Thailand has once again been confirmed as one of Asia’s leading medical tourism destinations – this time according to a report issued by Visa and Oxford Economics. The South-East Asian nation is joined by Singapore and South Korea.
Thailand’s healthcare industry has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Its private hospitals are performing particularly well, with upwards of 30 per cent of patients hailing from overseas.
The Wellness Summit Foresees Even More Growth for Medical Tourism in Thailand
A recent report by the Global Wellness Summit has projected that wellness tourism in Thailand is likely to grow more than 9 per cent through 2017. This is 50 per cent higher than the overall projected growth for Thailand’s tourism industry over the same period. In other words, wellness tourism is far and ahead of standard tourism in Thailand – which is already one of the country’s most robust industries.
Tourism accounts for roughly 10 per cent of Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP). This year, revenue generated from health and wellness tourism, alone, is expected to garner AU$4 billion for the country. With such impressive returns possible, local healthcare providers are eager to invest further in the country’s infrastructure, adopting higher-tech medical equipment and more robust information-technology systems.
The latter is particularly important for Thailand’s medical tourism industry. For the period between 2014 and 2018, Asia’s medical tourism market is expected to post a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22 per cent (according to an RNCOS report). Such rapid growth could cause problems if healthcare providers aren’t able to process, store and otherwise act upon clinical data. Thailand’s major private hospitals have invested heavily in sophisticated IT systems for this very reason.
Technology Is Bolstering Thailand’s Medical Tourism Industry
All of this IT investment is positioning Thailand to continue dominating the regional healthcare trade. When foreign patients consider travelling abroad for medical care, they generally take three primary considerations into account:
Quality of healthcare infrastructure
Quality of medical professionals
Accessibility of relevant information
The latter is crucial. A patient in Australia, Europe or North America may be aware of Thailand’s status as a leading international healthcare provider. But if they don’t have access to high-quality, relevant information online, they’re less likely to avail themselves of these services.
Private hospitals in Thailand are partially responsible for making this information more accessible, but they’re by no means alone in this endeavour. A spate of third-party services are also capitalising on the country’s burgeoning healthcare sector and helping to connect foreign patients with service providers within Thailand.
Medical Departures is one such operation. By operating a network of over 1,330 global medical clinics, the organisation is helping patients in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere connect with hospitals and clinics in Thailand.
According to Paul McTaggart, Medical Departures’ CEO, “Thailand’s medical tourism industry has gone from strength to strength, and it’s now hot on the heels of the country’s holiday industry in general. We’re delighted to be able to help our clients take advantage of the high calibre medical care available here.”
He praised the country’s medical infrastructure in general, and added that plastic surgery in Thailand is particularly sought after from partner institutions, including Rose Clinic Chiang Mai and Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok.
About Medical Departures
Medical Departures operates one of the world’s largest medical marketplaces, bringing patients together with high-quality healthcare providers around the world. The organisation hopes to improve people’s lives by leveraging emergent technologies and bringing greater transparency to the global medical marketplace. As a result, Medical Departures’ customers are able to secure medical procedures in nearby countries that are substantially more affordable than those available in their own.
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