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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

Medical tourism in practice

Chinese visitors coming for medical tourism to get e-visas

Study: Employers seek to cut health costs

New Study: Rate of Preventable Deaths in U.S. Higher Than France, Germany, U.K.

Some Alaskans get Outside options for medical care: Groups seek solution to higher in-state costs for procedures


The Role and Contribution of Conferences and Exhibitions


Joseph Barcie, Baptist Health South Florida, Part Two


Camille Hoheb, Wellness Tourism Worldwide and Global Spa and Wellness, Part Two

Industry News

Patients Beyond Borders® Announces Taiwan Simplified Chinese Edition

TEMOS and Marmassistance Join Forces in Ensuring Quality in International Patient Care in Turkey

Mount Sinai Hospital of New York Achieves Certification by the Medical Travel Commission

Upcoming Events

Medhealth & Wellness Exhibition and Conference

New Health Insurance Business Models for a Post-Reform World

The 5th International Health Tourism Congress
Ankara, Turkey, November 18-21, 2012

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 18

by Amanda Haar, Editor


As summer in the northern hemisphere draws to a close many of us are resuming a "back to work" attitude and beginning to pull together travel budgets and plans for the year ahead. As evidenced under UPCOMING EVENTS, there's seemingly no limit to possible destinations and topics for consideration in the world of medical travel exhibitions and conferences. But with so many events, and many featuring the same presenters and exhibitors each year, it's easy to question the value of attending such events at all.

With hopes shedding some light on the potential value of trade events, we're pleased to present a column by Constantine Constantinides entitled "The Role and Contribution of Conferences and Exhibitions." A frequent attendee at events, as well as host and co-host to others, Constantinides offers some interesting thoughts on making the most of your travel time and dollar.

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


Amanda Haar, Editor


Medical Travel Today
recently partnered with Well-Being Travel to host the first "Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012." The event - which took place June 20-21 in Scottsdale, Ariz., and drew in 400+ attendees - educated travel sellers on how and why they should sell medical and wellness travel.

As a follow-up to the conference, we're conducting a survey in an effort to gather benchmarking information...and help everyone increase their success in this specialty niche (including medical practitioners and facilities, wellness therapists and retreats, travel suppliers and travel sellers...and ultimately the patient travelers).

Take our brief 10-question survey today and you could win a $250 American Express Gift Card!!!

Just click on this link: https://www.research.net/s/5L687QT

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 onto www.medicaltraveltoday.com


The Role and Contribution of Conferences and Exhibitions

by Constantine Constantinides, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive, healthCare cybernetics



The Practical Philosophy
...that goes with it

As far as the industry is concerned, when it comes to industry conferences and exhibitions, one can do the following (or none of the following):

  • Attend
  • Exhibit
  • Sponsor

But the question asked by the thinking industry player (supply-side stakeholder) is: why do any of these things? What is the advantage and benefit?

Well, we need to look at "advantage" and "benefit" separately - because they are not synonymous.

"Advantage" means getting something that makes you "better than your peers" (primus inter pares).

On the other hand, "benefit" means that you get something useful - but this will not make you any better than your peers who obtained the same benefit.

And of course, there is no way you can have an advantage if, at the very minimum, you have not acquired the same benefits as your peers.

When you want to both benefit and attain some advantage, you may need to do all three things listed above.

Conferences and exhibitions as an institution
...associated with "benefits for all"

We have come to accept that conferences and exhibitions are an integral part of every industry and sector.

When justifying their existence, we refer to such "benefits" as opportunity to:

  • Learn (and maybe also share experience)
  • Network
  • Formulate industry policy and strategy - and even, regulation
  • Promote, market and sell (directly or indirectly)
  • Conduct business meetings
  • See what the competition is up to

Opportunities to gain an Advantage
What about opportunities that confer an advantage?

Of course, we again have to qualify things and point out the difference between competitive advantage (a good thing) and absolute advantage (the Holy Grail).

Competitive advantage merely allows you to qualify and play in a higher league, with fewer competitors, but where the competition is even more aggressive and sophisticated - and has deep pockets.

Gaining a "competitive edge"
...if not the absolute advantage

My years-long observation and study of the health tourism sector - and the medical tourism segment - have convinced me that to beat the competition, one needs to do the following:

  • Introduce innovations (which the market likes and wants - and is prepared to pay for)
  • Demonstrate leadership

Introducing innovations requires deep knowledge and understanding of the sector, which can be gained, in part, by attending conferences and exhibitions.But demonstration of leadership additionally requires the characteristic of "generosity" (in terms of spirit, attitude and money).

But how is leadership demonstrated?

Innovation alone, in most cases, is not enough.
The other ways are:

  • Pitting yourself against the competition - and being declared "the leader" (by the industry)
  • Putting your money where your mouth is by sponsoring
  • Supporting and championing concerted action initiatives (which benefit the sector)

What has all this to do with conferences and exhibitions?
...what is connection and point?

I have frequently questioned the rationality of exhibiting and sponsoring when the audience is the competition. But I have done this in the spirit of wanting to identify and announce the benefits and advantages.

The benefits are obvious. But what about advantages?

The absurdity of addressing your Competitors
...lessons from the natural world

So, besides benefitting by attending events, why bother to exhibit and sponsor when all the others at the conference and exhibition are your competitors?

Well, a look at behavior and activity in the natural world can provide the answer - and demonstrate the rationality of the act.

When the "industry" in the natural world (the male gender) wants to prepare to successfully address the "market" (the female gender) - it starts off by first addressing (in fact, confronting) the industry (sometimes quite aggressively).

This is done to establish the "pecking order" and "industry ranking" which can then be announced to the market.

And, the market knowing who is "top" - or "most suitable" - can make choices based on preferences and "ability to pay".

A Clear Case in support of Conferences and Exhibitions
...attend, exhibit, sponsor

Yes, one can definitely obtain benefits and gain advantages.

But are all the health tourism events around the world equal?
How can they be?

Use due diligence - and as a buyer, remember caveat emptor.

In the interests of transparency and full disclosure, it needs to be revealed that healthCare cybernetics has designed a number of events, which it plans to stage in collaboration with professional conference organizers.

Some of these events may be co-staged with other conferences or exhibitions.


Joseph Barcie, Baptist Health South Florida, Part Two


Joseph Barcie, M.D., MBA,Assistant Vice President of Baptist Health International

Editor's Note: In our last issue we featured Part One of a conversation with Dr. Joseph Barcie who recently transitioned from being the president of Centralized Services at the International Healthcare Corporation (IHC) to that of assistant vice president of Baptist Health International. In that discussion Dr. Barcie shared what prompted the change and how he has begun to apply the lessons learned from the experience to building Baptist Health's international program. The conversation continues below.

A recent story from Miami Today on BaptistHealth's program can be accessedhere.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): Are you also handling domestic patients traveling for care through that department?

Joseph Barcie (JB): No, not through this department. Domestic medical travel hasn't been a big part of the business for us in the past, but it is expanding. Our approach, I believe, will be to focus on the four-hour flight radius from Miami and, in time, expand from there. But it's not a big area of focus for the short term.

MTT: Then allow me to ask, what is your big area of focus in the short term?

JB: We're putting a lot of energy to expanding our service excellence model to include a consulting role. Specifically, we are helping facilities in Latin America and the Caribbean improve and provide better healthcare for their communities. We share our intellectual resources and experience, quality and patient service training, ongoing medical and clinical education, facility improvement, and so on. Whatever's needed to enable those facilities to provide better care in their community.

MTT: But don't you rely on patients coming from those communities to come to you for care?

JB: Yes, to some extent. I guess you could argue that our own efforts could hurt our draw, but that's a short-term view. The truth is that many facilities in Latin America and the Caribbean are making extraordinary efforts to improve their services and it's been quite dramatic. By collaborating with them we can make these improvements together and build stronger relationships for the future with these institutions and for the international community.

MTT: What other aspects of your experience at IHC are you drawing upon at Baptist?

JB: Baptist Health International was looking to have someone help them with the marketing of services and international insurance business development. Those were just two of my areas of responsibilities at IHC and are a very good fit with both of those needs.

Plus, my international experience in hospital administration and operations, the relationships I developed over the years at IHC with key insurance players, and my understanding of inbound and outbound patients is proving very helpful.

I'd say in some capacity, I'm drawing on all of these things to help us work towards meeting Baptists Health International's goals.

And those goals have been set in direct response to the requests we received from our international community.  That's why I mentioned that in addition to our traditional service excellence model, we are working with international community leaders and sharing our intellectual capital in areas of clinical best practices, international hospital accreditation readiness, facility improvement and clinical education. We believe this is part of being a good neighbor and responsible healthcare organization.

About Joseph Barcie

Joseph Barcie, M.D., is the assistant vice president of Baptist Health International at Baptist Health South Florida and is responsible for international insurance business development, marketing, public relations, advertising as well as developing marketing strategies for international patients, physicians, providers, and business alliances of Baptist Health International.

Prior to joining Baptist Health International Dr. Barcie was the corporate president of Centralized Services at International Healthcare Corporation in Dallas, the largest US-based private hospital system in Latin America. Before joining IHC, he held a variety of senior-level US hospital administrative positions at HCA, Tenet, and Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach; was adjunct professor at Dartmouth School of Medicine; and began his career in healthcare as a medical researcher.

After graduating from Florida Atlantic University, Dr. Barcie received his medical degree from UACJ School of Medicine in Mexico and continued his training in Internal Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He earned an MBA in healthcare Administration from the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Healthcare Information and Management System Society, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, and the National Association for Healthcare Quality. He lives in Palmetto Bay with his wife Leslie and new son, Ethan.


Camille Hoheb, Wellness Tourism Worldwide and Global Spa and Wellness, Part Two

Camille Hoheb, M.S., Healthcare Administration
Founder/CEO, Wellness Tourism Worldwide
Owner/Principal, Global Spa and Wellness


Editor's Note: In Issue 17 of Medical Travel Today we featured Part One of a recent conversation with Camille Hoheb. In addition to sharing news of a recent survey launched by Wellness Tourism Worldwide (What Motivates YOU to Travel),she also shared what she perceives to be some of the greatest opportunities for growth in the wellness tourism field.

The balance of the conversation follows below.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): If you were a destination, what types of travel would you be looking at with a keen eye right now?

Camille Hoheb (CH):Intergenerational travel is an area that's ticking up right now and is an area to which people should be paying attention. In fact, there are some spa and resorts currently making an effort to incorporate children into wellness activities, and some have programs that parents and grandparents participate in as well.

One thing I talk to my clients about a great deal is the different lifecycles and their different orientation to wellness. What you want at 29 is not the same as what you want at 49 or 69. In addition, what you have at those different ages in terms of time and money to give to travel is also important.

One area where they seem to converge in terms of interest and ability is in the wellness area. I think we'll see more active engagement intergenerationally in learning which is an important component to well-being. This should be of great interest and potential value to destinations. There have been a lot of studies regarding yoga being beneficial for children with attention deficit disorder, as well as those without. It's also ideal for adults and the actively aging. So if I were a destination and I wanted to attract intergenerational packages, I'd see yoga as my homerun.

MTT:I've actually seen something like that offered at a studio near me.

CH: Right. And that's a good point. Destinations don't really have to look far to figure out how to make wellness work. You just have to think about how to extend some of the concepts that already exist out there.

Going back to agritourism, in so many communities there already exist farm tours, hay-rides, strawberry-picking, etc. These things exist and are being promoted but they're not being promoted together. Simply by bundling already existing things together you can create a bigger draw to potential visitors.

It's important to recognize that the wellness tourism and well-being travel industry is greater than individual products. It's a blend of all the local assets, traditions and rituals, and it's highly sustainable. That's why it's very important to be involved with local chambers and organizations to ensure you're helping to shape the story they're telling and ensure that you're part of it.

MTT:As you speak I understand how all of these things fit under the umbrella of wellness, but I am curious: How understood is the wellness term?

CH: Oh, it's a confused term. For many it's synonymous with spas, for others it's the same as health check-ups.

The reality is it covers many, many things including physical fitness, rest, intellectual stimulation, positive social interaction, and so forth -- all the things that promote physical and mental well-being.

It's a concept that's seemingly old as time and innately understood in Europe. Wellness is simply part of their culture. But here in the US, there is a fundamental lack of understanding of the value of wellness and relaxation.

In fact right now, many Americans are so fearful of losing their jobs that they 're not taking time off. Many are fearful that if they're not missed they might not have a job to come back to while others are stockpiling their paid-time-off (PTO) as a nest egg for the future. Meanwhile, employers don't want the financial liability of excessive PTO on their books and they want they're employees to simply take a break to avoid burnout.

Right now Wellness Tourism Worldwide (WTW) is working on developing relationships with other entities to shine a light on this trend now know as "vacation deprivation" and looking at how we can work together to overcome it to benefit employers, employees and travel providers.

Seriously, we need a larger movement to encourage people to take vacation.
There have been numerous studies on positive effects of taking a vacation, and I've been speaking on the subject for quite some time now - from Asia to the US.

In fact, I just recently presented on the topic over the summer and spoke to the benefit of increased health, happiness and productivity simply from taking a vacation.

Some studies have linked vacation with fewer incidents of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. The Framingham study followed a group of people for 20 years. Those that didn't take vacation in six or eight years had higher incidence of heart attack and cardiovascular disease.

Some companies are really taking this information to heart. Price-Waterhouse Coopers, for example, now provides prompts for supervisors and employees to take their vacations.

One thing I think our survey will demonstrate is that vacations in and of themselves can be transformational. It gives you time for reflection and conversations that you might not otherwise have. Whether that leads to you changing jobs, re-evaluating relationships, or moving across the country, it's the vacation that provides the time to make the consideration.

I'd also like to mention that WTW is working with countries interested in hosting FAM and study tours. We are in the midst of planning our first study tour to Bhutan - which is known for its gross national happiness index. This is especially relevant to today's market, as the pursuit of happiness, positive psychology and quality of life has garnered much interest from consumers, academics, business and governments alike.

About Camille Hoheb

Camille Hoheb is the founder and CEO of Wellness Tourism Worldwide, a US-based business whose mission is improving well-being and economic growth through travel. WTW is dedicated to providing research, education, development and promotion of well-being travel products and services. Ms. Hoheb holds a dual role as the owner and principal of Global Spa and Wellness (GSW), a consultancy focusing on emerging shifts and convergences related to spa and wellness. Having performed strategic planning and directed both operations and marketing for the healthcare and wellness industries, her career has spanned and linked physicians, hospitals, medical spas and wellness destinations worldwide for nearly 20 years. Ms. Hoheb launched her career in hospital management and was responsible for business development, marketing, public relations, physician relations, and community outreach and health promotion. She later held executive positions with several healthcare companies and succeeded in the rapid growth of hundreds of medical practice start-ups. Ms. Hoheb was charged with developing health tourism and increasing executive health business for a 5-star luxury hotel brand. As an avid industry contributor, Ms. Hoheb has held several advisory board positions with a number of health associations, speaks on wellness tourism all over the world and writes on behalf of a variety of consumer and trade publications.

Ms. Hoheb holds a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration from California State University and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Hobart and William Smith College. She received certifications in Integrative Medicine, Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Health and Spirituality from the National Institute of Health.


Industry News

Patients Beyond Borders® Announces Taiwan Simplified Chinese Edition
Newest translated edition targets health and wellness travelers from mainland China

The Taiwan Task Force for Medical Travel(TTFMT) and Patients Beyond Borders jointly announce the launch of Patients Beyond Borders: Taiwan Edition, Simplified Chinese Translationfor international distribution in January 2013.

Supported by the Taiwan government, hospitals, and related private organizations, the guidebook, originally published in 2009, will be fully updated and translated into Simplified Chinese, and will offer an in-depth overview of Taiwan's leading international hospitals, medical specialties and procedures, selected health travel agents, nearby recovery and guest accommodations, and area travel information.

Healthcare consumers, particularly those from neighboring China in search of quality and value, will find Taiwan's prices for medical procedures to be on par with other leading international healthcare destinations such as Thailand, South Korea and Singapore. Taiwan currently offers 14 facilities with clinical accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI),which provides additional comfort to the international medical traveler seeking the highest level of care.

"Taiwan offers some of the best healthcare in Asia," says Patients Beyond Borders CEO Josef Woodman. "With a long and respected history of quality healthcare, exceptional facilities, and affordable prices, Taiwan continues to be a premiere choice among Chinese patients seeking top-quality healthcare and wellness services in the region."

Recent initiatives by the Taiwanese government to simplify and expedite the medical visa process for Chinese patients, coupled with an increase in direct flights from China to Taiwan, have attracted significant numbers of visitors from China. Further fueling the 20 percent+ growth, a new government policy implemented earlier this year allows hospitals to apply for visas for groups of up to 30 mainland Chinese citizens seeking medical treatment, health screenings and cosmetic procedures.

"The release of Patients Beyond Borders: Taiwan Edition, Simplified ChineseTranslation, will now allow Chinese-speaking patients everywhere even greater access to one of the world's most comprehensive healthcare systems," says Dr. Mingyen Wu, CEO of TTFMT and Secretary-General, Taiwan Nongovernmental Hospitals and Clinics Association. "We are pleased to be working with Patients Beyond Borders on this project."

Patients Beyond Borders: Taiwan Edition, Simplified Chinese Translation will be available through a variety of sources including Alibaba, Amazon China, Baidu (Chinese-language search engine), Dangdang (digital book distributor), Renren, and libraries (Digital Library of China), as well as the Patients Beyond Borders and TTMFT websites.

About the Taiwan Task Force for Medical Travel
Launched in October of 2007, the Taiwan Task force for Medical Travel (TTFMT) was created as a platform to promote inbound medical travel, integrate resources and streamline cooperation across leading governmental organizations, the Department of Health (DOH), and related industries and medical institutions. TTFMT is administered by the Taiwan Nongovernmental Hospitals and Clinics Association and supported by the Department of Health (DOH), Council for Economic Planning and Development, the Tourism Bureau, Government Information Office, Taiwan External Trade Development Council, and the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research. Its vision is to position Taiwan as a global leader of five-star medical travel destinations. For more information, visithttp://medicaltravel.org.tw.


Industry News

TEMOS and Marmassistance Join Forces in Ensuring Quality in International Patient Care in Turkey

Temos, the German-based quality certification company and Marmassistance, Turkish market leader in medical assistance, have joined forces in a strategic partnership to co-assess private hospitals and clinics in Turkey.  

The partnership will be titled "Temos in partnership with Marmassistance." According to the partnership agenda, Marmassistance will evaluate and improve the Temos quality criteria and certification process, and support it by means of mutually carried out assessments. In mixed teams, a Marmassistancedoctor and a Temos quality expert will visit the hospitals which applied for the Temos certificate and quality seal.

By taking Temos' high profile, widely expanding quality certification system as an origin, and adding Marmassistance's experience and knowledge of the local dynamics and challenges of the Turkish market, the certification will be of benefit for all involved parties. Following the assessments, hospitals/clinics that meet the required criteria will be granted "Quality in International Patient Care" and/or "Excellence in Medical Tourism" certifications by Temos in partnership with Marmassistance.

The joint effort aims to combine Temos's neutral, independent and scientific approach to healthcare quality certification with Marmassistance's practical know-how gained from 26 years' international patient operations in Turkey, as well as its leading expertise in medical cost control mechanisms.
Temos has been rapidly expanding in the international market as the only quality assessment system focusing on medical tourism and international patient care. Marmassistance, as the leading medical assistance company in Turkey, has been conducting quality assessments to private hospitals in Turkey to ensure a smoother process between hospitals and travel insurance and assistance companies.
Marmassistance CEO, Hans Biekmann, celebrated this joint venture, saying "We are delighted to have embarked upon this journey with the likes of a truly professional company as Temos. We have always been doing our best to make sure private hospitals and clinics in Turkey understand, embrace and integrate the highest quality standards within their operations. Now, we have the perfect partner to take this to the next level and we are very excited."

Temosmanaging director, Dr. Claudia Mika, also commented on the latest developments, "As the leading medical assistance company in Turkey, we believe Marmassistance is the perfect partner for us in Turkey. Their familiarity with Turkish hospitals, experience in managing international patients and sensitivity in medical cost control are essential for us in assessing the quality of Turkish hospitals in consideration with the local culture and environment. On top of that, we are assured from practical case experiences and evaluations made."
Biekmann added "With Temos' scientific and professional approach to quality management and our practical hands-on experience in managing international patients and cost control mechanisms in Turkey, this is a truly powerful collaboration. We know the nature of Turkish international patient care inside-out. Fair pricing procedure and efficient patient processing are all strong indicators of quality.  I cannot think of a quality hospital that misses any one of these truly essential qualities in their operations. In partnership with Temos, we are sure to achieve the highest level of quality in Turkish private hospitals/clinics."

Dr. Mika added, "By improving the quality of international patient care in Turkish private hospitals and clinics, all stakeholders of the industry will win. The patient, the Ministry of Health and Economy, hospital/clinic, facilitators, foreign travel insurers, and assistance companies are all winners.  Additionally, by improving the service level given to international patients, more and more patients will come to Turkey for treatment, while tourists who receive treatment during their holiday will leave the country with greater impressions."

Industry News

Mount Sinai Hospital of New York Achieves Certification by the Medical Travel Commission

The Medical Travel Commission™ (MTC) has announced that The Mount Sinai Hospital of New York is MTC 2012 Certified, and meets the Commission's International Patient Program criteria for 2012. TheInternational Patient Program Certification is designed to recognize organizations that provide extraordinary, best-in-class service to patients traveling across international borders for care. The Commission is an independent organization dedicated to setting standards for service excellence to international patients and elevating the level of service quality by safeguarding patient experiences in the following areas: communication, customer service, provider interaction, quality care and medical.

"The thorough inspection process ensures that certified organizations have demonstrated their ability to deliver a positive patient experience through exceptional customer service and quality care," said Jim Tate, president of the Commission. "I'd like to congratulate The Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, who now represents the leading edge in best in class service to their International Patients."

The MTC Certified mark -- a "seal of approval" for hospitals treating International Patients -- provides the benchmark for optimal patient service experiences. By looking to organizations with the MTC Certified seal, patients, embassies, medical travel facilitators and providers can reduce their risk in selecting a suitable hospital for the delivery of needed medical care.

"We are proud that International Services at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City has been certified by the Medical Travel Commission. We recognize that every international patient has different needs and expectations. Our dedicated team takes pride in ensuring our international patients and their families have the best possible experience before, during, and after their visit to our comprehensive medical center," said Johnny D'Abbraccio, RN, MSN, senior director of International Services.  "Our certification from the Medical Travel Commission validates our commitment to excellence and best-in-class service to international patients." 

MTC's certification criteria and its design for a certification inspection process have been thoroughly researched and vetted, taking into account the industry best practices and available standards, and comparing certification processes in other industries and other countries. The inspection process is designed to rigorously compare organization practices against the special needs of international patients, including their communication, cultural and clinical needs. 


Seeking International Patient Coordinators for Academic Study

Simon Fraser University in Canada is in the process of conducting research focused on medical tourism. Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the study aims to understand more about the friends and family members who accompany medical tourists abroad, including the roles and responsibilities they take on.

We are currently looking to identify 'international patient coordinators' (sometimes also known as 'personal assistants' and 'medical concierges') to participate in interviews. By "international patient coordinator"we are referring to people who work at hospitals and book and coordinate care for medical tourists, often liaising with these patients prior to their arrival and assisting with their on-site requests. We would like to interview coordinators to learn more about their experiences with medical tourists' friends and family members.

Interviews will take approximately one hour and can be done over telephone or Skype. Interviews can only be conducted in English. Upon completion of the interview participants will receive CND $40. If you choose to be interviewed, you will be able to request a copy of the study findings at the end of the interview. Please note that this study has received the approval of the Simon Fraser University Office of Research Ethics.

If you are interested in participating in an interview, please email Victoria Casey (vcasey@sfu.ca) and she will send you an email with further details.

Upcoming Events


September 25 - 27, 2012
Oman International Exhibition Centre
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

An international event highlighting the ongoing development of the healthcare sector in Oman, this event targets all aspects of the health and wellness industry, opening doors for health products, services and facilities, and opportunities for new developments and trends, and trade and investment.

New Health Insurance Business Models for a Post-Reform World

October 4-5, 2012  • Marriott Wardman Park Hotel • Washington D.C.

Health insurers and their partners and competitors have never faced a period of greater change, uncertainty and potential turmoil. When you attend New Health Insurance Business Models, you'll gain a thorough understanding of today's most compelling bottom-line issues for health care professionals, from exchanges to dual eligibles to new benefit designs to ACOs and medical homes. You'll leave with an arsenal of new strategies you can employ to take advantage of the unprecedented opportunities ahead ... and avoid the many pitfalls.

This ambitious event features a Keynote Presentation by Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a Luncheon Presentation by former CMS head Tom Scully, and 29 industry experts who will participate in provocative Health Business Roundtables. (Please see the Full Program to review the "Who's Who" of health business leaders you will interact with on October 4-5.)

New Health Insurance Business Models will be state-of-the-art in terms of comfort, convenience and technology, in a luxury destination that has hosted many of the nation's most important events for the past century. The registration fee is just $795 for AIS's health business newsletter subscribers - a $250 discount off the regular rate of $1,045. See the registration details.

Space is limited! Be sure to reserve your place today.

The 5th International Health Tourism Congress
Ankara, Turkey, November 18-21, 2012

Organized by the Turkey Health Tourism board, The Fifth Annual International Health Tourism Congress will be held November 18-21, 2012, in Ankara.

Participants are expected to include representatives of health organizations from Turkey and the world, government representatives, and bureaucrats from Turkey Health, Culture and Tourism Ministry.

The Congress is expected to serve as an effective background for showcasing Turkey's potential to create new business and investment opportunities with partners from neighboring nations, the Middle East, Central Asia, Balkans, Europe, North Africa and the United States.

To learn more or to register click here.

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

Medical tourism in practice
Las Vegas could learn a thing or two from a small town in Arizona

vegasinc.com...As evidenced by the number of Southern Nevadans who have been treated in Goodyear, Cancer Treatment Centers has nailed the medical tourism formula.

"People are willing to travel if it's going to save their life," said Tiffany Jenkins, a Cancer Treatment Centers spokeswoman.

Chinese visitors coming for medical tourism to get e-visas
focustaiwan.tw - Taiwan will soon launch an e-visa service on a trial basis for people from China visiting the country for physical check-ups, cosmetic surgery or anti-aging treatments, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said Saturday.

Study: Employers seek to cut health costs
USA TODAY - As health care costs continue to increase, employers are looking for ways to cut costs, such as reducing spouse and dependent coverage in 2013, says a study out today. While the total cost of health care is predicted to rise 5.3%, to $11,507 per employee in 2013, the increase is slowing, says the new Towers Watson survey of 440 midsize and large companies. This year, in comparison, the cost is expected to increase 5.9%.

New Study: Rate of Preventable Deaths in U.S. Higher Than France, Germany, U.K.
The United States lags three other industrialized nations, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, on a key measure of health system performance-potentially preventable deaths-according to a new study in Health Affairs. Moreover, the pace of improvement in preventing deaths that could have been avoided with timely and effective health care is slowest in the U.S., finds the Commonwealth Fund-supported analysis.

Some Alaskans get Outside options for medical care: Groups seek solution to higher in-state costs for procedures
www.adn.com  – The high cost of many medical procedures in Alaska is driving a major insurance company, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield, to offer coverage that pays air fare, hotel and other expenses for members to undergo the same treatment in Washington state at less cost.

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.