AAA has noted an increased US consumer interest in international travel this year. Particularly popular destinations include India and China, especially with respect to the Summer Olympics. However, one consumer segment is not seeking entertainment but medical care. A recent McKinsey study highlights reasons consumers are seeking healthcare in the international arena: (Note that this study covers consumer travel globally, both into and out of the US.)
- Access to most advanced technology 40%
- Better quality care 32%
- Faster access to medically necessary procedures 15%
- Lower cost care for medically necessary procedures 9%
- Lower cost care for discretionary procedures 4%
In many cases, the cost savings of a medical procedure must exceed $10,000 to justify cost savings. To compete successfully for patients, providers must assure patients that they can connect them with transportation, develop a reputation via word of mouth, and make information available on the Internet.
As international travel for medical services grows, a variety of businesses from medical centers to travel agents could benefit by positioning themselves as experts. Effective marketing services can help this trend grow.