Violetta Ianyshevska: “Medical tourism maintain country economy


DoctorGeo&DoctorSPA Magazine

At the end of the last century, a trip to another country for medical treatment for ukrainians seemed something unreal. Internet just appeared and conquered countries and continents. And learn about the possibilities of treatment in foreign countries, to find the best hospital for treatment of a particular disease can be mainly on the advice of doctors or friends who have traveled abroad and have the necessary information and contacts.

Only in recent years with the development of modern information technologies the situation has changed greatly and the concept of "medical tourism" has become widely known. Though there is nothing new in this term , except the title itself. Already thousands of years ago people combined travel and treatment.

Medical tourism includes such concepts as "health tourism" - when people travel to improve health and appearance; "Diagnostic tourism" - where the main goal  is body examination (check-up), to make the correct diagnosis, to obtain the so-called "second opinion» (second-opinion); and proper "medical tourism" - when the main purpose of travel is to treat.

Med tourism  ... - the engine of national progress

Over the past decade the global market for medical tourism (MT) has already been formed and shows high growth rates. For example, revenues from the MT grew from $ 40 billion in 2004 to $ 500 billion in 2012, representing 14% of total tourism revenues ($ 3.2 trillion) as a whole, or 1.8% of world GDP. In developed countries, health care is a significant part of the economy of the state. According to the US Census Bureau, the annual income of the country's industry in 2012 was about $ 1.7 trillion. World Bank data show that spending on health in the EU can rise to 8% of GDP in 2000 to 14% in 2030.

Medical tourism - a working infrastructure that unites the major players: associations or clusters of medical tourism, tourist operators and providers of medical tourism, highly qualified medical staff, clinics and hospitals, medical management, accrediting agencies, insurance companies, charities. The fast pace of growth of medical tourism, and growing competition in this sector have a major impact on countries health systems in general, stimulate the development of entire economic sectors, including medicine.

The leading countries, that admitted  the impact of medical tourism on the economies of their countries, actively implement the national program for its development. The significant investments are allocated to build a modern and comfortable medical clinics, rehabilitation and diagnostic centers with modern equipment and the latest  technology. The educational system is developing as well  - education and training of medical personnel in the leading clinics of the world; the Medical University pays great attention to the study of foreign languages, so that graduates can freely communicate with foreign patients.

The development of medical tourism is closely linked with the development of other sectors: tourism, transport, logistics, restaurant and hotel industry.

Where are patients streams flowing?

What are the main reasons that motivate  people to leave for medical treatment in other countries? First of all, the unavailability of high-quality health care in the country of residence. Lack of modern technology, experience of  treating a particular disease, the long waiting list, the high cost of treatment for the low quality of service, the need to clarify the diagnosis and getting a "second opinion" ,insufficient amount of insurance coverage - all these factors make people travel to other countries for alternative treatment. The popularity of medical tourism is growing from year to year. In 2013, for the purpose of rehabilitation and treatment went abroad about 250 thousands of  ukrainians.

Rom those, about 40% went for treatment, 30% wanted to improve their health, 25% - for the purpose of diagnosis, the remaining 5% pursued other goals. A different situation was observed in 2014.

The rapid devaluation of the hryvnia and the unstable political situation led to a significant reduction in the number of ukrainians traveling abroad. According to the Ukrainian Association of Medical Tourism, the flow leaving Ukrainian patients fell by 40% compared with the previous year. Also changed the ratio of the reasons for departure of medical tourists. The main goal  remains the need for treatment - 55% of those who left. For recovery traveled abroad 25% to diagnose - 20%.

But what about the reverse flow? Do people from  other countries come into Ukraine for medical help? Yes! In recent years, more and more foreigners come into Ukrainian clinics and spas. What attracts them? Affordable pricing, lack of queues to get  medical services, the use of European treatment protocols, high qualification of Ukrainian doctors, many of whom are trained in the best foreign medical clinics. A large number of private clinics have international quality certificates.

The main areas of inbound medical tourism to Ukraine are: dentistry, ophthalmology, plastic surgery, cardiac surgery, stem cell therapy, reproduction, rehabilitation, SPA & Wellness.

Most medical services in Ukraine costs by 40-50% cheaper than similar services in Western Europe, Israel or the United States. For example, a course of IVF in Ukraine may start from $ 2,500 compared to $ 7,500 in the US. Fast enough in Ukraine is  improving infrastructure, which has been  upgraded with the use of natural resources of Ukraine - the thermal water, mud, mineral waters.

Patient safety is the cornerstone

That is why for the good functioning of medical tourism in Ukraine  3 years ago was established  Ukrainian Association of Medical Tourism - UAMT ,that integrates specialized companies of med tourism, doctors leading Ukrainian and foreign clinics, SPA- and Wellness-center, tour operators, as well as relevant Internet portals.

Also, accept the  med tourism market development in Ukraine and  level increasing of its participants, the most important task is to ensure UAMT patient safety. UAMT - a member of the World Association of Medical Tourism, which can effectively promote international cooperation, actively participate in international conferences medical tourism, establish partnerships with leading clinics and resorts in the world.

Effective interaction of the leading companies in medical tourism, attraction of investments in the construction of modern medical facilities and the acquisition of innovative equipment, continuous improvement of knowledge and skills of medical personnel, active promotion of the leading areas of medicine in the international market - all this will allow Ukraine to take its rightful place in the global infrastructure of medical tourism and to attract tens of millions of dollars into the economy.

Violetta Ianyshevska,
Chairman of the Ukrainian Association of Medical Tourism (UAMT)
Vice-president of Global Healthcare of Medical Tourism  (GHTC)

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