Health + Tech | Medical tourism and health technology | News

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Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean have a virtually untapped resource in medical tourism. Of course, there are places that offer this, but the extent to which we could benefit from such an industry is massive and not really exploited.

We have focused a lot on health and wellness tourism. According to dobusinessjamaica.com in its “Health and Wellness Tourism” report: “The Global Spa and Wellness Summit estimates the size of the health and wellness market to be a global market of US $ 438.6 billion within the market larger tourism industry of US $ 3.2 trillion. He further estimated that the wellness tourism market would grow by 9.1% per year… which is higher than traditional tourism is expected to grow.

The report says the goal is for Jamaica to be able to carve out at least one percent of this market within five years. This would allow the country to earn a minimum of US $ 70 million per year and employ “at least 1,500 people”. If we achieve this target, it would mean substantial growth in this sector, which is also very profitable but still only meets a small part of our overall potential.

This, however, indicates that we have a vision and that we are moving in the right direction towards that vision. Adding medical tourism – when people travel abroad to access medical care – to these goals shouldn’t be a major problem.

The medical tourism market is huge. Globalnewswire.com reports that in 2020 it was generating US $ 102.6 billion in revenue. “The global medical tourism market is primarily driven by the growing demand for inexpensive treatments for various chronic diseases available in developing countries. Sometimes the treatment for certain diseases is quite expensive in the country of origin. Hence, in order to get cheap and advanced treatments, people opt for overseas visit.

It further states that according to Precedent Research, “the size of the global medical tourism market is expected to reach approximately US $ 286.1 billion by 2030 and with an expanding growth rate – a [compound annual growth rate], CAGR of 10.8% from 2021 to 2030 ”.

As we know, chronic noncommunicable diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and stroke, continue to be a challenge around the world. Jamaica is no exception, but we are uniquely positioned to provide holistic services not only in this department, but also for elective and aesthetic procedures. We have very talented health care workers. One of the downsides, although our services may be cheaper, is the ability to use health insurance as well as the speed of payment. This, along with the need to have an interconnected system, can be solved with technology.

Jamaica is ahead of the game as it uses real-time, online health insurance arbitrage – something not widely available or used around the world. This means that quick and easy links can be made with overseas insurance providers who wish to be part of the medical tourism industry. Patients will benefit from even lower costs and peace of mind, and providers will receive their payments quickly and efficiently.

INTERCONNECTED HEALTH SYSTEM

The next important thing would be to have an interconnected healthcare system that is technology-driven, accessible, reliable and interoperable. This system would lead to a strong electronic medical record system across countries so that every doctor has an appropriate medical history to ensure continuity of care and the best and most appropriate treatment possible. We have this technology in Jamaica and we would just have to expand its reach.

Our tourism industry is fully developed and is one of our most prosperous sectors. Coupled with this, a transition to medical tourism would be almost seamless. If the hospitality industry engages, we might also have recovery centers that are linked by technology. A patient’s information can be shared within Jamaica and sent back to their home country to their personal physician where they can continue care upon their return home.

This is the future and something that we can accomplish in a few years. We have all the necessary inputs, and I hope this will be part of the development goals of both tourism and health sectors.

– Doug Halsall is President and CEO of Advanced Integrated Systems. Email your comments to [email protected] and é[email protected]


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