2019 has been the most dinamic year for the medical tourism sector in Mexico. The % of patients travelling to this country for medical purposes will increase by double digits for sure. Similar growth has been achieved in the past 10 years, every year.
Mostly, patients will travel for Dental Treatments, Cosmetic Sugeries and Aestethic Treatments, Bariatric Surgery and Fertility Treatments. The new specialties and areas with a stunning growth are orthopedic surgery (mostly articular/joint), followed by Spine and Neuro Surgery as well Executive checkups and Stem Cell treatments.
In contrast with other areas of our relationship with The United States, tourism and now medical tourism has brought us closer.
Besides financial gain, another reason is because its convinient: our location (avg 3 hour flights to any of the main medical destinations in Mexico: Tijuana, Cancun, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Mexicali, Algodones and Mexico City) and the fact that we have been neighbors (Cultural understanding) for a long time.
But when I say dinamic, is because this year comes with much bigger participation from Government and Private Sector (Besides Hospitals and Physicians, whom for over 30 years have contributed to the organic growth and positioning of several destinations in Mexico that now welcome more tan 1.5 million patients every year).
From the initial industry valuation studies back in 2007-2009, when I first got involved in Medical Tourism, that showed very different statistics (a big challenge that is still pending to be completed), lack of serious methodology, biased information and many other obvious issues, and that really were a waste of your time to even read, let alone to be used as the base of business development; Now, these organizations and institutions are much more serious and determined than ever to organize, develop and expand this sector in Mexico.
In the previous administration, SECTUR (Mexico´s Tourism Secretary) hired International firm Deloitte to conduct a serious study of the value, potential development and overall insights that took almost a year to be completed.
The final report has been presented on Aug 22nd. It says this industry will quadruple in 10 years in Mexico… and not only Medical Tourism but Wellness and Geriatric tourism (commmunities for the retired expats that are both permanent or temporary residents (Winter birds) were part of these study. Sadly, Accesible Tourism was not contemplated.
On the other hand, Mexico has also been the only country in Latin America to host and present an International Medical Tourism Congress for 10 years straight. An event that brings together both providers and promoters.
The results are promising. actors of the industry are excited and new ones are being attracted. Mexico is Ready for the next step: Consolidation as a Medical Destination and compete at the highest level. It is a matter of expanding the market, it is a matter of promotion and continuos education from the ones involved to reach the goals that were set.
And in order to achieve them we don´t need a new formula, we just need to actually put in practice that we´ve all theorized for many years: Attract Self insured companies, Creative promotional campaigns both nationally and locally, strike deals with american and international Insurance companies for Schedule surgeries (Because if you are a hospital and you accept an foreing insurance for emergencies, that doesnt mean that you have will receive the patients that we are talking about, and that is NOT Medical Tourism…
You will have a chance of showing the medical quality and service to that unfortunate tourist that fell on the pool, had a cardiac arrest during vacation or the springbreaker that got into a fight in a bar and needs the nose straightened to mention a few…
Living in Cancun I understand how this Works and learned that is called TOURISTIC MEDICINE and has a completely different approach and requires mínimum additional preparation). Like I said, these are strategies that have not been put in practice here but that other countries like India, Malasya, Costa Rica have and they did it in an effective and succesful way.
For everything that has being said, the role of the patient facilitator is going to be crucial. And I mean the new breed of facilitators.. or you think there´s only one type? Stay put for my next article: The Evolution of the International Patient Facilitator.
Thank you for Reading and I hope you enjoyed my very first piece. Comments, Opinions and of course, criticism, are much more tan welcomed.
Talk to you later.