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Medical Tourism Corporation CEO, Mr. Deepak Datta, Shares His Insight on the Industry

Medical Tourism Corporation CEO, Mr. Deepak Datta, Shares His Insight on the Industry

Monday January 30, 2012

On the invitation of Prof. Deepak K. Datta of the College of Business at the University of Texas at Arlington, Medical Tourism Corporation CEO, Mr. Deepak Datta, shared an insight on “Medical Tourism” with UTA Executive MBA Class, during their post-dinner session in a December evening class.

(There is no typing error! They both share the same name.)

Mr. Deepak Datta, at the executive MBA program of the University of Texas, talked about globalization in healthcare industry as related to Medical Tourism.

While Americans and Canadians mostly head to Mexico and Costa Rica, people from Africa and the Middle East prefer to go to India. Korea is the medical destination of choice for many people from Japan, while Thailand is the top choice for most Australians & many countries in Europe.

Price, safety, travel distance, visa rules, local laws and quality of healthcare are obviously the chief considerations for medical tourists while deciding their healthcare destination, but some cultural influence is also noted. While US Hispanics head to Mexico, the Britons prefer other European countries.

Surrogacy in India attracts many foreigners struggling with infertility issues. Cosmetic surgeries like breast implants, liposuction and hair transplant in India also have many takers because of their low prices. Treatments for heart problems and orthopedic treatments like knee replacement, hip replacement, cervical and lumbar spinal disc replacement in India are sought by people, who cannot afford them at their native places.

Low cost dental treatments and weight loss surgery in Mexico are preferred by Americans and Canadians, who do not want to travel too far for healthcare. Many Americans prefer to drive down to the border, get their root canals or dental implants in US-Mexico border clinics (which have mushroomed at a remarkable rate over the past few years) and return home the same day.

Many people also opt to get their dental implants in Costa Rica. Besides, they fly to get bariatric and cosmetic surgeries in these Latin American countries, because not only the prices are low, but also the treatments are high quality. Realizing the potential of medical tourism industry, the doctors are prepared to deal with medical tourists and accordingly arrange for English-speaking staff.

While the official and most commonly used language in Costa Rica is Spanish, it is not difficult to find a dentist or cosmetic surgeon in Costa Rica, who is fluent in English.

Low priced cosmetic surgery in Thailand is also a big draw for medical tourists as they not only get the cost advantage but also get to maintain privacy for their beauty enhancing treatments. Thailand, however, is preferred more by Australians as the distance is less and flights are relatively convenient.

He said that the unavailability of doctors or particular medical services at one’s home turf, better quality of care in another country, and local healthcare services that are beyond one’s financial means are the factors that drive medical tourism. Privacy issues at home also sometimes cause people to move out for their medical treatments.

Mr. Datta clearly dispelled the impression that Medical Tourism is a fast growing phenomenon, referring to a research that indicated closure of many medical tourism companies in North America.

However, he pointed that there is no reliable data gathering methodology to validate the number of medical tourists.

Patient numbers of Medical Tourism Co., a Texas-based medical tourism company run by Mr. Datta, have been growing at a significant rate since 2008, essentially due to extended network of hospital and doctors. Mr. Datta has continuously endeavored to join hands with the finest hospitals in several countries and is quite upbeat about the growth of the company in near future.

Mr. Datta also noted that US probably benefits the most from the medical tourism industry, as thousands of patients from different parts of the world visit leading American hospitals like MD Anderson Cancer Center, Jackson Memorial Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, John Hopkins, Harvard Medical, and others. Most of these patients are either wealthy individuals or sponsored by their home governments.

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Tags: Thailand, dental implants, Costa Rica, spinal disc replacement

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