Developing Global medical tourism destination Dubai

UAE-headquartered hospitality company, TIME Hotels Management, has announced the latest in a series of property management contract deals with the signing of a new five-star hotel located just a few minutes from the city’s medical services hub – Dubai Healthcare City.

Developing Global medical tourism destination Dubai and TIME Hotel Management

Part of the group’s ambitious regional development programme, the latest announcement comes hot on the heels of news of its first Egypt resort property in the popular Red Sea tourist destination of Sahl Hasheesh, close to Hurghada.

The 277-room TIME Royal Hotel will occupy a prime position off the Sheikh Rashid Road with easy access to popular luxury retail hub, Wafi Mall, and a 10-minute drive from Dubai International Airport.

Under development by Awtad Investment Company the AED200 million hotel is set to open in 2016 and will offer guests a choice of two restaurants, a coffee shop, fully-equipped gymnasium, swimming pool, spa and 684-square metres of state-of-the-art meeting space.

“The new Wafi location will complement our existing properties which are located at opposite ends of the city in Barsha/TECOM and Al Qusais, and will also add much-needed room stock to the Oud Metha area which is home to Dubai Healthcare City,” said Mohamed Awadalla, CEO, TIME Hotels.

“Dubai plans to position the emirate as a global medical tourism destination by 2020 with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) targeting 500,000 medical tourists with expected revenues of AED2.6 billion. To support this ambitious strategy it is imperative that Oud Metha’s hospitality capacity is enhanced as the area is currently underserviced in terms of hotel rooms,” he added.

The DHA is targeting a broad spectrum of treatment-seeking visitors including nationals from the GCC countries and South Asian medical tourists, which, according to Awadalla, is a fit with TIME Hotels’ own sales and marketing strategy.

“We will also add more value to the market with two rooms per floor at our new Wafi property specifically designed to be handicap-accessible; which is a first for the city and a unique selling point for the promotion of Dubai as a leading destination for medical tourism,” he said.

The hotel will also be wheelchair friendly with ramps sited throughout its major public areas and with adapted elevator access.

TIME Royal Hotel’s convenient location along one of the city’s main thoroughfares also makes it a good option for guests needing to be within a short drive of the embassies district, Dubai’s financial hub and major leisure attractions such as Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the historic Dubai Creek.

“The addition of Wafi will boost our collection of UAE hotels and hotel apartments to eight properties, and with a pipeline of five further properties in Abu Dhabi, Doha and Egypt, we are on target to reach our goal of 13 properties by 2016,” remarked Awadalla.

Source: etn

Iraq crisis hits medical tourism

Iraq crisis hits medical tourism

The crisis in Iraq is taking a toll on medical tourism with most hospitals reporting a slump in patients from West Asia. With the region contributing 25-35 per cent of international patients in cost intensive disciplines like cardiology, spinal injuries and oncology, experts say the sector could see a slump if the situation does not normalise.

Director of international business at the Rockland group of hospitals, Sunil Kapur, said, “There has been a dramatic drop in patients from not just Iraq, but also Syria and Iran. Where we would get five-eight patients every day, we are now getting one odd patient a week.”

Explaining that the hospital was “anticipating a drop in the coming days”, Anil Vinayak, director, sales and marketing, at Max Healthcare said, “We expect a drop in patients traveling from Iraq, if the situation does not improve soon. Patients are facing difficulty in getting flight tickets. Also, there are problems in getting a travel visa.”

Hospitals that have a tie-up with the government of West Asian countries and treat patients funded by the state, have been particularly affected. “We have a tie-up with the government of Iraq where patients are screened and sent to us and their treatment is funded by the state. With the conflict situation, there has been a sharp decline in the state-supported patients,” said Suchismita Roy, PR, Artemis Hospital.

Many hospitals say visa restrictions and security concerns in the region have forced them to stop sending Indian doctors there for periodical consultations. These outpatient consultations were used to acquaint the local population with Indian experts, and would help convince patients to travel to India for treatment. A senior administrative official at Fortis hospital confirmed that consultations of doctors in the region have been stopped from the first week of June.

Source: Indian Express

India to be No 1 for growth in wellness tourism by 2019: Study


India could be number one for growth globally in the wellness tourism sector in the next five years, clocking over 20 per cent gains annually through 2017, according to a recent study.

Wellness tourism is a $439 billion industry worldwide within the $3.2 trillion global tourism industry, representing 14 per cent of all tourism spending, it said. The study conducted by SRI international projected India to be number one globally for growth in wellness tourism over the next five years, clocking over 20 per cent gain annually through 2017.

Wellness tourism is travel for the purpose of promoting health and well-being through physical, psychological, or spiritual activities. The study predicted that India’s total wellness market to surpass $18 billion in the next four years. Luxury Wellness Tourism segment is estimated to grow nearly 50 per cent faster than global tourism by 2017, it was reported on the sidelines of a three-day exhibition ‘Royal India Wellness 2014’ which concluded on Friday.

SRI International is a US-based nonprofit, independent research and innovation centre serving government and industry. “India has wealth of knowledge and medical systems to treat people and maintain their health through natural means and therapies,” said Paras Shahdadpuri, President of Indian Business and Professionals Council.

“India must come forward and give its gift of naturopathy to the mankind. It has a hidden treasure which should be discovered,” he said at the exhibition. “Unfortunately, we got used to quick fix through allopathy which treats only the manifestations rather than the cause,” he said.

The exhibition on Indian wellness brands with their packages on rejuvenation, holistic healing and prevention and reversal of lifestyle diseases was organised to reach out to the health conscious people.

Source; IBN

Dubai to be world medical tourism hub


DHA meets with all stakeholders to discuss turning proposal into reality
With world-class health facilities and internationally accredited hospitals, Dubai is all set to be the top hub for world medical tourism.

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) convened a meeting earlier this week with all stakeholders in the medical tourism initiative to tap into the possibility of turning this proposal into reality.

The meeting was organised under the leadership of Director General of DHA, Engineer Eisa Al Maidour, with representatives of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDFRA), Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Department of Economic Development (DED), Emirates airline, Emirates Holidays and Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC), among others.

“We look forward to collaborating with all stakeholders to ensure we devise a comprehensive system that provides patients with convenience from the time they enter Dubai right through treatment and even follow-up. Dubai is the world’s leading destination for tourism and leisure and since Dubai offers excellent health-care facilities, medical tourism is an extension of the hospitality that Dubai is synonymous with. Ensuring that all players work hand-in-hand with us and are aligned with the overall medical tourism strategy will ensure smooth functioning of a dynastic health sector and will benefit both medical tourists as well as the health-care providers,” he said.

According to DTCM statistics, the city had a record number of visitors — 10 million — in 2012 and aims to have more than 20 million visitors by 2020. If medical tourism is properly organised it can become a viable source of revenue. If we go by the global medical tourism revenues these are estimated at $30 million (Dh109.80 million) and are expected to only grow by leaps and bounds. Dubai can perhaps be a major contributor to this world-wide phenomenon if all stakeholders work according to a plan. Currently the total number of health facilities in Dubai are 2,518 and more than 70 per cent of hospitals here have international accreditations.

All these figures work in favour of world medical tourists coming here for complex treatments.

Dr Ramadan Ebrahim, director of medical regulation and medical tourism programme at DHA, said that he would be working closely with hospitals to ensure that they fulfil the medical tourism eligibility criteria. “Hospitals will be asked to chalk out medical tourism packages. The package will include treatment, visa, hotel accommodation as well as recreational activities for families who accompany the patient.

“The first package will be launched in October this year and will be wellness and preventive services package. This includes executive full body check-ups etc. In addition to medical facilities, we will also evaluate health-care facilities on the basis of the comfort and ease they provide patients. This includes checking whether they have translators, chauffer services, etc, which will all be part of the medical tourism package. At the end of the day, it’s about providing both excellence in medical service.”

Dr Ebrahim also added that the Dubai medical tourism website will be launched by the last quarter of this year — all member details and hyperlinks will be on the comprehensive site.

Source: gulf news

Executive council nod for Dubai medical tourism plan

The DEC members discussed the plan to transform Dubai into a global hub for health tourism as proposed by the Dubai Health Authority.

The Dubai Executive Council (DEC) on Wednesday approved a plan to implement the strategy to turn Dubai into a world hub for medical tourism.

A meeting of the council chaired by Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, also discussed a proposal to invest wisely the plots of land set aside for housing with the aim of earning sustainable profits to support the housing projects in the emirate and to give a backup to the government.

The DEC members discussed the plan to transform Dubai into a global hub for health tourism as proposed by the Dubai Health Authority. According to the plan, Dubai would provide selected, distinctive and quality health services at competitive prices which would attract tourists visiting the emirate.

The plan aims to build a system which would boost excellence in the field of healthcare, which would attract people willing to get curative services to the emirate of Dubai.

The Dubai Health Authority has laid down a comprehensive strategy to achieve a number of investment targets in health tourism in six medical areas of specialisation, including dentistry, plastic surgery, ophthalmic surgery, general medical checkups, orthopedic surgery and sports medicine, in addition to recuperation and healing from skin diseases.

The executive plan has been developed to include four main pillars: competition and prioritisation; Dubai’s global status; increasing the number of tourists and medical revenues through delivery of high-quality medical services; and achieving medical sustainability.

The other proposals and projects discussed during the meeting included the investment of land allocated for housing to achieve a sustainable income to support housing projects and government’s support for these projects and providing sites for the delivery of public services near residential complexes that the Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment has embarked on constructing.

Source: Khaleej Times

Medical tourism on the rise despite warnings

A new breed of tourist is taking the post-holiday glow to a new level and booking in for cosmetic surgery abroad.

No official statistics are available on the number of Australians leaving the country for surgery, but Patients Beyond Borders, which publishes guides for such tourists, estimates that globally about 8 million patients go overseas for medical care – and that figure is growing about 15 to 25 per cent a year.

The announcement by private health insurer NIB to provide overseas surgical packages has reignited the debate which pits cut-priced procedures against the concern of many Australian medical professionals who warn against the practice.

Medical tourism operators co-ordinate travel, accommodation and medical care for clients. For those travelling alone, escorted groups can be organised.

The director of Medi Makeovers, Daniela Pratico, says the company works with a team of GPs and surgeons in Australia to eliminate some of the most common complications.

“There are only three factors that affect medical tourists – cost, availability and quality,” Pratico says. “Price is very obvious. There are no waiting lists in Thailand for patients, and the quality of the procedures and service are very high.”
She adds that patients can save 70 per cent on some procedures.
But reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon Mark Edinburg of the Eden Institute says that while the cost may appear lower, this isn’t always the case.

“We are frequently required to rectify cosmetic tourism surgery, which means that the initial planned costs are considerably higher to rectify the issue and can sometimes increase up to three or fourfold.”

Melissa Dever is unhappy with the results of her overseas surgery. After losing 55 kilograms, she wanted surgery to remove excess skin. So she travelled to Malaysia for a tummy tuck, breast lift and liposuction on her arms and thighs.

She says the facilities and medical care were on par with those in Australia but a “dog-ear” flap of skin on her breast has been left uncorrected, despite a “satisfaction guarantee” she assumed she was eligible for.

“I’m still happy with the overall look and would still recommend people investigate foreign options for surgery.

“Anyone considering it should ask lots of questions and also certainly research any guarantee policy,” she says.

While Ms Dever’s complications were minor, some aren’t so lucky. Dr Edinburg says: “I’ve seen patients who have returned from overseas with breast implants placed at different levels, asymmetries, poor face lifting results and wound ruptures.”

“We are then left to improve the result which, at times, is not possible because of poor planning, poor placement of incision lines, the wrong implant type or position of insertion of the implants.”

It’s not all bad news though. When Erin Williams’ quote for plastic surgery came in at more than $50,000, she researched overseas options before on the Philippines for the tummy tuck, arm lift, butt lift, thigh lift and corrective breast surgery. Despite the pain from surgery, for her the experience was treated as a holiday. “After a week of tolerable yet unpleasant pain, I was up to going out and doing a little bit of shopping. By the end of my fourth week in Manila, I was still impressively swollen but feeling fit, healthy and great.

“My time in Manila was absolutely magnificent. I had a brilliant holiday and will look back on this experience with fondness for the rest of my life.”
The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons advises Australians contemplating going overseas for surgery to research their surgeon and qualifications thoroughly, suggesting a member of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery is best suited.
The society also encourages patients to research the person promoting the surgery to see if they are medically trained and accept liability – or will provide help if problems arise.

Travel agents or brokers are considered high risk and extra questions should be asked on who will do the surgery.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

41,838 Canadians became medical tourists in 2013

One of the unfortunate realities of Canada’s monopolistic health-care system is that some people feel they have no choice but to seek the care they need outside the country.

Faced with waits for treatment that are often months long (sometimes stretching over a year), it should come as little surprise that many Canadians ultimately choose to be medical tourists. The question of course, is how many?

While data on exactly how many patients seek treatment abroad are not readily available, it is possible to estimate this number using data from the Fraser Institute’s annual waiting list survey and from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

The Fraser Institute’s annual waiting list survey asks physicians in 12 major medical specialties what percentage of their patients received non-emergency medical treatment outside Canada in the past year. In 2013, averaged across all medical specialties, almost 1 per cent of patients in Canada were estimated to have done so, the same as in 2012.

Putting these numbers together with data on the number of procedures performed in Canada from the Canadian Institute for Health Information reveals that a conservatively estimated 41,838 Canadians received treatment outside the country in 2013.

Interestingly, this year’s estimate is a slight decrease from the 2012 estimate of 42,173. At the same time, the wait time from specialist consultation to treatment in Canada increased from 9.3 weeks in 2012 to 9.6 weeks in 2013.

Among the provinces, the estimated number of patients going outside Canada for treatment increased in Manitoba (1,636 this year vs. 1,435 last year), Ontario (19,118 vs. 15,725), and Nova Scotia (927 vs. 858). The figure was roughly the same for B.C. (8,146 vs. 8,132). On the other hand, the number fell in Alberta (5,527 vs. 6,661), Saskatchewan (714 vs. 1,380), Quebec (4,904 vs. 6,308), New Brunswick (372 vs. 997), P.E.I. (8 vs. 28), and Newfoundland (486 vs. 649).

Among the 12 medical specialties, the largest numbers of patients receiving care outside Canada were estimated for urology (6,635), general surgery (5,537), and ophthalmology (3,083). Patients were less likely to be receiving cardiovascular surgeries (114), radiation treatment for cancer (127), and chemotherapy for cancer (249) in another country.

Those numbers are not insubstantial. They point to a sizable number of Canadians whose needs and health care demands could not be satisfied in Canada. They also point to a large market of patients that might choose to remain in Canada (and in their home province) if only they had that option. One can only wonder how many more would have liked to join them, but couldn’t afford the travel on top of the privately funded care.

There are a number of possible reasons why Canadians ultimately received the care they required outside of the country. Some may have been sent abroad by the public health care system because of a lack of available resources or the fact that some procedures or equipment are not provided in their home jurisdiction. Others may have left in response to concerns about quality, seeking out more advanced health care facilities, higher tech medicine, or better outcomes. Others may have fled Canadian health care in order to avoid some of the consequences of waiting for care such as worsening of their condition, poorer outcomes following treatment, disability or death. And some may have done so simply to avoid delay and to make a quicker return to their life.

That a considerable number of Canadians travelled and paid to escape the well-known failings of the Canadian health care system speaks volumes about how well the system is working for them. It leaves open the question of just how many more Canadians might choose medical tourism outside Canada if given the opportunity.

Nadeem Esmail is director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute. Bacchus Barua is a Fraser Institute senior economist.

Source: the spec

South Korea: Fastest Growing Medical Tourism Market in Asia

The medical tourism industry of South Korea has been growing at a fast pace from past few years. Global reputation of Korea in plastic surgery attracts foreigners, as it provides them better treatment at low cost. Korean doctors have got the required expertise and skills in various surgical procedures, such as aesthetic and cosmetic treatments, thereby, boosting country’s worldwide reputation.

Apart from the skilled medical workforce, another factor which helps Korean medical tourism to prosper is technologically advanced treatments and medical procedures. Moreover, areas like biotechnology and stem cell research are considered as core competency of the country and with rising government investments in the sector, the country is poised to become a leading player in medical technologies and treatments. The country is further backed by strong government support and initiatives, which is also boosting the growth and development of Korean medical tourism.

Thus, supported by the factors, such as cost-efficacy, high level promotion by the authorities, and good healthcare infrastructure, the number of medical tourists is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of more than 52% during 2013-2015, which is the fastest growth rate among all Asian nations, says “Asian Medical Tourism Market Forecast to 2015”, a recent report by RNCOS.

Apart from South Korea, we have also analyzed medical tourism market of other major countries such as India, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. Our comprehensive report provides detailed analysis and future forecast for the medical tourism market, and medical tourist arrivals till 2015 in these Asian countries. Our report has also provided a brief overview of the drivers and trends prevailing in the Asian medical tourism industry. We have also included the prominent industry players such as Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd., Bumrungrad International Hospital, and so on, to provide a balanced research outlook of the industry. Overall, the report is designed to facilitate our clients towards devising the rightful strategies, and make sound investment decisions.
Source: SB wire

Iran aims to boost medical tourism

Iran wants to increase its number of medical tourists; the country already enjoys 85,000 patients yearly for medical tourism and wants to improve that.

One of the main focuses of medical tourism in Iran is eye surgeries. The country enjoys several facilities around the country that offer quality services for all and also offer services for free to the needy. The main eye hospitals in Tehran are the Noor and Negah facilities.

These hospitals are designed in a way to offer complete services to patients from examination to surgery, catering to all the needs of the patient.
At an inauguration ceremony for a new clinic at the Noor hospital Iran’s Vice President talked about the country’s plans to boost tourism in this sector and he also said visas are no longer an issue.

“A new workgroup will be formed to plan for increasing our potentials in medical tourism in the next few years. More effort should be done on the internet to make precise data about our facilities available for those who plan to come to Iran for treatment,” VP and Head of Cultural Heritage Organization, Mohammad Ali Najafi said.

The hospital itself is improving in quality and increasing in size, this is to remain attractive to patients and possibly gain more medical tourists.

Director of the Hospital, Dr. Khosro Heydari, “We perform all modern eye surgeries offered anywhere else in the world with more competitive prices usually several times less. We enjoy competent surgeons and up to date equipment. Some of our surgeons are renowned worldwide, we have enjoyed over 10,500 patients from outside of Iran coming to our hospital since its start.”

“The Noor hospital started work 20 years ago, now we felt the need to start a clinic to separate the surgeries from examinations as the hospital was becoming crowded. As we value the quality of services offered and waiting times,” Member of the board, Dr. Seyed Mohammad Miraftab added.

But this is not all this facility offers, it has made trailers that are complete mobile hospitals to offer services to patients in small towns around Iran, for free. Till now surgeons have traveled with these mobile centers to seven provinces offering free of charge services for the poor.

Source: Press TV

Phillippines urged to invest in new tech to boost medical tourism

The Philippines should continuously invest in new technologies, focus on niche treatment and medical products, and seize untapped markets to boost its medical tourism industry, an official of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. said.

MPIC operates the country’s largest hospital network with a total of 2,150 beds in its eight full-service hospitals.

Augie Palisoc Jr., MPIC executive director for the hospital group, said medical insurance portability is vital to attracting more patients, particularly retiring Filipino overseas workers who will be dependent on medical insurance for their hospitalization needs.

“The transferability of insurance will open the gates for more people to come to the Philippines,” Palisoc said.

OFWs whose insurance policies are not transferable could not retire in the Philippines because they could not reimburse medical expenses from their policies.

Health and wellness tourism in the Philippines in terms of value grew by 18 percent last year, largely due to the rise of medical tourism as more foreign tourists and Filipino expatriates flew to the country to avail themselves of medical treatments and procedures for a fraction of the cost in developed countries.

There are four hospitals in the country that that have been awarded Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation for quality and patient safety. These include St. Lukes Medical Center, The Medical City, Makati Medical Center, all located in Metro Manila; and Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu.

JCI is considered the authority in patient safety and quality improvement with a presence in more than 90 countries to date.

The accreditation means the services offered by a hospital is benchmarked with the highest standards of care and safety practiced by renowned hospitals around the world.

The most popular procedures sought in the Philippines are cosmetic surgery, diagnostic testing and imaging, elective surgeries, prostate surgery or coronary bypasses, and dermatology.

The Philippines, however, lags behind other countries in the region in drawing health tourists due to its restrictive policy and uncompetitive business environment, as well as lack of quality infrastructure.

The Philippines has well-trained doctors and nurses with high standards of English communication but they eventually migrate to other countries where salaries are significantly higher than in their home country.

To attract at least 175,000 foreign medical tourists annually, the government is ramping up spending on infrastructure by putting up new roads, bridges, and airports. It is also undertaking an intensified marketing campaign.

MPIC’s growing healthcare network includes the Makati Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Asian Hospital and De Los Santos Medical Center in Metro Manila; Central Luzon Doctors Hospital in northern Luzon, Riverside Medical Center in Visayas and Davao Doctors Hospital in MIndanao.

The hospital group, which accounts for five percent of MPIC’s portfolio, saw a 24 percent jump in net profit in the nine months through September to P670 million. The increase was attributed to higher patient revenues, lower losses at the nursing schools and tighter expense controls.

Source: phil star