Monday, September 3, 2007

Announcing the 2nd International Medical Travel Conference (Manila, November 2007)

The second IMTC conference is going to be held in Manila this year. The 2nd Annual IMTC is the global event platform for all involved in medical travel to meet and address the core issues such as patients’ perception of overseas medical service quality.

Those of us in the field remember the first conference that was held last year in Singapore was a tremendous success.

As per, IMTC 2006 was officially launched by Singapore’s Health Minister, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, and attracted well over 250 senior decision makers from the medical, medical assistance and travel trade industry globally from over 23 countries including Zimbabwe, Egypt, India, Dubai, Australia, Korea and the USA.

This is a "Must go" event for all players in the Medical Tourism marketplace. Its a one stop event for networking, learning about market trends, strategies and advertising your company's play in the fast growing medical tourism marketplace.
Look to this blog for further news and reports about the conference.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Census: 47M had no health insurance in '06 (Source: USA Today)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 article on the USA Today web site talks about census results where 47 million American had no health insurance in 2007. Here is the link to the article:

This incredible number does not even include those who are underinsured.

Its interesting to try and think about the total global market for medical tourism. While the web site focuses on primarily an American audience, other than the 47 million without insurance, there are several other groups that form the population of potential medical tourists.

1. European and Canadien public health systems are over burdened with waits of several months for some treatments. Often they will reimburse the patients for travelling overseas for treatment at a lower cost. That is a win win for both the patient and the health care system.

2. African and Middle East countries have large pupulations that can pay top dollar for world class health care and have traditionally travelled to the US to obtain it. But with visa issues and delays, they are increasingly looking to India, Thailand and Singapore for quality healthcare at cheaper rates.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Faux Pas: The cross cultural issues of going overseas

Business travellers are repeatedly reminded and trained to be sensitive and aware of foreign cultures when travelling if you travel for medical treatment, this awareness could be of even more value.

If we can better understand what makes the Indian or Thai or Japanese tick, we can get that small edge in business and relations.

With 45 million Americans without insurance, more Americans are travelling to places like India and Thailand to get high quality care at low prices. As they interact with doctors, service providers and other individuals, the ability to get good and great medical service may depend on how they can communicate and relate to the Indians or Thais overseas.

Its in the individual's best interest to educate and learn about the culture in the country they will travel to.

This link is to an article in todays USA Today about the faux pas that can easily derail a bussiness or personal relationship. In April, Richard Gere repeatedly kissed actress Shilpa Shetty on the cheek at an AIDS awareness rally in April in New Delhi, India, a country where public displays of affection are generally taboo. An Indian court issued a warrant for his arrest and irate protestors burned effigies of the actor. The warrant was later suspended.

Check out the above link for an interesting roundup of cultural issues when travelling overseas.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Can Medical Tourism reduce health care costs? The US Govermnent wants to know

The globalization of health care : can medical tourism reduce health care costs? : hearing before the Special Committee on Aging, United States Senate, One Hundred Ninth Congress, second session, Washington, DC, June 27, 2006.

The US Congress has had hearings into how "outsourcing" health care or "medical tourism" can be way out of the healthcare problems of millions of Americans. Read the testimony of Howard Stabb and Maggi Grace.

Howard Staab is a 53 year old carpenter who has no insurance and needs a heart valve surgery. Facing a $200,000 cost he selects to go to India...a leap of faith by any standards. His story is both moving and a guide for others. So that others like him dont have to start from zero, the web site was created to help and guide them to make a decision.

More on Howard's story is also at

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Steve Forbes on Open Heart Surgery at 90% discount

In the latest issue of Forbes, August 13, 2007, Steve Forbes has picked up on similar thoughts about using the phenomenon of "medical tourism" to mitigate America's healthcare problems.

Highly recommended commentary from Steve Forbes is available in the latest issue of Forbes and at Some of the highlights are:

-- Medical tourism will be a $40 billion industry by 2010.
-- Increasing number of Americans are going abroad for elective and/or major surgeries.
-- India, Thailand and Singapore are major destinations.
-- Overseas hospitals dont have to deal with US regulations and red tape and can start fresh without the high administrative costs (think of the proverbial $60 asprin story!!)
-- Expat doctors trained in the US are going back to their birth countries (mostly India!) since they now have a change to work in world class facilities and at the same time give back to their country of origin.
-- Internations accreditation agencies like JCI are helping provide a level field of quality.

For more details on accreditation (what JCI is all about) and what issues one must consider before going overseas and specifically to India, visit and feel free to post your comments on this blog.

To quote Steve Forbes from his artcle:
"Medical tourism is an exciting glimpse at the huge savings, productivity gains and medical advances that could be had if we got genuine consumer-controlled health care here--as well as overseas."

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Healthcare and the US Presidential Elections

With the next US Presidential elections coming up, both parties are out to communicate their stand on the issues. While the war in Iraq is obviously the number one issue, I think that the Healthcare issue is really close to every American's heart.

I know of no middle class family in America that is not concerned about healthcare irrespective of the fact if they have insurance or not. With 45 million Americans without healthcare (including 9 million children) this is an issue that MUST be fixed. But unfortunately, there are no easy fixes.

Think about it.....the Democrats want to provide Universal Health Care......check out for Hillary's views. Now, the concept of Universal Healthcare sounds noble and all but is it practical and actionable? Definitely, healthcare is going to cost $$$$ Does this mean increased taxes and therefore risking a further slowdown in the economy?? Will not even a hint of increased taxes lead to flight of capital from the US???

On the other hand, Republicans mostly want to leave healthcare to market forces. The "market" has failed to deliver for the 45 million Americans who lack insurance.

Look, what I am suggesting is that can we not think out of the box here and pass laws that enable insurance companies to develop unique products that offer a kind of hybrid solution to individuals at a low price.

Basically, it would have a primary healthcare component so you could see your PCP in the US if you got the flu or there was an emergency situation. But if there was a non emergency situation like a hip replacement or a skin graft or a planned angioplasty then you would have to travel to an approved and accredited world class facility in India or overseas to get the treatment.

The insurance company would develop a package that would pay for the travel and the procedure (while still enabling you to get a low premium policy and enabling the insurance company to keep costs low).

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Outsourcing your health - Power to the individual

On April 3, 2005 I read an article in the NY Times where Thomas Friedman proclaimed told us "Its a Flat World After All".

Check it out at

I read with fascination how changes in the developing economies of India and China was going to change the way the average American corporation did business. They could reduce costs and outsource work to the low cost and Surprise ! high quality factory floors and call centers in India.

So I read the article a couple of times and a few days later, drove to the nearest Barnes & Noble to buy a copy of his book. As I read the book, I realized that several of the advantages of Outsourcing were going to the large corporations. There had to be a way for the individual small person to benefit. That got me thinking.......

Now health care is the most ridiculously priced commodity as anyone who has looked at a simple bill for healthcare service purchased in the US. Since I was born in India, I got thinking if it might be possible to somehow outsource cheap but quality health care services from India. After all, most of my local doctors in the US were of Indian origin.

With this in mind, on my trips back to India, I did a lot of research and realized that some of the medical care available there was on par and sometimes better than that in the US. But how do I empower the average person in the US who has limited or no insurance to "Outsource" his health care??? Definitely any medical decision is highly complex and definitely going to India for medical care may not be for everyone.

To provide a free resource for anyone starting to think about going to India for healthcare, I created the web site Check it out !!!.....and let me know how we can keep improving.

this blog will try to add to the value of the web site by creating a community where members can post their experiences of obtaining healthcare in India.