Bet on Clarity: Booking Health is shaping the Future of Medical Tourism

A successful online service by Elena Sergeeva and her partners helps freely to find and book abroad treatment within minutes

Фото: www.charite.de

Historically, the world’s medical science was developing rather unequally and the quality of health service differs from country to country up to now.

The low level of healthcare service in some countries and high one in others predetermined the formation of medical tourism.

Statistics, announced on Global Wellness Tourism Congress (GWTC), proves the rapidly growing rates of the industry.  Profit has increased from $40 billion up to 0.5 trillion. This corresponds to the 14% of the total revenue from tourism in general. 2012 became a key year, when medical tourism gained 1.8% of the world GDP. Today indeed the market is represented by a dozen major companies, including Booking Health GmbH and it keeps on developing.

Problematic Business Models of Medical Travel Facilitators

Modern client got his hand in the information search and online shopping, as Internet is a straightforward thing. Facing medical travel agencies, the client, though, can’t see the price of the sought-for service online. As a rule, people have to wait several days to a week to find out the price and details of the treatment.

- Problem is in the absence of fixed contract arrangements between this sort of agencies and the hospitals. That way, they have to send a request to the clinic, wait for an answer and then only refer it at the client himself with delay, - explains Elena Sergeeva, a founder & CEO of Booking Health GmbH – an Internet platform for booking health programs for a fixed price.

Customers have to get ready for a number of possible traps, where they can easily get into. Additional expenses, the total of which will often make more than the price of the medical program itself, are the most common thing.

Major issues of the medical travel can classified into:

·         Lack of transparency that results in the increased final cost and contingent expenses.

·         Absence of the arranged offers for every program or clinic.

·         A complicated and long-term organizing of a medical tour.

First, clinics attract the customers through the aggressive marketing and doubtful intermediaries. Afterwards, the patients in a difficult situation are forced to agree upon the clinic’s offer, as there is no time to choose.

The algorithm is all set and deliberately misused by the majority of companies.  Side effects and poor service – that is what falls to patients’ lot and that is what spoils the name of medical tourism.

The Idea of Booking Health™ and its Influence

- An idea that was up in the air predetermined the success of Booking Health. Right after we started comparing our business model with other online services it became clear that the simplicity is what we need to aim at.

 The point is to book a treatment program should be as simple as to buy something online. To do this, you need to see the price and realize what exactly you are paying for. For any other industry, this way of shopping is taken for granted. Medical travel brunch is experiencing this familiar to all of us transparency as a revolutionary one.

Nowadays, every client receives arranged information about:

·         Treatment options in context of the exact case

·         Multiple medical centres, where this treatment is possible

·         Full cost of the treatment itself  and accompanying services such, as a transfer to the place of treatment

Basing on the given information and the feedback from other patients, a client can make a decision himself what country and therapy suits him the best. Booking the convenient dates and payment for the chosen program can be a next step for the client.

- Generally, the clients don’t tend to book a medical program while visiting the website for the first time. It can happen only if it was recommended by friends. Patients compare the prices of the same therapy and then return to us to book a program.

The BookingHealth.com format allows to coordinate a range of services in advance with every hospital and thus avoiding the situation where a clinic or intermediaries impose the “additional services” upon the customer. Therefore, the price of the therapy is significantly lowered, which is a decisive element for the vast majority of patients.

Hundreds of hospitals are represented on the portal. A lot of them are leaders in their respective fields, but have not allowed foreign customers until now not willing to deal with doubtful intermediaries or hire the special personnel for this.

New standards of client service in the medical travel field influence, first, on the terms of the hospital stay and price of the treatment program for the final buyer. Competitive advantage, such as this, makes the “black” market players quit, as the demand on their offers falls. Another option is to change their business model, with a dramatic delay, to the one that was implemented and successfully tested by Booking Health GmbH team.

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