Author: Daniel Pyne
With the continued growth of the industry and mounting consumer demand for international healthcare solutions, medical tourism professionals can expect to see more career opportunities substantially increase over the next 10 years and currently enjoy rewarding careers working in the healthcare and travel fields including, but not limited to:
- Clinical settings, such as hospitals and private medical and dental clinics
- Medical tourism facilitators
- Health insurance companies
- Marketing departments
- Travel agencies
- Educational institutions
However, as the industry becomes more mature and specialized, expect new opportunities to emerge in the public and private sectors, such as in the areas of tourism, law, and finance.
The industry is constantly evolving
Medical tourism is constantly evolving, with many factors swaying the flow of patients across borders. These changes include:
- New government policies
- The implementation of new best practices
- Disruption caused by up and coming medical tourism destinations
- New treatment options
- New medical technologies
- Changing legal and ethical concerns
- Political instability, terrorism, infectious diseases
With so many factors influencing medical tourism at both a macro and micro level, it is critical for professionals working in the industry to invest the time and attention necessary to stay abreast of the rapidly changing marketplace. They must also have the insight to understand what the changes mean within the context of their own organizations and their target populations.
This makes it essential that leaders continue to develop new skill sets and gain a deeper understanding of all of the forces affecting medical tourism, without losing sight of the big picture.
Employers and clients are looking for experts
The ability to position yourself as an expert in a particular area is increasingly valuable. For companies, hiring or contracting out to specialists can provide them with a competitive advantage. Consider the role of a doctor. A doctor who pursues an internal medicine or family practice will probably not be as profitable as a doctor who gains additional training in a specialized health care field like cardiology or orthopedics. Likewise, if you have specialized as a medical tourism professional – regardless of your stated profession, you have a greater opportunity to differentiate yourself from your peers and competitors.
The importance of the patient experience
Over the last decade there has been a dramatic rise in the number of internationally accredited medical facilities and even more explosive growth in the number of medical tourism facilitators promoting their services, unfortunately, few of these organizations possess trained medical tourism professionals to manage the international patient experience.
While successful treatment outcomes are very important, buyers of healthcare such as governments, insurance companies, employers and individual patients are increasingly seeking providers who can also deliver a consistently high-quality international patient experience.
The patient experience can be defined as: the perception that patients/prospects have of their interactions (direct or indirectly) with an organization. These interactions can occur on a website, in person or can be impacted by cultural and language barriers. However, a great patient experience doesn’t just happen out of the blue; it requires the implementation of a unique care path by someone who understands the medical tourism process and the needs and expectations of international patients.
Medical tourism professionals who can ensure the seamless integration of quality, safety, and service, at all touch points along the healthcare/hospitality continuum of care, will be in high demand as medical tourism becomes even more commonplace in the coming years.