MedicalTourismis emerging as a prime sector of the growing industry and contributing towards the social, economic and global development. It increases foreign exchange earnings and enhances employment opportunities, thus improving industrial growth, upgrading living standards and increasing destinations for medical tourism.
Medical tourism destinations have hospitals with well-equipped latest technology and highly qualified doctors or experts. These experts provide highly affordable, timely and quality medical treatment to medical tourists or patients. Great hospitality, quality treatment and travelling opportunities are major factors that attract people and promote medical tourism. These destinations thrive due to investments in quality healthcare infrastructure provided by government and private sector; accreditation in quality assurance, commitment and data transparency; desired clinical excellence; availability of skilled, trained and experienced medical staff; and adoption of state of the art of medical technology and practices.
The concept of medical tourism is still at its infancy stage in tourism and hospitality industry but gaining popularity in medical industry. The advantages associated with medical tourism are affordable standard healthcare procedures, reduced waiting periods for these procedures and availability of the latest state of the art medical technologies. Types of medical procedures available within medical tourism industry are bone marrow transplants, cardiac surgeries, eye surgery, orthopaedic surgery, cosmetic surgery, oncologic care or cancer therapy, dental care, reproductive procedures and alternative medicine. Medical tourism requires services of transportation, lodging and hospitality. Hospitality services like supply of accommodations, efficient and convenient business models, innovative design, amenities and services should be available to medical tourists.
Medical tourism industry improves economy, career opportunities and exchange of information. Medical tourism can also have beneficial impact on residents, businesses and government through unseasonal tourism and diverse consumer base leading to higher revenue. Increasing number of destinations for medical tourism strengthens the destination brand and increases economic activity. Medical tourism also attracts other industries such as medical equipment or diagnostic, pharmaceuticals, biotech, etc.
Some of the risk factors associated with travel for medical care are socio-economic limitations, crime and sanitary conditions of countries that need to be considered. Government intervention of issues related to infrastructure; restriction on visas; local cultural expectations and language barrier are required to be addressed at administration levels. Global health policy, patient outcomes and impact on destination countries affect the future research initiatives regarding healthcare activities and medical tourism location.
Hospitality in medical tourism
The emerging terrain of medical tourism is increasing and training professionals for careers in medical tourism is highly important. A collaboration or bridge between hospitality and medical tourism industry is necessary. Hospitality industry can offer a high level of professionalism, accommodations, advice and interpreters for translation. The expertise of hospitality professionals needs to be diverted towards medical tourism in efforts to build a skilled workforce. The best approach is to address the role of every multidisciplinary professional and partners in the medical and hospitality arena like social workers, physicians, nurses, dentists, physical therapists and others to serve the visitors. Medical tourism and hospitality program or courses are available that offer manpower training.
Courses and Training programs
As travel opportunities and medical tourism continues to increase, educators train graduates to manage medical hospitality establishments. Hospitality and medical tourism educationtrainingprograms have curriculum to provide appropriate training and skills to create professionals. Educators of medical and hospitality field provide students knowledge and skills required to manage expectations of patients.
Courses target medical hospitality services that include topics of social support network, safe and quality care of patient, healthcare policies, global patient services, global business and organizational management. The course content includes understanding cultural sensitivity of patient, marketing, international insurance, expatriate patient development, site-visitation, internship, excursion tours and hands on experience which helps the students. Specific needs related to marketing, visa processing, visa information, hotel logistics, language, cuisine, currency, weather and customs are also targeted.
Field visits to medical tourism sites provide hands on experience to associate with the tourist. Ethical legal practices of medical tourism industry and code of ethics of the country are addressed and feedbacks from students are collected in such programs. Development of the workforce through such courses can be delivered as certificate or continuous education program. Opportunities for students and educational requirements within medical tourism and hospitality training programs are addressed.
Online Course in Medical Tourism
James Lind Institute (JLI) provides an online program in Professional Diploma in medical tourism and healthcare marketing can help create more professionals for medical tourism and hospitality industry. JLI as offers an online Master of Science in Healthcare Management in collaboration with Universit telematica internazionale Uninettuno.
For more information please visit: www.jli.edu.in