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© 2012 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

HealthCare Consumerism Radio Announces Launch of IHC University Free Webinar Series

Domestic Medical Tourism in US Reviewed in New Study

Medical Tourism and Travel: What it Means for Your Hospital


Andy Weissberg, CEO, DotHealth

Industry News

Buyer beware: the hidden cost of stem cell tourism

For Medical Tourists, Can Dental Costs be too Low?

TravelMarketReport: More Destinations Poised for Medical Tourism Growth

Historic Conference a Milestone for Medical Travel Industry

Passport2Health Launches Pioneering Private Medical Coverage Combining Private UK Diagnostics with Private Treatment Abroad

Thailand Medical Tourism Market and Future Forecast Report Now Available

Medical Travel Today Publisher Laura Carabello on The Rise of a Global Healthcare System


Upcoming Events

The IHC FORUM: Your Guide on the Journey to HealthCare Consumerism

5th Annual Middle East Healthcare Expansion Summit

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Global Health Voyager

Volume 6, Issue 13

by Amanda Haar, Editor


Safety is and has always been a key issue in the world of healthcare and medical travel. While most of our efforts tend to focus on safety and the point of delivery, one organization is doing its part to bring a new level of safety to many medical travelers' first step: the search.

As reported in our last issue, US-based DotHealth has applied to establish .health as a generic top-level domain (gTLD). In doing so, DotHealth aims to create a safer, more secure environment for both consumers and global health stakeholders from a variety of fields.

In this issue we're pleased to present an exclusive interview with DotHealth CEO Andy Weissberg in which we delve deeper into how the organization intends an all-new level of security to Web searches.

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


Amanda Haar, Editor

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!

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Andy Weissberg, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, DotHealth

Andy Weissberg, CEO, DotHealth

Editor's Note: Our last issue included a news release regarding DotHealth, LLC's application to establish .health as a generic top-level domain (gTLD) with the intent of providing a safer and more secure online namespace for global health stakeholders. This week we're pleased to feature an interview with Andy Weissberg, co-founder and CEO of DotHealth, and share a bit more about the process of establishing .health and what it could mean to medical travel and all aspects of the healthcare industry.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): First, best of luck with your application. Can you share a bit about the process and timing for actually making .health available to the healthcare industry?

Andy Weissberg (AW): The application process is complex and far from complete. For .health to become available, ICANN first has to delegate the registry rights to an applicant. In fact, there are actually several other entities vying for the .health gTLD. What sets us apart from them and, I hope, will ultimately result in our securing it is the fact that we're the only industry-facing applicant with a healthcare background, with industry support and industry endorsement. The other players are financially oriented or pure technology players. Of course, finances will play a role here but lots can happen prior to a delegation decision being made by ICANN.

As for the process, the way it works is that each entity applies to ICANN, which is governing this process. When you apply, you are initially asked to specify the type of gTLD you are intending to bring to market and to explain the various approaches you'll take in supporting your registry model. Your TLD could be geographic, government, standard or community-based. Unlike in a "standard" TLD, where eligibility criteria don't apply, for example, in its TLD application for .pharmacy, the NABP specifies that only authorized online pharmacies that meet all regulatory standards are eligible to register in the .PHARMACY namespace. It's a closed community. Where there may be some commonality among one or more gTLDs is on policies for acceptable use, but across the 1,900 plus applications that were filed, the criteria for registrations and use could be quite variant depending on the actual strings or applicants involved.

In your application there are many different criteria you have to meet and pass - dozens of questions and requirements that roll up into three key areas - financial, technical and operational. This "test" takes at least nine months and could take as long as 20 months in the event of an extended evaluation. If one or more applicants successfully pass the test, if they survive string contention or objections, they have a limited period of time to work out a deal - but only one entity gets delegated. Otherwise, it goes to auction. And in that scenario, let's just say that a few marketing VP's might have to adjust their marketing plans and budgets!

Prior to an auction scenario, there's an objection process during which anyone, including non-applicants, can object to any particular application based on various grounds.

1.) The first is the GAC (Government Advisory Committee) Early Warning.
Representatives of nearly every major country serve on GAC and if they, by consensus, determine your string is harmful or not in the best interest of users they can file an early warning with the ICANN Board, which would either remove you from contention or force you to consider exiting the process of your own accord.

2.) The second is a limited public interest objection. Basically, an independent evaluator can file that your intent is "contrary to generally accept legal norms." It's pretty much a moral judgment call that keeps profanities and vulgarities from being used as strings.

3.) There's also the legal rights objection. This applies in a trademark situation so that someone who is not affiliated with a trademarked name can't use the name. It shouldn't be an issue for .health, although other criteria along these lines may present complexity.

4.) Then there's Community objection. This is when an applicant or another entity representing the community that your string targets could suggest that you don't represent the interests of that community.

Since .health is being applied for by four applicants, while each applicant now comprises a "contention set" there is also the possibility of "string confusion." This is applies when an applied-for gTLD character string is so similar to an existing TLD or to another applied-for gTLD string that it's likely to result in user confusion.

The potential objections are extremely complex but strikingly simple.

MTT: Let's assume the best and that you clear all the necessary hurdles. What happens next?

AW: If we make it through string contention and the dispute resolution process, we would then transition to delegation as the registry operator. In connection with our launch, by mandate, we would have to organize and execute a "sunrise" period in which only rights holders can register names for a minimum 60-day timeframe. That is, the holder of a trademark name can first register to use the .health string so as long as they've entered the Trademark Clearinghouse, which is a new and major improvement in the world of domain names that protects rights holders. After that, the next phase, which is known as "landrush," begins and standard registrations are available, as well as premium names.

MTT: What happens if someone wants to register something like, say, yoga.health?

AW: As a registry, we can set aside and reserve names that are not trademarked. Yoga.health is one of 10,000 generic health-related terms that we plan to reserve, and can release or sell on a premium basis.

Since our goal is to create a safe name space that protects users and registrants, offers a higher standard of acceptable use, and works to prohibit online fraud and crime, we're taking care to protect specific terms like Yoga.health.

What we don't want is names like cancer.health or diabetes.health going to the wrong type of user. Towards that, we've identified a request for information ("RFI") process in which we will request information from prospective applicants who will be invited to tell us how they plan to use the name. For example, how the name will be positioned or used in support of patient education campaigns, advertising or marketing programs or otherwise, as well as how the applicant intends to comply with our policies as well as other policies that may exist in regulatory or industry standards. That will help ensure that we place the names in the hands of the right people, and then it gets to the public.

Ultimately, it behooves us to make sure that the caliber of registrants is very high and credible. The more credible the users and the more the names are used, the better it is for all .health registrants.

MTT: So for those in the medical travel field, how soon can we apply to use .health?

AW: The earliest we will be able to launch the .health registry is Q2 2013. During that time a lot can happen so it could be longer, although it is reasonable that we would launch sometime in 2013 if we are delegated.

MTT: And what do you feel the opportunity or value of the string is for medical travel?

AW: The value - and this applies to any string, not just .health - is a semantic one.
There's a semantic nature to every string. It signals some relationship of the entity to the name. It's a semantic value proposition that didn't really exist before. You're not just destination.com but destination.health, or facilityname.org but facilityname.health. It's an opportunity to leverage a memorable domain name that signals a focus or emphasis on health.

Although Google and other search engines haven't been completely clear about this, it's inevitable that they will weight gTLDs in a way that hasn't been done before. Sure, authoritative content, links and other basic SEO rules will continue to apply, but we expect that gTLDs will have an influence how things are indexed and revealed to searchers in their discovery process. And, because there will be hundreds of new gTLDs to index, being semantically relevant will certainly play a role in distinguishing authoritative health content from its alternatives.

With .health there are many propositions for many stakeholder segments in medical travel. For example, restaurants or hotel chains that have a medical travel business and marketing agenda could use .health to semantically stamp and position their medical travel services and create a shorter and more memorable way for making them discoverable and accessible to target audiences.

I anticipate that there's going to be a ton of travel industry folks including regions, countries and cities interested in being part of .health. I foresee a lot of directory oriented businesses and models eventually using third level names. You might have travel.health preceded by a hotel name, say, hilton.travel.health. That concept expands even further to include things like stemcells.travel.health, and so on.

Health is so broad with so many segments - hospitals, service providers, surgeons, hotels, countries, pharmaceuticals, etc. - so it's likely they will all have an interest in leveraging the semantic value alone.

MTT: While I appreciate that there's a lot of legitimate use and value to be had, how do you prevent unwanted or misuse of .health?

AW: That's a great question, and it's an important issue for us because you can't take the integrity of the string for granted.

To that end, and to ensure the safety and protection of the registry, we have two huge layers of vigilance.

The first is Neustar, which is our back-end provider and also backing the Company's efforts on .heath. At the enterprise level, we will be utilizing Neustar's Cyber-threat mitigation and monitoring service. There is a dual human-machine driven process that aggressively monitors all activity and behavior in the registry and specifically the DNS. For example, if someone tries to use a .health name to execute a phishing scam or a malware attack they'll be shut down and subject to legal punishment. Neustar already works closely with law enforcement throughout the world and is at the forefront of registry security, which was just part of the reason we chose to work with them as opposed to other registry providers. Taking down rogue online pharmacy sites is a complex issue that requires lots of coordination, although not something we'll tolerate in .health.

In addition, we have an exclusive deal for the .health TLD with Legitscript, a verification and monitoring service for online pharmacies that is utilized by major search engines like Google and is endorsed by the NABP and others in the healthcare space who are working together to fight health-related fraud and abuse. LegitScript helped us to establish our proposed policies for acceptable use and will work hand-in-hand with Neustar and our entire team to provide an added layer of monitoring and intelligence safeguards that protect end-users and brands. No other domain name registry has adopted this type of approach before, but we see it as essential, especially as we grow. It takes us one step closer to achieving the goal of safety and making the string available to the community. Fortunately, it won't make .health unaffordable and will play an important role in distinguishing .health as a safer alternative to other current and future TLD options. Our colleagues at the NABP are also planning to use LegitScript for .pharmacy which reinforces our shared commitment and aligned approaches to safety and security.

About Andy Weissberg

Andy has over 18 years of healthcare/life sciences, electronic media, e-learning and information services industry experience.

Prior to co-founding DotHealth, Andy led numerous high-profile digital business transformations in the health sciences and publishing market sectors. Most recently, Andy headed up Bowker's Identifier Services Strategic Business Unit and ISO Standards operations where he supervised the operations of the U.S. ISBN Agency and played a key role in the evaluation and re-launch of Books In Print, the world's largest bibliographic database and search and discovery platform for librarians, retailers and institutions worldwide. Andy is a former member of the Board of Directors of the International ISBN Agency, the International ISTC Agency and played a key role in the development and introduction of the International Standard Name Identifier.

From 2005-2007, Andy spearheaded the Electronic Media business for Advanstar's Life Sciences Group, where he conceptualized, developed and commercialized www.modernmedicine.com. Today, ModernMedicine serves as one of the leading interactive clinical information, continuing medical education (CME), patient education, practice management and clinical decision-support portals for a network of more than 300,000 physicians, nurses, pharmacists and healthcare professionals and their patients. In this role, he was also responsible for the strategic development and advancement of electronic media strategies for over 35 of Advanstar's journal brands including Pharmaceutical Executive, Medical Economics, Managed Healthcare Executive and Contemporary Pediatrics. Andy also managed the Company's syndicated medical news platform, Mediwire (www.mediwire.com), and played a key role in establishing Advanstar's CME business unit, cme2, as an exemplary ACCME-accredited provider of continuing medical education services.

Prior to joining Advanstar and for over a decade, Andy served as an enterprise lead and business developer for several mid-size and large national pharmaceutical and healthcare advertising, marketing and communications agencies, playing key roles in the product launches and marketing campaigns supporting leading pharmaceutical brands for manufacturers, including GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, Novartis, Wyeth, Sepracor and SkyePharma. Early in his career, Andy co-founded mediNet Communications, Inc., a healthcare-focused website development and interactive marketing company which served the digital needs of over 100 hospitals, managed care, pharmaceutical and medical device clients nationwide. Andy earned his B.S. in Communications from the University of South Florida.

Industry News

Buyer beware: the hidden cost of stem cell tourism

theconversation.edu.au - This week, ABC Radio National's Background Briefings  highlights the challenges involved in delivering on the promise of stem cell science and regenerative medicine. Although scientists continue to make progress in this exciting area of medical research, the development of safe, effective treatments will take time and a substantial ongoing financial investment by governments and industry.

But, having heard about the promise of stem cell technology, many Australians (and others around the world) are not prepared to wait and have decided to pursue unproven stem cell treatments overseas (stem cell tourism) at great cost and risk.

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

For Medical Tourists, Can Dental Costs be too Low?

ticotimes.net - Dental tourism remains the top medical tourism venture in Costa Rica. Of the tens of thousands of medical tourists who visit the country each year, 40 percent come to undergo dental procedures.

To try to gain the upper hand against competition, some dental offices offer extremely low prices. The Costa Rican Dental Surgeons Association sent out an alert last month announcing that those savings might be too good to be true, putting a patient's health at risk.

In late May, the Association denounced 17 dentists for offering prices for aesthetic treatments below the association's fixed rates.  

The Association says minimum prices help ensure quality, and charging significantly less could mean some dentists are cutting corners.

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

TravelMarketReport: More Destinations Poised for Medical Tourism Growth

compiled by Maria Lenhart

New Bali Hospital Teams Up with Marriott Courtyard
Indonesia's BIMC Hospital Group formed a partnership with the Courtyard by Marriott Bali to provide the country's first-ever medical tourism packages for inbound travelers. The hotel, which is located in Bali's Nusa Dua resort complex, is offering aftercare services for the adjacent BIMC Hospital, which opened on May 5. The new 50-bed, internationally managed hospital offers advanced dialysis treatments, surgical and non-surgical medical cosmetic procedures and dental care. 

The Courtyard by Marriott Bali implemented planning and training for its new services well in advance of the hospital's opening, according to Jeff Tyler, general manager. "We carefully looked at services that aid in recuperation such as special diets, unique spa and wellness programs, as well as ensuring wheel chair access to all areas of the property," he said. 

Growing the medical tourism market was identified as a key goal for Indonesia, said Mari Elka Pangestu, the country's Minister of Tourism, during opening ceremonies for the new hospital. "I hope that in the coming year we will have a road map for health tourism. A main factor that must be addressed is making medical service in Indonesia meet international standards in order to attract foreign tourists."

Healthcare City Planned for Cayman Islands
The first phase of a proposed $2 billion "healthcare city" is expected to break ground on the east end of Grand Cayman Island in August with the building of a 140-bed hospital. The entire 2,000-bed complex, to be built over 15 years, will include a tertiary care hospital, an educational facility, a biotech park and an assisted living facility. 

Plans for the complex underscore the Caribbean islands' potential as medical tourism destinations, according to Elizabeth Ziemba, president of Medical Tourism Training.
"The Caribbean countries have a geographical advantage in that they are easily accessible to people from the U.S., Central and South America, and enjoy large numbers of visitors from Europe as well," she said. "Few islands have captured the full potential of medical travel to their countries, but the Cayman Islands have stepped into a leadership position in the region."

Baby Boomers Dominate Med Tourism Market 
"I would tend to say that 80 percent or more of the people using medical tourism are Baby Boomers. The bulk of utilization happens with Baby Boomers just because they're at an age where they need more intervention."  - Rajesh Rao, CEO, IndUSHealth, a medical travel program provider for patients and employer healthcare plans.

Grand Bahama Island Eyes Medical Tourism
Grand Bahama Island has plans to become a major medical tourism destination for US travelers, according to a report in the Nassau Guardian. Noting the island's proximity to the US, Ian Fair, chairman of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, said one or two announcements of new medical tourism facilities will be made in the near future. 

Anticipated projects include plans by Rand Memorial Hospital to redevelop the newly acquired Island Palm Hotel and incorporate it into a hospital complex, providing hotel rooms and other facilities for medical tourism, Herbert Brown, managing director of the Bahamas' Public Hospital Authority, told the Guardian

Research Report Indicates Medical Tourism Boom for India 
India is poised for significant growth as a medical and wellness destination for global travelers, according to a research report by RNCOS, Booming Medical Tourism in India. "India's wellness industry is valued at more than US $2.2 billion at present and is anticipated to grow by 35 to 40 percent during the next few years," the report stated. Some of India's major healthcare facilities are planning to set up spas in their hospitals.

The report identified wellness facilities, meditation programs, holistic medicine and competitive pricing as factors contributing to the success potential of Indian medical tourism. "India, with its kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage, boasts unique medicinal forms, which look at health, disease and causes of disease in a completely different manner," the report stated. 

India's approach to medicine incorporates a focus on "holistic health and well-being of humans," the report noted. "The demand for such a treatment approach and related medicines is increasing both in the domestic market as well as internationally." India is also a growing destination for traditional medical treatments, particularly cardiac and orthopedic procedures, according to the report.

Industry News

Historic Conference a Milestone for Medical Travel Industry

by Maria Lenhart

Eager to learn more about the promising niche of medical and wellness travel, travel sellers gathered last week at the first-ever Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The event, which was co-sponsored by Travel Market Report, marked a milestone for the burgeoning medical tourism industry, bringing together all stakeholders, including travel agents, facilitators, suppliers and medical travelers, for the first time. About 400 people attended.

It was also a milestone for Well-Being Travel, which was founded five years ago to foster travel agent participation in a potentially lucrative market.

"We saw that the missing link in medical tourism was the travel side," explained Anne Marie Moebes, executive vice president of Well-Being Travel, during a press conference at the event.  "There was clearly a need for someone who represents the consumer. This had not been looked at as a separate niche before."

Bringing the industry together 
The conference, which featured a trade show and educational sessions, brought travel sellers together with leading players in the field, including medical travel facilitators, internationally accredited hospitals, corporate wellness programs, tourism ministries, destination spas, resorts and other travel suppliers. 

The suppliers included The Biggest Loser Resorts, which recently formed a partnership with Well-Being Travel as a preferred supplier. The company has destination resorts in California, Utah and New York.

As a result of the partnership, Well-Being Travel will create commissionable wellness travel packages with The Biggest Lower Resorts, Moebes said. 

$100 billion industry
The huge business potential of medical tourism was underscored by Moebes at the conference's opening session. 

"We're talking about an industry that's predicted to reach $100 billion this year," she said. According to Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, 1.6 million Americans are expected to head overseas for healthcare in 2012, Moebes told delegates.

Those numbers are almost certain to keep on growing, David Boucher, COO of Companion Global Healthcare, said during the session. 

"The escalating cost of (U.S.) medical care and the continued decline in quality is ensuring the future of medical travel," said Boucher, whose firm is a medical travel facilitator and a partner with Well-Being Travel.

Boucher estimated that Americans can save between 75% and 95% on medical procedures by going abroad. But cost is not the only motivating factor, he said. Often Americans are attracted by the superior safety and service delivered by internationally accredited medical facilities located overseas.

'Biggest Loser' winner
Sione Fa, a winning contestant from NBC TV's "The Biggest Loser" and now a fitness trainer at the Biggest Lower Resort in Utah, shared his inspiring 140-pound weight loss story with attendees during a lunch session, wowing the audience with a performance of a traditional dance from his native Tonga. 

"As a Polynesian, I thought that eating all the time is just what we do," he jokingly told the audience. "Now I know there is a better way."

Medical patients share experiences
Other inspiring stories came from medical travelers who shared their unscripted experiences during Thursday morning's general session. 

"Not only did I save a lot of money, I was able to have a great vacation," said Jeffrey Castle, an employee benefits salesman from Atlanta who traveled to Costa Rica for extensive dental work. While waiting for his permanent crowns, he and his wife stayed at a beachside resort and took excursions to the country's national parks.  

"I've had zero issues with the quality of care - it was a very positive experience," Castle said.

New options for agents
For some travel sellers, the conference was a chance to explore new options for revenue. 

Jackie Ceren, CTC, president of Travel Consultation and Mediation, who has 38 years of experience selling both corporate and leisure travel, said she now plans to make medical and wellness travel her only focus.

"Wellness and medical travel involves life changing experiences," she told Travel Market Report.  "So that makes it meaningful."

Gratifying experience
Arranging a trip to Acapulco for a terminally ill client proved to be the most rewarding experience of her career, she said. "He was so grateful that I found it more satisfying than booking an expensive cruise for someone."

Ceren, who was busy during the conference making contacts with medical travel facilitators and suppliers, said she will begin marketing efforts targeting potential clients when she returns home.

"I plan to start a website and place small newspaper ads about my new focus, plus using social media," she said. "I also plan to get the word out to doctors that I know and others who may know people interested in medical tourism."

Sees opportunities
Other agents said they attended the conference to see if medical and wellness travel were niches that made sense for them.

For Mike Gruendel, vice president of Travel Discoveries in Tampa, Fla., the "big question was liability." After consulting with travel industry attorney Mark Pestronk, a presenter at the conference, Gruendel said his concerns were allayed.

"Yesterday I wouldn't have wanted to sell (medical travel), and today I see opportunities in it," Gruendel told Travel Market Report.

"I see cosmetic surgery as a big possibility, and dentistry," Gruendel said. As for destinations, Gruendel said he was "intrigued" by Thailand. (The Tourism Authority of Thailand was a presenter in a session on destinations that specialize in global care.) 

Michelle Duncan, president of Odyssey Travel, said that the conference "enabled me to learn more about this niche. It's huge."

Industry News

Passport2Health Launches Pioneering Private Medical Coverage Combining Private UK Diagnostics with Private Treatment Abroad

A ground-breaking product from Passport2Health, a new entrant to the private healthcare insurance market, is set to change the shape of UK health coverage and challenge the high cost of traditional private medical insurance (PMI).

With typical savings of up to 50 percent[i] , and from as little as £19 per month[ii] , the scheme combines high quality private diagnostics in the UK with private treatment overseas. It promises greater choice and faster access to affordable private healthcare for the majority of Britons financially excluded from mainstream PMI products.

The UK's first fully packaged coverage for treatment abroad, Passport2Health provides rapid access to some of the finest private medical facilities internationally, including door-to-door, concierge-managed travel and accommodation for the patient and a companion.

Passport2Health CEO and founder Frank Levene, a former BUPA director, says that the escalating price of UK health insurance, combined with continuing pressure on household spending, has left many people unable to afford cover for private treatment - leaving them faced with lengthy waits with the National Health Service.

This lack of choice for UK patients inspired Frank to provide a more innovative PMI solution, focused on providing fast access to excellent treatment at more affordable prices. He said: "For years, millions of people in this country have gone without health insurance for themselves and their families, but with Passport2Health they can now afford to take advantage of the same high quality healthcare enjoyed by our European neighbors."

According to industry figures, almost seven million people are currently covered by PMI in the UK[iii] . However, there has been little if any market growth over recent years, despite research showing that many consumers would buy PMI if it were more affordable. In fact, escalating premiums mean that subscribers have declined by more than 10 percent since 2008[iv]

Against a backdrop of continuing economic pressures, Passport2Health has developed its pricing structure to provide an affordable alternative to increasingly expensive personal policies, or a replacement for employee benefits that have been downgraded or withdrawn.

Most significantly, according to Levene, the scheme will enable ordinary people to access high quality private healthcare for the first time. He said: "It's a chance for regular working people, who aren't fortunate enough to already be in a plan, to provide first-rate health coverage for themselves and their families."

Customers have access to some of the finest hospitals internationally, including those in France, Germany and Spain, as well as Belgium, Cyprus, Portugal, Gran Canaria and Malta, and soon to be added Israel and Turkey. Every hospital is hand-picked by Passport2Health's expert team for its exemplary clinical standards, and each is carefully selected for its English language capabilities, service quality and patient comfort.

Medical tourism is a growth area, with approximately 60,000 people[v]  believed to travel from the UK each year for treatment abroad. Until now, however, patients have had to put together their own package and pay the full price in one go. With Passport2Health, everything is fully covered and all arrangements taken care of, including return travel, treatment, accommodation and after-care, plus integration into the UK health service on return.

Pricing reflects the lower cost of European healthcare and efficiencies Passport2Health has achieved through its international provider network and outsourced business model. The company operates a small core team with low fixed costs, supported by expert service providers for sales administration, customer service and claims handling, including clinical case management. This provides a scalable and replicable model that can flex according to customer demand.

In addition to CEO and founder Frank Levene, the Passport2Health management team is comprised of: Dr. Richard Dale, an eminent consultant surgeon; Alex Ballantyne, founder of NetDoctor.co.uk; JoAnna Bowles, whose financial services experience spans roles with Nationwide Building Society, Aviva, Portman Building Society, and American Express;  James Davies, former sales director at Standard Life Healthcare and following its acquisition, PruHealth; Anne Vorley, who served as an underwriter with PruHealth and Standard Life Healthcare; and John Statham, former strategy director at Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Group.

Passport2Health aims to become the leading provider of insurance covering medical treatment abroad for people and companies resident in the UK, and envisages initially capturing a modest 1.5 to 2 percent share of the UK PMI market.

The product is aimed at small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and individual clients, and is being sold through selected PMI specialists and insurance brokers, as well as directly via the internet. Customers can deal with Passport2Health via the Web, telephone or through their intermediaries.

In addition to personal plans, Passport2Health will appeal to employers, particularly SMEs, as an affordable and attractive alternative to the spiraling cost of corporate schemes. The product is also ideal for the self-employed seeking affordable health coverage, flexibility on dates and the earliest possible return to work.

While the NHS is highly valued for emergency and urgent surgery, elective treatments such as angioplasty, hernias, hip replacements or cataracts can now be treated overseas without joining a long waiting list. Passport2Health says that procedures are scheduled as fast as possible, to suit the patient - normally within two to four weeks of diagnosis.

Customers have the same access to their usual general practitioner, plus a generous allowance for private specialist consultations and diagnostics in the UK. With the exception of cancer, patients are covered for the same types of surgical procedures as many other UK PMI schemes, including a wide variety of treatments in specialisms such as orthopedics, ENT, cardiology, ophthalmology, urology and gynecology.

[i]  For a 30-year-old. Prices as at 27/02/12 shown on both comparison and insurer's websites
[ii]  For a 30-year-old. Prices as at 27/02/12 shown on both comparison and insurer's websites
[iii]  Figures according to Private Healthcare UK - http://www.privatehealth.co.uk/service-to-industry/statistics-and-data/private-healthcare-key-facts/
[iv]  http://www.hi-mag.com/health-insurance/product-area/pmi/article371509.ece
[v]  Figures according to Treatment Abroad - http://www.treatmentabroad.com/press/medical-tourism-facts/

Industry News

Thailand Medical Tourism Market and Future Forecast Report Now Available

A new report from Renub Research titled Thailand Medical Tourist Arrivals, Medical Tourism Market & Forecast to 2015 provides a comprehensive analysis of the Thailand Medical tourism market covering in detail various aspects such as foreign patients' arrivals, revenue from foreign patients, competitive landscape and market share of the foreign patients' arrivals and revenue from foreign patients. The report also entails major drivers and roadblocks of the Thailand medical tourism market.
Key Topics Covered in the Report:

  • Number of medical tourists arrival in Asian countries (India, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Philippines) 
  • Medical Tourism market in Asian countries (India, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Philippines) 
  • Number of medical tourists arrival in Thailand
  • Medical Tourism market in Thailand
  • Major Drivers and Roadblocks of Medical Tourism in Thailand

For more information and a complete table of contents please visit: http://renub.com/reports/showdetails.aspx?id=60

Industry NewsMedical Travel Today Publisher Laura Carabello on The Rise of a Global Healthcare System

Laura Carabello, publisher of Medical Travel Today, recently addressed the audience at the Well-Being and Travel Conference in Scottsdale, AZ on the topic of "The Rise of a Global Healthcare System". At the request of attendees and other interested parties, she has made the presentation available to readers via the link below.

Upcoming Events

The IHC FORUM: Your Guide on the Journey to HealthCare Consumerism

Health and benefits spending is arguably the number one challenge employers face. Today's shifting landscape brings skyrocketing costs, strict coverage requirements and even stricter compliance standards. Healthcare consumerism is the clear answer, but the road to implementing these strategies can seem daunting. Get all the tools you need to skillfully navigate your healthcare consumerism journey at The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism's FORUM West 2012 conference on September 6-7 at Las Vegas' breath-taking Red Rock Resort Casino Spa.

As the only event 100 percent dedicated to innovative health and benefit management, the FORUM's 24 cutting-edge workshopsfive general sessions and world-class speakers bring real, actionable solutions to HR professionals, C-level executives, brokers and regional health plan providers.

Register today for your roadmap to success.

In just a day and a half, you'll get expert insights from the industry's foremost thought leaders and policy makers, and real-life examples from peers on how to:

  • Cut costs now
  • Prepare for the impact of the Affordable Care Act and the 2012 presidential election
  • Build the best possible plan for your company
  • Avoid common pitfalls of transitioning to healthcare consumerism
  • Turn disengaged employees into involved, well-educated healthcare consumers

5th Annual Middle East Healthcare Expansion Summit

October 10 & 11, 2012, Abu Dhabi

The Healthcare - IT industry has always been growing, and with the advent of mobile health, telecom leaders have also joined the league. In the Middle East, the healthcare segment is a primary focus area for the IT as well as telecom industry with opportunities in areas such as diagnostics applications, interactive mobile applications, self-care, hospital information systems and integration of IT platforms with mobile health apps.

The 5th Annual Middle East Healthcare Expansion Summit aims at addressing the challenges and opportunities of the healthcare information and communications technology (ICT) industry through a forum of healthcare providers, ICT industry leaders and government representatives who will brainstorm on how to meet challenges and adopt new and upcoming technologies to the healthcare sector in the Middle East.

To register or learn more click here.

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.

News in Review

HealthCare Consumerism Radio Announces Launch of IHC University Free Webinar Series

digitaljournal.com - During the June 8, 2012, Atlanta Business RadioX™ program, The IHC welcomed MedServ Global's John Linss and Gordon Church and gBehavior's Don Doster to the studio, where the trio discussed nontraditional strategies employers can use to curb escalating healthcare costs and improve the overall health and well-being of their employee population.

Domestic Medical Tourism in US Reviewed in New Study
marketwatch.com - There is a new trend that insurers, employers, hospitals and specialists are happy with -- domestic US medical travel where people go to another state for treatment. This trend, however, flies under the radar, with some parts of the medical tourism industry even downgrading it as it makes their services more difficult to sell.

Medical Tourism and Travel: What it Means for Your Hospital

beckershospitalreview.com - Many hospitals and other players in the healthcare industry have been taking careful note of the increasing talk of "medical tourism" and "medical travel," often with an eye on strategic investments related to what is apparently a fast-growing market. With healthcare organizations under pressure to enhance payor mix, and facing tough competition for patients, it is reasonable to ask, "why not bring in distant patients who are willing to travel to receive care?" 

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.