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Evolution of Medical Tourism

August 8th, 2017 Insurance
It’s been a while since we looked at medical tourism in-depth, although we did mention it yesterday when we noted that upwards of 60,000 Candians sought care outside that country’s failing government-run health scheme.

And, perhaps more to the point, we reported in January that the “cost of international private medical insurance is climbing globally, with an inflation rate of 9.2 percent reported for 2016.”

And, of course, the ACA has been steadily chipping away at physicians’ incomes here at home.

Okay, Henry, very interesting, if disparate, items. What’s your point?

Well, FoIB Dr Valerie Jones alerted us to this rapidly growing opportunity that uses virtual medical tourism to help boost actual physician income:

This Startup Connects U.S. Doctors with Patients in China … that deal in the domain of telemedicine, sometimes called telehealth, which uses technology to remotely connect doctors and patients otherwise separated by physical distance.”

After all, what difference does it make if the patient is 10 miles away, or 6000? Other than the slight inconvenience of time-zone shifting, why not? And it’s certainly a potential money-making powerhouse:

Estimates on telemedicine’s market size vary  … projects it will more than double from $ 25.53 billion in 2015 to $ 57.92 billion in 2020.”

That’s a lot of revenue for a few minutes on the phone (or Skype, etc).

Telehealth itself isn’t all that new, but this application of it seems to be burgeoning. Definitely something to keep an eye on.

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