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The Opportunities of International Medical Tourism

A news article at Tempabay.com reported that more Americans seek medical treatments overseas. The number of U.S. residents who traveled abroad for health care will jump from 648,000 in 2009 to 1.6 million by 2012.

The benefits of travelling overseas for care are obvious. People pay as low as 80% of the costs in the U.S. for a vacation-medical-care package, where they can complete medical procedures in a five-star resort and hotel facility. The factors of more overseas hospitals earned international accreditations, as well as more U.S. employers provide insurance with overseas coverage, also push the popularity of outbound medical tourism in the U.S.

Of course, these benefits also come with potential risks, such as unknown quality standards of treatments, difficulty in assessing physician credentials, lack of follow-up care after patients return to the U.S., and limited legal options if the surgery goes wrong. As a result, consumers need to weigh the benefits and potential risks when making decisions.
Regardless, the growing demand of medical tourism brings us some business opportunities:
1. More international students may come to the U.S. for medical-care relative degrees, including certified dietitians and foodservice management degrees. These students may better serve American medical tourists after finishing a degree in the U.S.
2. Professionals in resorts and managed services segments (e.g. senior-living and hospital accounts) may find new opportunities in these overseas medical-care resorts.
3. Even though more people plan their trips with online travel tools today, they may still need advice and expertise in planning a medical tour overseas. Travel agents may find a niche market in this field.

Do you think this trend will bring more opportunities or threads to us? How so?

References:
Tempabay.com: http://tinyurl.com/linchikwok03152010
Picture was copied from: http://tinyurl.com/linchikwok03152010P

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