Author: Renee-Marie Stephano
In its fifth year, the 5th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress (WMT & GHC) concluded with excitement and motivation towards furthering the growth of the medical tourism industry. The event welcomed 1,800 attendees from about 90 countries. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their wonderful positive feedback and comments about the success of the event.
Our goal as a Trade Association is to continuously grow the industry and serve our members. Our annual event serves as the perfect time to consolidate our work throughout the year and share the progress we achieved together as a vibrant niche industry. I would like to share with you the summary of this year’s congress:
More and more countries are searching for sustainable ways to improve their quality of care, promote their destinations and create connectivity with other nations. Our Ministerial Summit welcomed Ministers of Health, Tourism and Economic Development from different countries in the world who had the chance to share best practices, discuss philanthropic exchanges and find new research and networking opportunities. One critical component of this development involves data collection. Through the launch of the International Healthcare Research Center, the MTA focuses on market research, trends and analysis of the industry in order to provide the data necessary to better understand opportunities and assist in the development of sustainable health and wellness projects.
“I just wanted to drop a note thanking you and your staff for a fantastic conference and your wonderful hospitality during my stay in Florida. I have returned home with a tremendous amount of information to share with my colleagues. I look forward to working with the Medical Tourism Association in the future” U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism
This executive summit provided a lively and interactive platform for networking and thought leadership where U.S. and international hospitals as well as international insurance companies could network and share best practices.
“The Medical Director Summit had very practical agenda enabling the medical directors and insurance heads to discuss and network critical issues faced at work. Over all I had stimulating, enriching experience attending the summit which will help me better to apply myself at work back home in India.” Dr Pratiksha G Gandhi, Founder, IPC Heart Care Centre
Our certification workshops at the congress provided an educational platform for 64 attendees who will be certified as medical tourism and medical travel specialists. More and more individuals are interested in becoming a part of the industry and many come from a different field wishing to offer medical tourism to their clients. As a result, the MTA has decided to provide certifications in the Medical Tourism and Medical Travel fields who wish to base their approach to medical tourism on best practices.
“We had a great experience and we learned a lot during the congress and certification workshop. We are moving forward with enthusiasm and knowing we are on the right path.” Eileen de-Choudens Marketing & Service Manager MED TOURISM & CONSULTING INC.
For the first time, CME credits for medical tourism were offered to congress participants through a joint sponsorship with Dade County Medical Association. Several sessions covering topics such as managing patient perceptions, pre travel and pre operative procedures were available for congress attendees who participated.
Our training and certification programs for international and U.S. healthcare providers have been designed to improve protocols and practices for providing the best experience to international patients and increasing patient satisfaction. The workshop held at the congress focused on providing healthcare clusters and hospitals the tools to develop a sustainable program involving the stakeholders in the industry from the government officials and hotels to travel agencies.
We had the pleasure to award a selected group of leaders in the international healthcare industry during the congress. Due to the overwhelming amount of nominations received, we decided to extend the deadline for our Leadership Awards until December 31st 2012. Awards will be announced by January 31, 2013. We encourage everyone to submit their nominations to recognize the leaders in the medical tourism industry at http://awards.medicaltourismcongress.com/
The MTA is striving constantly to exceed consumers’ expectations and it has provided solutions requested by industry stakeholders. As a result, the organization launched a lobbying group to try to get the US Government to provide Medicare reimbursement for treatment overseas. For this purpose, the International Healthcare Consumers Coalition will work to develop international law for the benefit of the medical tourism industry. IHCC’s lobbyist’s received great response at the congress from many countries and healthcare clusters to drive overseas healthcare reimbursement from the US government. MTA will continue to build strong partnerships in the industry to ensure we continue to exceed the industry’s expectations.
I would like to close my message by inviting you to visit us in our new offices in South Florida as well as to share your feedback with us on MTA initiatives so that we can continue to improve our efforts for the benefit of the entire medical tourism industry.
Renée Marie Stephano
President Medical Tourism Association