Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New health index means good news for medical tourism companies

The recently published Euro Health Consumer Index provides some interesting insights into the state of the UK health services and some encouragement for those who see the UK as a developing market for outbound medical tourists. The Index rates the public healthcare systems in 29 European countries on many factors such as clinical outcomes, quality of care, access to health services and patient information.

Austria emerges as the 2007 winner of the Euro Health Consumer Index, followed by the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Germany.

The UK comes a very disappointing 17th out of the 29 countries; its score is dragged down by waiting lists and uneven quality performance. Medical tourism destinations such as France, Belgium, Estonia, Cyprus, Spain and the Czech Republic all outscore the UK.

As a separate exercise, the Euro Health Consumer Index 2007 included a value for money adjusted score, the "Bang-For-the-Buck adjusted score", which attempts to measure the value for money which the consumer gets from the healthcare system allowing for the spend on public healthcare in the country.

More bad news for the UK National Health Service.....

The UK sinks to 26th out of 29. Only Bulgaria, Poland and Latvia do worse.

Despite the efforts of successive UK governments, the NHS continues to deliver value for money to UK health consumers.

And that's probably good news for medical tourism companies!


Anonymous said...

The reality is that regardless of how many have or will engage in the practice of medical tourism or transplant tourism the fundamental issues driving it are:

1) Cost: High health care costs in the US is making it an attractive and reasonable option for the uninsured and the underinsured.

2) Quality: A full 25% of physicians in the US today are foreign born. Many, many more have been trained in the US and then return to their home countries to practice. That means that there are a lot of really, really good physicians outside the US and if you have the means and the desire, why not go international to get health care. So, now the wealthy ( will find it attractive (and trendy). I have a list of 50+ 'medical tourism' and 'transplant tourism' companies and that barely skims the surface.

3) Acceptability: HCA International has recently announced a relationship and access to a facility in Pakistan. HCA subscribers will soon be routed offshore to receive elective, non-emergency care and it will cut the cost of health care. It will result in higher profits by HCA. It will also put some physcians in an interesting position because as this trend continues they will be replaced one-by-one to some degree by those that can deliver the same or better quality services at a lower overall cost.

In summary, this means that it will attract the rich and the poor, the insured, the underinsured, and the uninsured regardless of what country you come from. I'm guessing, but in my mind that just about covers everyone.

It's a big world folks. It's hard to not imagine this as a natural event.

pangaeamed said...

The only place worse than the UK is the United States. The quality of care for the average American is horrible. Yes the quality of care for the top 40% is excellent, but that is not good enough. Medical Malpractice insurance costs have made it very expensive to practice medicine in the US.