Medical tourism exists due to the failings of the patient's home country, which drives them to seek alternatives overseas.
A good example is the exorbitant healthcare bills and long waiting times in the US. My overseas colleagues have baulked at the cost of buying a car or an apartment in Singapore, however in all those years we have never thought to compare getting a facelift done, for example!
Growing up in Singapore, most Singaporeans and I are strongly confident in our hospitals, especially the private hospitals, and we believe they are among the top medical centres in the world.
Looking at medical tourism from an investor's viewpoint however, I believe Asia has the best potential in the present to 2015, and my top destination would be Thailand, over South Korea, Malaysia, India and yes, Singapore.
There are many factors for a patient to consider treatment overseas. The total cost, country, hospital, and accreditations are the basic. Other concerns such as post treatment care, success or infection rates, and medication will tip the patient over the decision fence.
The focus now will be on the cream of Asian hospitals; the ones who will likely benefit (and have already been benefiting) from foreign patients seeking complicated and advanced treatment.
Another important factor will also be the strength of that hospital in its home market. In the next post I will do a simple comparison among the selected companies.