Hospitality Hospitals is not about the occasional drive by hospitals to beef up service in their institutions nor about a spoonerism but as USA Today’s article notes the growing phenomenon of medical tourism. The trend is accelerating with rapidly rising medical costs with “no end in sight”. While Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and (closer home) Mexico have a considerable head start in attracting US patients, the country that is growing an astounding 30 plus percent a year is India. But at a mere $300 million it remains an infant in the league with few companies from either that country or the US making a concerted effort at attracting institutional (insurance) providers in the US.
One way to get a jump start is to “hospitalize” hotels in India. Currently, the high quality of medical care and procedures is the magnet for US (and Canadian – so much for that country’s much vaunted health care system) customers. Most patients undergo procedures (typically coronary by-pass, hip and knee replacement) and recuperate in luxury in the five star hotels. The industry(both in the US and India), however, is considerably short on initiative leaving the packaging to a combination of hospitals, doctors and operators such as IndUShealth (mentioned in USA Today) and Medical tourism India. According to Frederick J. DeMicco, ARAMARK Chair in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management and department chairperson at the University of Delaware this is expected to grow “In monetary terms, experts estimate that medical tourism could bring India as much as $2.2 billion per year by 2012”. That exponential growth represents considerable opportunity for hotel companies currently sitting on the sidelines to come up with a program that addresses the needs (and fears) of US customers facing mounting health care costs. Clearly an industry opportunity in the making.