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Medical Tourism, Market Entry Strategy

Analyze the nature of the competition in health care and identify the specific factors that are crucial to the success of medical tourism serving global markets.

Based on your analysis, suggest an appropriate strategic approach for a new entrant in the medical tourism industry.

Evaluate three possible challenges to the implementation of this strategy and suggest ways to overcome them. Support your analysis and recommendations with relevant sources from academic and professional sources.

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Medical tourism is becoming increasingly popular around the globe. In some countries, the high cost of procedures considered elective, or nonessential, forces consumers to look at less costly markets across borders or overseas. For others, certain procedures or treatments are simply not available. Westerners who want lower cost procedures can find them in Brazil, India, Mexico, Jamaica, and Poland, to name a few destinations. Often, the cost of a cosmetic procedure is a third of the cost in the U.S., the UK, or Canada. Procedures that are necessary, but not covered by insurance, can also be found at greatly reduced prices. An angioplasty in the U.S. can cost up to around $100,000. In India, the procedure can cost as little as $11,000 (Grout, 2013).

In the past, medial tourism consisted of patients in less developed countries seeking health care services in the U.S. and other Western nations. Often such care was either not available in the home country or was difficult to find. Today, the opposite is occurring. Those in developed nations who do not wish to pay the high costs, seek health care services in less developed countries. The tourism aspect of the industry comes from the luxury treatment and services that often accompany such services.

There is another reason why people may consider medical tourism. Some standard treatments for specific diseases are not effective. An individual suffering from Lyme Disease, which is considered an autoimmune disorder, may still suffer from nerve and muscle damage after extensive treatments with antibiotics. These are the only treatments available in many Western countries. However, some physicians in India have successfully used stem cell treatment (Grout, 2013). For those who suffer from chronic, debilitating disease, medical tourism offers more options and hope.

For others, standard treatments simply do not fit their lifestyles or belief systems. Some people would prefer natural methods, for instance, rather than the standard chemotherapy and radiation protocols established for many cancers in Western nations. Many physicians do not even offer alternatively treatments, though they may offer complimentary treatments, for those who are able to pay for them out of pocket. In short, the top reasons for seeking medical tourism destinations are lack of alternative treatments in the home country, less effective treatments available, and lower cost in other countries.

There are additional benefits of medical tourism though, that draw many people to certain destinations. These are perks, or luxuries. They can range from posh hotel rooms for recovery, to spa access or the availability of five star chefs. For those seeking treatments in foreign countries, often the perks are the features that help them make the final decision about where to go. In themselves, these features would not be enough to draw people from
around the globe. However, when combined with hopeful treatments and procedures that cost much less than in the home country, they provide the motivation to consider leaving the home country for medical care.

Due to its increasing popularity, medical tourism is becoming a highly competitive industry. This is why many packages include the luxury features such as spas or deluxe accommodations. It is estimated that 1,200,000 Americans will travel outside the U.S. to receive medical care in 2014. In addition, many foreign hospitals are seeking accreditation by the Joint Commission International, which is similar to the U.S. accrediting agency (Patients Beyond Borders, 2014). This helps provide credibility and serves to ease the minds of patients
seeking care overseas.

Due to increasing demand, many markets across the globe compete for medical tourist patients. They may market their services in magazines and journals, though many will rely on satisfied patients who have left their home countries for medical treatment. Satisfied patients are among the best forms of advertising. In addition, new companies helping patients ...

Solution Summary

The discussion focuses on the benefits and trends of medical tourism. It also provides some strategy and planning.

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