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© 2011 Medical Travel Today
Medical Travel Today is a publication of CPR Strategic Marketing Communications, a public relations firm based near New York City that specializes in healthcare and life sciences, with an international clientele. CPR, its Partners, and clients are at the nexus of where medical travel is today, and where it will be tomorrow.

Publisher, Laura Carabello

Table of Contents

From the Editor

From the Editor: This week in Medical Travel Today, Amanda Haar

News in Review

2nd International Confab on Health Tourism underway in Iran

Patients Want To Access, Share Their Health Data, Studies Find

Oman Seeks Medical Tourists as Its Residents Become Tourists Themselves

Medical tourists flock to Seoul for cosmetic surgery

From the Editor

More From PepsiCo on their Medical Travel Benefit with Johns Hopkins Medicine

Spotlight
Nicole Serfontein, Towers Watson, Part One
Spotlight

Oguz Engiz, Medicana International Ankara Hospital, Part One

Industry News

Budget Travel Magazine Encourages Readers to Consider Medical Tourism - is it Worth It?

Industry News

Indian Hospital fire: Dark Side of Medical Tourism

Industry News

Fitness tourism could be new niche in market, says minister

Industry News

Matthew Hunt Appointed Managing Director, Health Services, Aetna International

Upcoming Events

The 3rd Annual International Medical Travel Conference

2012 Global Healthcare and Medical Tourism Conference: ‘Global Connected Care & 3rd MediTour Expo' Slated for May 6-8, 2012

EMTC 2012 Slated for April 25-27, 2012

Hotels Bridging Healthcare Conference Announced

WELL-BEING TRAVEL CONFERENCE
2012 OPENS REGISTRATION

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Global Health Voyager

THIS WEEK IN MEDICAL TRAVEL TODAY
Volume 5, Issue 26

by Amanda Haar, Editor

Greetings,

It's natural at the end of the year to reflect on all that's occurred in the past twelve months. Without a doubt, the medical travel industry gave us plenty to consider in 2011.

Fortunately, the good news over the past year, including broader acceptance of medical travel among consumers and employers and significant new partnerships, outweighed the bad. But it's from the unfortunate, and even tragic, events that we hopefully learn our lessons.

So what did we learn this year?

1. It's not enough to promise stellar care and service. Consistent, quality delivery is what ultimately matters. No pretty promise or package or lovely lobby will save you if the patient isn't safe or satisfied.
2. Perception is reality. What consumers are told about an industry is what they believe. If they believe it's unsafe and disorganized, then that's what it is. It's our job to consistently project and protect the right message about who and what we are.
3. Cooperation is key. Be it between governments, hospitals, insurers, employers, publishers, and organizations, cooperation is essential to our mutual success. It's a big, big world out there filled with potential patients and partners in every single country. If we all play nice, fair and honestly, success will be plentiful.

As always, we welcome your comments, story ideas and press releases.

Wishing a safe and happy Holiday and New Year to all,

Amanda Haar, Editor
ahaar@cpronline.com 

 

Introducing Medical Travel Today: Opinions and Perspectives on an Industry in the Making

Medical Travel Today - the authoritative newsletter for the worldwide medical travel industry - is pleased to announce publication of a new book, "Medical Travel Today: Opinions and Perspectives on an Industry in the Making." Featuring 40 of the newsletter's most compelling interviews from the first five years of publication, the volume chronicles the explosive growth of international medical tourism as witnessed and experienced by some of the key stakeholders and players. A must-read for anyone interested or involved in the industry.
Log onto Facebook and join the Medical Travel Today Group. Look for recent news, trends, and post discussions in the board. If you would like to see something in Medical Travel Today let us know in the discussion board. If you have a question, post it there!

You can also follow Medical Travel Today on Twitter. For more information log ontowww.medicaltraveltoday.com

Spotlight

From the Editor: More From PepsiCo on their Medical Travel Benefit with Johns Hopkins Medicine

In our last issue of Medical Travel Today we shared news of an exciting new partnership between PepsiCo, Inc. and Johns Hopkins Medicine. Through the arrangement, PepsiCo's domestic employees and their dependents - nearly 250,000 individuals - will be eligible to travel to the Baltimore facility for cardiac and complex joint replacement surgeries.

In speaking about the decision to pursue domestic medical travel, Bruce Monte, Jr., Senior Director, Health & Welfare Plans at PepsiCo, stated, "We don't feel geography should be an impediment to receiving the finest in medical care. Cardiac surgery and joint replacements are significant, complex and costly enough to warrant travel to a world-class system like Johns Hopkins. These procedures also show a wide variation in quality of care depending on facility. We're excited that we can offer the best care in the world to our employees and their families across the country."

In an effort to promote the opportunity to employees, PepsiCo has developed a comprehensive communication program to both employees and Human Resource teams. Monte notes, "The benefit was announced during our annual enrollment period this fall as part of the 2012 benefits changes. Communication included HR training, employee meeting presentations and a print enrollment guide mailed to the homes of all employees. We are also featuring the travel surgery benefit in a promotional brochure that employees will receive in early January."

PepsiCo intends to position the benefit as one of the "exceptional extras" that PepsiCo provides employees.

Currently, the PepsiCo benefit provides care only at Johns Hopkins' Baltimore facility, but additional domestic and international care locations are a possibility for the future.

Monte states, "PepsiCo's arrangement with Johns Hopkins is our first foray in this area. As we evaluate the results of this initial program, we will look for opportunities to further develop it-either by adding surgical procedures, expanding to other, premier healthcare facilities, or including PepsiCo employees outside the U.S. Depending on how we expand the program, working with international healthcare facilities may be an option."

But for now, PepsiCo is very pleased with the choice of Johns Hopkins as a provider.

"The decision to go with Johns Hopkins was influenced by its perennial status as a premier facility for cardiac and orthopedic care, as well as the fact that Johns Hopkins is already a well-known name in PepsiCo communities across the country," says Monte. "PepsiCo has had a relationship with Johns Hopkins since 2003, when we opened our first on-site wellness clinic in Baltimore. Today, Johns Hopkins manages and staffs 36 of our on-site wellness clinics across the country."

About Bruce Monte, Jr.



Bruce Monte, Jr., Senior Director, Health & Welfare Plans at PepsiCo, Inc.

Bruce Monte, Jr. is the Senior Director, Health & Welfare Plans at PepsiCo, Inc. In this position, he is responsible for the design and administration of PepsiCo's U.S. healthcare, insurance and disability plans covering almost 250,000 employees and family members.

Before taking on his current role, Bruce served as Senior Director, Retirement Plans, with responsibility for PepsiCo's U.S. pension, savings and retiree medical programs. Prior to joining PepsiCo in 2005, he spent 17 years as an actuary and benefits consultant with several global HR firms. Bruce graduated with degrees in Chemical Engineering from Yale (B.S., cum laude) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.S.C.E.P.). He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute on Health Care Costs and Solutions, of the National Business Group on Health.

Spotlight

 

Nicole Serfontein, Towers Watson, Part One

Medical Travel Today (MTT): Tell us about yourself and your experience with medical travel.

Nicole Serfontein (NS): I'm South African and after practicing law and consulting in the private health sector, I spent a few years in the U.K., where I reviewed health systems and the delivery of private healthcare services in Europe and Asia in relation to medical travel and expat business travelers.

When we talk about medical travel, we are addressing a broad concept. An important point to consider is that various segments of an organization's employee population are likely to be impacted by business travelers, the expat community, including third country nationals, and key local nationals.

With businesses continuing to expand operations into different markets, more people are travelling or relocating to different countries. Chronic conditions are growing in prevalence, especially those related to lifestyle behaviors, and there is significant variation in the access and quality of services in healthcare systems across the world.

Clearly, some countries do have good healthcare systems and others don't -- either because there's a lack of financial or healthcare resources, or there's insufficient qualified staff or facilities in a particular region.

Whatever the cause may be, there's a number of reasons for Corporate to make sure that their employees and dependents are covered adequately when accessing and receiving care in another country.

As part of the assessment to determine the need for international medical coverage, the type of benefits and the term of the policy, employers need to consider both the duration and reasons for travel. From a risk management perspective, I think it's absolutely critical that employers identify their "mobile population," the destination and the healthcare context of the destination. It's important to assess the environments of the host country - especially in comparison to the home country.

If employees or their family members access healthcare services or products outside the US, we know there is the potential for less than optimal outcomes, which could lead to intensive intervention or disability. This could potentially have significant ramifications for an employer.

MTT: If you were talking to an employer, how would you recommend that they select either the country or the provider that they would be sending their employee to?

NS: It's not necessarily a case of selecting the host country because primarily that is driven by business priorities. The employer will have a strategic reason for employees to be travelling or relocating to a particular location.

MTT: Not necessarily. If they are looking at saving money, particularly in the self-funded market, they are now looking at medical travel. They may be investigating opportunities to save significant dollars on particular procedures. Are you familiar with that?

NS: There are cases where US employers have sent an employee to receive medical treatment in a different country due to cost reasons. But this is less common and unrelated to business strategy or market growth.

In terms of saving money, fewer US employers have embraced medical travel because of certain risks in terms of taxation, labor issues and employee liability concerns. Sometimes, these considerations outweigh the actual cost savings, even though the treatment itself is less expensive. Complex operations carried out in another country without an immediate local support system carries unknown implications.

Also, healthcare reform is sure to change the dynamics surrounding cost and delivery of quality of care in the US, which could affect medical travel.

Another consideration is the fact that medical inflation is increasing rapidly in a number of countries. While prices aren't at the level of those in the US, an employer shouldn't consider less expensive access to care as the sole factor. Instead, proactive, long-term thinking strategies are required to control costs.

MTT: What do you think the international healthcare community of hospitals/providers could do to raise the level of confidence that US employers have in their health systems? Do we need international benchmarks for quality, outcomes or infection control? Do we need to have an international medical travel association that would address these issues?

NS:  I think this is an important issue that is being recognized by many countries. International public health bodies, such as the World Health Organization, assess the quality of health systems and services to evaluate their overall performance, advantages and gaps.

Within the private sector, there are private insurance carriers that credential health facilities or providers for their clients or members. They often have an internal case or medical management team that will look at quality of services and the qualifications of providers.

Their goal is to elevate the quality of care or, at the very least, review the level of services and products to measure and compare against care in the US. In addition, the JCI makes assessments at the global level.

MTT: There are 350 JCI-accredited hospitals internationally -- so it's a growing number.

NS: Yes, which is good, and JCI appears to be playing a stronger role in the international arena.

Part Two of this interview will be featured in our next issue, Volume 6, Issue 1

About Nicole Serfontein
Nicole Serfontein has worked in New York, London and South Africa, where she was a practicing attorney in the commercial and financial services industry. Currently, she is a senior consultant in Towers Watson's International Practise in Washington, DC. Nicole is tasked with co-leading the global health initiative for North America and has consulted on health insurance and related matters for many multinational companies, government and plan trustees.

In 2003, she was appointed by the Minister of Finance in South Africa to the South African Financial Services Board to draft and comment on regulations to the Financial Services Advisory Act.

Nicole provides strategic consulting advice to multinational employers regarding global health programs, and consults to vendors to develop their global products. She has over 13 years of experience in the commercial financial services and healthcare sectors. The nature and scope of her assignments include:

  • Market assessments and analysis of healthcare systems in key geographies for US vendors to develop global products and services relating to expatriate health plans and wellness programs for local workforces
  • Designing global health and wellness strategies, governance frameworks and engagement/communication plans (including development of the Corporate business case to senior leaders, review of country data and cost and funding mechanisms, vendor procurement and negotiation and multi-country program implementation) for predominantly European and US Multinationals
  • Regional assessment of HIV/AIDS provision and delivery in African continents, with deep expertise in South African legislation, delivery and financing
  • Retiree Health Plan market assessment for the largest Indonesian private sector employer
  • Design and implementation of expatriate health plans for European and US Headquarters

Nicole is an admitted attorney in South Africa and completed her Master in Laws in International Trade at Stellenbosch University (South Africa) and also her second Master in Laws in Global Health Law and Policy at Georgetown University Law Centre (USA). She taught the global health session on behalf of the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) for its course in International Benefits.

Contact:
Towers Watson
901 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA, 22203 T +1 703 258 8286 M +1 703 975 6697 F +1 703 258 8093
Nicole.Serfontein@towerswatson.com

Spotlight

Oguz Engiz, Medicana International Ankara Hospital, Part One

Oguz Engiz, CEO, Medicana International Ankara Hospital

Medical Travel Today (MTT): Prior to joining Medicana you were involved in the World Bank health project. Can you explain what that is?

Oguz Engiz (OE): World Bank Health projects can be seen in many different places around the world – Mexico, Chile, Bulgaria, Albania, Georgia and Turkey to name a few.

These are BIG projects. In fact, the World Bank spent nearly 400 million US dollars on them in just 10 years.

The money is basically used to help develop a country or region's capacity and healthcare management expertise, and to develop infrastructure. It doesn't go towards actual bricks and mortar but is often used to help develop architectural plans and vision, and for the training of managers.

MTT: What attracted you to the opportunity at Medicana International Ankara Hospital?

OE: Well, I've been here from the very beginning. In fact, I arrived at the planning stages, and one of the key priorities of the construction was to make sure it was done in line with JCI standards. It was imperative that everything be done to the highest standard of quality and efficiency. And to start a project with that type of vision, well, that was exciting.

The result is a comprehensive private hospital. The caliber of medicine being practiced here seriously rivals the world's best facilities.

We perform kidney, liver and bone marrow transplants. There's chemotherapy, advanced IMRT, nuclear medicine, interventional radiology, IVF… almost everything being done in modern medicine is being done here by truly talented professionals. We have 700 staff members, 200 beds, several operating theaters, significant outpatient capacity, and state-of-the-art equipment. In fact, some of our equipment simply cannot be found anywhere else in this part of the world.

MTT: I'm curious, was medical travel part of the initial vision?

OE: Without a doubt. Medical travel has been a subject of growing interest in Turkey for the past 10 years. To start, we were getting patients from Albania. That's now broadened to include Georgia, Azerbaijan, central Asia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyrstan, Tajikistan - all the –stan countries! 

We staffed and structured to address language and food issues but, unlike other hospitals that simply have international patient departments, we wanted instead to build a world-class facility and to behave like a university hospital. This makes us unique and attracts attention beyond Turkey. People in the region are now looking at us for advanced, quality care.

For example, we offer open-heart surgery, EPS, ablation, ICDs and interventional radiology. We also offer types of brain surgeries that you can't get elsewhere in this part of the world.

MTT: In terms of priorities, where does medical travel fall on your list?

OE: It's very important. Just this week we spoke with a group from Algeria that wants to send hundreds of patients per month for radiotherapy. We appeal to them because we have the treatment and direct flights from some Algerian cities. The talks were very positive and now we are negotiating costs and details. It's likely some of these patients will need long-term outpatient accommodations -- more than 15 days. As it happens we have provided guesthouses for those types of situations. This is something they now want included in their costs. We're happy to do that.

Recently we've also received a considerable number of patients from Libya and northern Iraq. Baghdad, too, but that's principally for pediatric cardiac surgery. In that case, they have solid adult cardiac centers but nothing in the way of pediatric care.

MTT: How many international patients do you currently treat annually and from where do they come and for what purpose?

OE: We see nearly 1,000 international patients a year. And, to be clear, that figure does not include expats.

As I mentioned, we see people from Albania, Georgia, Algeria, Iraq, Libya, the –stans. These folks mostly come for organ and bone marrow transplants, or for open-heart procedures.

We also see a good number of patients from Holland, Germany and England. The draw for them tends to be eye surgery and dental care.

MTT: You have dental within the hospital?

OE: Oh, yes, as well as IVF, physical therapy, rehabilitation and hemodialysis. We really tried to create a complete facility here with a standard of care that can't be matched.

Part Two of this interview will be featured in our next issue, Volume 6, Issue 1

About Oguz Engiz

Oguz Engiz was instrumental in several key World Bank health projects between 1992-1996. Since 1996 he has been an executive in the private hospital sector at facilities, including Bayındır Medical Center and Mesa Hospital, and now serves as CEO at Medicana International Ankara Hospital, Ankara's largest private hospital.

He is a frequent lecturer on Strategfile

ic Hospital Management at universities and has participated in national and international conferences on hospital management.

In addition, he chairs Health Volunteers (Turkey) and serves as publisher of hospitalmanager journal.

Engiz can be reached at oengiz@medicana.com.tr



Industry News

Budget Travel Magazine Encourages Readers to Consider Medical Tourism - is it Worth It?

Editor's Note: Budget Travel kicks off the New Year with a story on medical travel and what consumers need to consider. Penned by Fran Golden, the piece explores key issues and considerations surrounding medical travel and even provides a brief cost comparison chart.

Industry News

Indian Hospital fire: Dark Side of Medical Tourism

If even one of India's shining new hospitals for the elite can be ravaged by fire, what can we expect from the crumbling government institutions for the poor?

Globalpost.com-For foreign "medical tourists" and a tiny fraction of the Indian elite, shining urban hospitals treat patients with the latest in diagnostic and surgical procedures. Multi-room suites and platinum waiting lounges rival five star hotels or, at least, European airports for opulence. But a recent hospital fire that killed 96 patients at Kolkata's AMRI Hospital shows just how hollow those institutions can be behind the facade, writes the Globe and Mail's Stephanie Nolen.

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

Fitness tourism could be new niche in market, says minister

bermudasun.bm-Fitness tourism could be a new niche market for Bermuda, Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert said yesterday.

Furbert added: "There are a lot of things we are talking about - we have had a meeting with people who want to bring fitness tourism here, and that's promising.
We have also been talking about medical tourism, and we're also talking about bringing arbitration business to Bermuda - making the island a center for arbitration meetings."

Furbert revealed the new niche areas as he announced that Spanish-based consultants Travel and Leisure Advisory Services had won the contract to develop the National Tourism Plan.

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

Matthew Hunt Appointed Managing Director, Health Services, Aetna International

Appointment underscores Aetna's commitment to improve health outcomes and reduce overall cost in the global markets in which Aetna operates

BUSINESS WIRE--Aetna (NYSE: AET), a leading global diversified healthcare benefits company, announced today that Matthew Hunt has been appointed managing director, Health Services, of Aetna International. In this role, Hunt will focus on further expanding Aetna's Health Management Services business, which uses clinical analytics and wellness programs to help improve healthcare quality and outcomes for governments and corporate employers around the globe. Hunt's responsibilities will include the existing UK health management business that delivers healthcare management solutions and commissioning support services for the NHS.

To continue reading click here.

Upcoming Events

The 3rd Annual International Medical Travel Conference

 

The 3rd Annual International Medical Travel Conference will be held on April 23rd-25th 2012. This year's host hotel will be the beautiful five-star Inter-Continental Hotel located in Escazu, just outside San Jose, Costa Rica.

This Medical Travel Conference in Costa Rica offers an excellent opportunity for insurance company executives, employee benefit managers, health underwriters, insurance agents, third-party administrators, and anyone interested in medical or dental travel to experience first hand what the hospitals, dental clinics and physicians of Costa Rica and other Latin American countries have to offer. The past conferences have developed many new business opportunities with foreign buyers searching for quality dental and medical care at affordable prices.

The International Medical Travel Conference is sponsored by The Council for International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine (PROMED) and the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT). Massimo Manzi, Executive Director of PROMED, stated, "Costa Rica is proud to host the 3rd International Medical Travel Conference, and this event has grown every year. We expect more than 500 people to attend this year and we have upgraded the location using the five star Inter-Continental Hotel."

"If you're considering Medical Tourism for yourself, your company or your clients, the Medical Travel Conference in Costa Rica is the only Medical Tourism conference you need to attend," said Tim Morales of Costa Rican Medical Tourism. "After the short flight to Costa Rica, you will visit the hospitals and dental clinics and meet the dentists, doctors and their staffs. You need to see, feel and touch the quality of care Costa Rica offers for yourself. This is something you cannot experience in a convention hall in the states."

There is special early bird pricing for the first 20 people who sign up for this event. This savings opportunity is limited, and early enrollment is encouraged.


2012 Global Healthcare and Medical Tourism Conference: ‘Global Connected Care & 3rd MediTour Expo' Slated for May 6-8, 2012

MediTour Expo announced its 2012 Global Healthcare and Medical Tourism Conference: "Global Connected Care & 3rd MediTour Expo," will be held May 6-8, 2012, at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

This two-day conference will feature specialized topics on the globalization of healthcare. Leading technology and healthcare professionals will come together to present and discuss new global healthcare strategies, the latest trends in telemedicine and technology applications as well as insurance and quality issues. The conference will showcase presentations by some of global healthcare's most influential leaders including Dr. Jay Sanders, M.D., FACP, FACAAI, president and CEO of the Global Telemedicine Group, adjunct professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and founding board member and president emeritus of the American Telemedicine Association. Expecting to draw delegates from all around the world, this event is a must for those looking to increase contacts in the international healthcare industry.

The conference will also offer exhibit halls, discussion panels and workshops and numerous networking opportunities throughout.

According to Ian Jacobs, CEO of MediTour Expo and Arlen Meyers, M.D., MBA, president of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, this conference will provide education, business opportunities and a networking forum for the global healthcare and medical tourism Industry while identifying and removing barriers to adoption and diffusion. 

Below are some of the event's highlights:

  • Global Physician Referral Networks and Patient Care - How to Build a Global Practice 
  • Self-Funded Insurance Groups -- Providing Healthcare Travel Alternatives
  • M-health, Telemedicine and Electronic Healthcare Information Platforms
  • Business Processes and Advanced Global Healthcare Marketing Strategies
  • Integrating Global Healthcare Technologies with Medical Travel  
  • Legal Issues in Global Care
  • Workshops in Global Practice Management, Insurance Reimbursement & Payment, Business Processes, and Legal & Regulatory issues in Global Care
  • Private meeting rooms for business meetings

For information and registration, visit http://meditourexpo.net. For sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, email: Joanne@meditourexpo.net.


Hotels Bridging Healthcare Conference Announced

Registration is now open for June 2012 Hotels Bridging Healthcare conference

Registration is now open for Hotels Bridging Healthcare (H2H), a conference on hotel, wellness and medical tourism entrepreneurship designed to provide an overview of medical tourism today and the future and concept of H2H with wellness spas.

Organized by co-chairs Ali Poorani and Frederick DeMicco of the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management at the University of Delaware, the conference will focus on the development, operation and branding of medical tourism services developed between hotels, resorts and medical facilities.

The conference will be held Saturday, June 16, through Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz Wellbeing and Medical Health Center in Switzerland. Participants can register online using the conference website

Other agenda items include panel presentations and discussions on the operational model of Bad Ragaz, the branding of cities and towns for medical tourism, financial and investment issues, potential infrastructure and legal issues and the impact on doctor/patient communication.

Max Koppel, M.D., clinical associate professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, has collaborated with Poorani and DeMicco and will preside as the H2H conference medical advisor.

According to Koppel, "the conference will advance the international availability of the highest quality care with fewer bureaucratic barriers. The conference will also focus on patient dignity, safety and expanded freedom of choice through the hospitality concept," said Koppel.

The conference is sponsored by Hospitality Associates for Research and Training (HART); the University of Delaware; the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics; the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management; and the College of Health Sciences.


WELL-BEING TRAVEL CONFERENCE 2012 OPENS REGISTRATION


Ground-Breaking Event Merges Health, Wellness and Medical Industries with Travel Sellers Around the Globe

Registration is now open for the ground-breaking "Well-Being Travel Conference 2012" which will take place on June 19-21, 2012, at The Phoenician luxury resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. (www.well-beingtravelconference.com). The three-day event is positioned to make a major impact on the global health, wellness and medical travel industries because, for the first time, medical and wellness representatives will be placed face-to-face with travel providers and travel sellers who have worldwide customer databases.

Participants from around the world are expected to attend, including key representatives from medical facilities, hospitals, dental facilities, spa/wellness facilities, insurance companies, tourist boards, travel agencies, and travel providers (including hotels and resorts, airlines, tour operators, cruise lines, car rental companies and ancillary travel services).

The co-sponsors of the event are Well-Being Travel (the go-to resource for medical and wellness travel) and Travel Market Report (an online travel trade publication that represents the voice of travel sellers worldwide).

"There are a variety of medical travel events being offered in the marketplace today, but none of them has yet provided a solution for a strong distribution system that effectively reaches consumers," said Anne Marie Moebes, Executive Vice President of Well-Being Travel. "That system must include: travel sellers who are already booking all types of travel for their dedicated clients; destinations who want to promote their countries to medical travelers; hospitals and doctors who provide the procedures and pre/post medical care; wellness practitioners who administer alternative treatments; and travel industry suppliers who need to understand what products and services this special market segment needs. The Well-Being Travel Conference 2012 brings together all the key players for the greatest benefit of patient travelers."


The event will explore medical and wellness tourism opportunities and set a direction for the future of this specialty market. Speakers from the world's best health and travel organizations will educate and motivate on topics such as:

- Marketing and sales strategies to effectively reach consumers
- Setting global accreditation standards
- How Ministries of Health and Ministries of Tourism can work together to boost the economy
- Insights from actual patient travelers
- Future of wellness and medical travel product innovations
- Growth in preventive wellness treatments abroad
- Trends in employee health benefits programs

At the Well-Being Travel Conference 2012, resources will be provided so that participants from every segment of each industry involved in medical and wellness travel will depart from the event with an action plan to implement specialized travel offerings.

An early bird registration rate will be available through January 31, 2012. To find out more about attending the Well-Being Travel Conference 2012 or participating as a sponsor, visit www.well-beingtravelconference.com or contact Debbie Press (888-854-0339 or dpress@well-beingtravel.com).

Situations Wanted


Win a free copy of Patients Beyond Borders, Second Edition



Congrats to this
issue's winner:

Dana Turner, Dana J. Turner Insurance Services, Inc.


News in Review

2nd International Confab on Health Tourism underway in Iran

A growing number of Muslim countries are discovering the benefits of medical tourism. That's why in the Second International Conference on Health Tourism in Iran, the participants agreed to set up a regional network to facilitate medical tourism in Muslim countries.

Patients Want To Access, Share Their Health Data, Studies Find

Patients want the ability to access and share their electronic health information, but some physicians are wary of the idea, according to two studies published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Reuters reports.

Oman Seeks Medical Tourists as Its Residents Become Tourists Themselves

As Oman positions itself as a medical tourism destination, the country faces a significant challenge: How to keep its own citizens from going abroad to seek treatments.
Medical tourism - using foreign healthcare - is one alternative that patients pursue typically to get cheaper or more advanced treatments not offered in their home country.

Medical tourists flock to Seoul for cosmetic surgery
USAToday-The Mao suits and high-sided haircut are easily copied, but the facial similarity between Kim Jung Un and grandfather Kim Il Sung has for months sparked rumors in South Korea that the third and latest Kim to helm North Korea underwent surgery to mirror the nation's "Eternal President."


Editor's Note: The information in Medical Travel Today is believed to be accurate, but in some instances, may represent opinion or judgment. The newsletter's providers do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any of the information and shall not be liable for any loss or damage caused – directly or indirectly – by or from the information. All information should be considered a supplement to – and not a substitute for – the care provided by a licensed healthcare provider or other appropriate expert. The appearance of advertising in this newsletter should in no way be interpreted as a product or service endorsement by the newsletter's providers.