Medical Tourism Business

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no country for young men
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Medical Tourism Business

Post by no country for young men » Tue Feb 01, 2011 4:33 pm

Countries from Mexico to Thailand have growing medical tourism sectors, offering services to customers from wealthier countries. Medical groups and entire hospitals market a wide range of services from tummy tucks to heart bypass operations. Dentists are doing well in this market too. The marketing pitch is two fold: 1) get 1st world medical treatment at a discount and 2) take a vacation while getting your nose job.

From reading posts on the All Chile fora, it sounds like Chile has 1st class medical practitioners and facilities to compete in this market. And posters report that many Chilean doctors are trained in the US or Europe so they have second language abilities to serve customers from the US and Europe.

But, to compete with other countries for this market, nurses and administrators must be competent in English (or other languages) and there it sounds like English competency is pretty shallow. Also, it sounds like Chileans might not have the hospitality gene that the Thais have.

So my questions:

1) Are there any medical tourism businesses in Chile?

2) If one were to assemble such as business, particularly in a scenic area (for the tourism part of the biz model), would one be able to find English speakers for the nurses and admin staff required?

3) Would it be difficult to find (and train) staff to the level of professionalism and natural hospitality that can be found in such service businesses in Thailand or the Philippines?

4) Is the government supportive (with grants or other aid) of such developments?

5) Are the airlines open to discounting tickets for customers of such businesses?

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MikieO
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Re: Medical Tourism Business

Post by MikieO » Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:14 pm

1) Are there any medical tourism businesses in Chile?
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admin
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Re: Medical Tourism Business

Post by admin » Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:55 am

the answers are: no, no, yes, no, no (I perhaps have that backwards)

We looked in to doing it sometime ago because we handle medical emergencies for clients all the time. Yes there are lots of hospitals where the the doctors and staff speak English, but it is not sufficient to run a medical tourism biz full time for patients that speak only English. Problem is that your staff needs to speak very specific technical English and Spanish at way more than night school level, and they can not miss a beat or someone might very well die. One dead gringo, and you are out of biz.

Really it is not so much a speaking English problem as a cultural problem. Each culture has a different way of viewing medical problems. For example, American's even when things are dirt cheap are incredibly suspicious of everything to do with doctors, hospitals, medications, and so on. That is especially problematic when it comes to how much things costs. Which leads to them not telling anyone about preexisting medical conditions or they are having some other sort of problem. They have essentially been abused by the American medical system. Europeans of different flavors have their own set of hangups, Canada another, and so on. So, you got to be able to translate the cultural issues in Chilean medical system. You got to communicate to the doctors, what the patient won't. Your average Chilean without advanced experience living in those cultures, most likely will not get it.

We have to have translators at the hospital for meetings with doctors, plus someone on call 24 hours a day to do advanced emergency translations, plus staff keeping tabs on everything with the nurses, technicians, and they are normally stationed at the hospital full time while the client is in the hospital. That is apart from dealing with the legal and administrative problems. They are not cheap logistical operations by any stretch. That is just the problems of someone in the hospital, once they get out there is whole mess of special issues when someone is recovering from a surgery, dealing with the family members (sometimes they need sedatives more than the patient).

I think it is possible, I just don't think someone that does not have a real grip on how Chile works should ethically or legally get involved in it. Someone will get hurt. Try running a run of the mill tourism biz in Chile first, and the problems of the medical tourism thing will be really obvious.
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PenquistaDeCorazon
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Re: Medical Tourism Business

Post by PenquistaDeCorazon » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:50 am

I think that even if you could line your ducks all in a row, you could never do it as cheaply as in places where it would be much cheaper and the beaches are nicer. I say it would be a one way ticket to insolvency.

oregon woodsmoke
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Re: Medical Tourism Business

Post by oregon woodsmoke » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:40 pm

Chile doesn't seem to have a good grasp on the concept of tourism, so the medical part of it wouldn't be your only problem.

Toid
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Re: Medical Tourism Business

Post by Toid » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:49 pm

The Clinica Las Condes has an International Patients Centre.

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Re: Medical Tourism Business

Post by PenquistaDeCorazon » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:55 pm

They do indeed. And they are affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine International. They have a full complement of English speaking staff. That is a good option for expats in Chile who have access to good insurance or money. But if you work out the numbers, I think the costs would be prohibitive in terms of making it part of a viable health tourism business unless a potential patient had a burning desire to visit Santiago.

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JHyre
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Re: Medical Tourism Business

Post by JHyre » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:01 pm

I have had medical work done in Chile, and thought very well of it, both in terms of quality and price. The doctors used by Chileans with money have to compete with doctors overseas, so the service is much better than is typical for other Chilean enterprises. BUT....I was already in Chile visiting family. For medical tourism, as has been pointed out, other places are closer, cheaper to reach, and have more popular amenities such as beaches with non-hypothermia inducing oceans adjacent.

There might be a small niche for some Chile specialties (such as fly-fishing in Patagonia) coupled with medical services.

John Hyre

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zer0nz
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Re: Medical Tourism Business

Post by zer0nz » Wed Feb 02, 2011 3:04 pm

JHyre wrote:I have had medical work done in Chile, and thought very well of it, both in terms of quality and price. The doctors used by Chileans with money have to compete with doctors overseas, so the service is much better than is typical for other Chilean enterprises. BUT....I was already in Chile visiting family. For medical tourism, as has been pointed out, other places are closer, cheaper to reach, and have more popular amenities such as beaches with non-hypothermia inducing oceans adjacent.

There might be a small niche for some Chile specialties (such as fly-fishing in Patagonia) coupled with medical services.

John Hyre
if you read the clinica alemana website there international section advertises itself as a place for second opinions, or cheaper alternatives for i would say "critical operations"

chile is good for this,

But if you want a boob job, and a nose job, and then relax by the beach.. this isnt chile!

Tombi
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Re: Medical Tourism Business

Post by Tombi » Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:37 pm

But if you want a boob job, and a nose job, and then relax by the beach.. this isnt chile!
Saw an add for dr Roy Sothers (google it) who does boob jobs by the sea in Chile! :P

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otravers
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Re: Medical Tourism Business

Post by otravers » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:53 am

This might be viable if the exchange rate was 700 pesos to the dollar / 1000 pesos to the euro... but not right now.

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Re: Medical Tourism Business

Post by no country for young men » Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:26 am

admin wrote:the answers are: no, no, yes, no, no (I perhaps have that backwards)
Palindrome.

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