New medical tourism report


There’s a new medical tourism report written by an economist which takes issue with many of the ‘reported facts and figures’ which are bandied about by the medical tourism industry.  As we’ve discussed on previous posts – many of these numbers are fairly nebulous and impossible to verify.  (Afterall, there is no exit surveyor at airports to ask, “During your stay in Mexico, did you undergo any surgical procedures?”)

The report sounds interesting – but at a cost of 800 pounds – it’s out of reach for people like myself.  By the same token, I’d like to know by what methods Ian Youngman was able to quantify his results – since the problems of obtaining accurate numbers is fairly universal.

However, it’s an interesting glimpse into an industry that promotes a lot, but often proves little.

Update :

Another new report – this one by TreatmentAbroad which states that in a survey of their customers – 9 out of ten would do it again.  The press release describes their survey methodology and the company offers readers more information, and invites questions about the project.

A new medical center for Bogota?


There’s a new article over at IMTJ about a new medical facility being built in Bogotá – but it’s not the facility itself that is interesting (sounds like a new private cosmetic surgery mega-clinic).

It’s the statistics within the article that caught my eye.  I’m not sure how accurate these statistics are, but if true – it confirms much of what we’ve been saying here at Bogotá Surgery.  I’ve placed a direct quote from the article below:

According to Colombia’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism the most popular treatments sought by visitors are heart surgery (41%), general surgery (13%), gastric band surgery (10%), cosmetic surgery (10%), cancer treatment (6%), orthopedic treatment (4%, dental care (2%) and eyecare (1%).”

If this information is even remotely accurate – it confirms what many of within the medical tourism have been saying – and contradicts much of the popular media reports.

People aren’t just going overseas for breast implants and face-lifts – people are going overseas for essential lifesaving treatments, and procedures to improve their quality of life.

This is an important distinction to  make, but many people tend to see cosmetic procedures as frivolous, and consider the issues around medical tourism, and travel health to be equally unconcerning*.  So when they see flashy news stories (good or bad) about patients having overseas surgery (which the media usually portrays as plastic surgery) they shrug and change the channel.

Hmmm.. patient died of liposuction in Mexico (or Phoenix or India..)  Or Heidi whatshername had 26 procedures at a clinic overseas..

But as these statistics show – that’s not the reality of medical tourism – and that’s what makes all of the issues around it even more important.

People may not get fired up about insurance coverage for medical tourism for cosmetic surgery – but what about tumor resection?  or mobility restoring orthopedic procedures? Or as cited above, life-saving heart surgery?

When put into this context – the government (President Obama’s) stance against medical tourism looks a little less democratic – particularly given the state of American healthcare.

* This is not the opinion of the author – but an accurate reflection of statements made in multiple articles and news stories

 

In other news:  Joint Commission take note:  The Indian Health Commission plans to perform surprise health inspections of Indian facilities to ensure quality standards.  (Joint Commission announces their impending visits months ahead of time.)  Joint Commission is the organization that accredits most American hospitals.

Bogota Surgery and the International Medical Travel Journal


Thanks to the eagle-eyed reader who notified me that portions of one of my articles “Bogotá hospital offers hope to abdominal cancer patients” (originally published on Colombia Reports.com) was featured in the article, “Agencies promote Central and Southern American medical tourism.”

I’ve asked them to provide a link to the original article so readers can get more information on the topic.

Update: 29 June 2011: Here’s a link to the new article on Treatment Abroad (which is an International Medical Travel Journal sister site) that gives their readers the information they really need. (The name of the doctor, of course!)  It’s a summary of the original Colombia Reports.com article. They still haven’t cited the ‘borrowed’ content on the original article, or provided the name of the physician doing the treatment (Dr. Fernando Arias) but I guess it’s an improvement.