are:
- considerable saving on medical procedures;
- a clinic stands out for clinical excellence, best practices and state-of-the art medical technology and equipment;
- a centre is well-known in the area of innovation and achievements;
- internationally trained and internationally experienced staff work in the clinic.
When a patient faces long waiting times in their own country, when their insurance does not cover the cost of medical treatment or the prices are simply so high that a person cannot afford their treatment, then international patients will benefit from going abroad, saving time and money.
Again, research from Patientsbeyondborders shows that the most popular medical specialties for international medical travelers are the following:
Without any doubts, medical tourism is and will be one of the most rapidly growing industries, as the global population is getting older quickly, and national medical centres cannot meet expectations. Medical tourism statistics show that the estimated growth rate for the medical tourism market is 15-25% and the future of medical tourism means transformation from a niche market into highly competitive industry. It also means, that if you do not treat international patients yet, it is the right time to offer your services.
Health and medical tourism – recommendations
If a clinic or medical centre meets one or all of the criteria as to why international patients go abroad for treatment that we mentioned above, then such a business will be successful. Here are only a few examples of the best medical websites and clinics that are known worldwide for their excellence:
Based on our experience, in order to be effective in medical tourism you need to look at the following key points and consider following them:
A) website – international patients should find all the important information in their native language easily while visiting your website. A clinic should offer various methods of contact (phone, mail, chat, call back), answer inquiries within a short period of time (good practice – 24-48 hours), and communicate with patients in their native languages. In case there is no such opportunity, a person who contacts international patients, should speak clearly and be really patient. International patients can contact either an international office or a person who answers all questions directly. Of course, it is worth emphasising, that a website in which Google translator is installed or where the texts contain errors will not help in building trust between the clinic and the patients;
B) medical tourism advertising – a clinic should provide international patients only with real information about prices, experience and qualifications of doctors, travel and other possibilities, treatment duration and other related issues. Medical tourism advertising is not simple, as Google and Yandex do not advertise some procedures due to legal restrictions. Instead of evading the law and giving false or irrelevant information, find alternative ways of advertising. It might end up that these ways of medical tourism advertising are the most effective in your case. We also recommend that you don’t rely on only one form of advertising. Remember that national law is constantly changing. If a clinic attracts international patients via Google or Yandex PPC effectively, it does not mean, it will be possible in six month time. Our clients experienced such situations like that in the past, when national laws changed. However, clinics managed to attract new international clients because they took care of other channels of advertising (content marketing, social media, etc);
C) medical tourism consulting – might be another effective form of attracting international patients. If due to various reasons a clinic cannot treat international patients, but an experienced expert works in a centre, then it is worth offering medical consultation. In the era of the Internet and skype, and other such programs, the sky is the limit;
D) medical tourism reviews are necessary elements in communication with patients. But what if a clinic is well recognised nationally, and has no reviews from international patients? There are a few ways to resolve that. One of the easiest is to translate reviews that a clinic has already had. Another way is to check out national rating sites to find reviews of a clinic or even a doctor. And simply translate reviews given by national patients in various languages. We would not recommend using “creative” ways of obtaining reviews, as it might happen that the cat will come out of the bag, and management of a negative reputation requires time and money;
E) medical tourism companies , that are globally recognised are an excellent source of inspiration if you are not sure how to start or develop a business. Just analyse their websites, paying attention even to the smallest details, try to find out as much as possible about their online and offline activities. The choice of tools is unlimited, and you will find a great variety of free and paid tools on the Internet. If you do not know how to use them, it is easy to learn or you might delegate this task to an experienced agency. You might even start cooperation with medical tourism companies that will be promoting your clinic or form a partnership with another clinic, whose services are complementary to yours.
Does every clinic, medical centre or medical tourism site have opportunities in the medical tourism industry? Based on our experience, we can answer positively. It requires (depending on the current situation) time and engagement, and rethinking of treatment duration or patient care, but every business from the health and medical sector (if they wish) can benefit from global medical tourism opportunities.