Managing Health Tourism Business Operations

Health & wellness tourism management by PPPs funded by tax receipts, enable business growth, education, provides jobs and supports destination development.

The Center for Health Tourism Strategy attracts medical tourism entrepreneurs, business owners, investors, health policy and government agencies and journalists seeking useful and reliable information, advice, insights, resources, and inspiration for planning, launching, running and growing medical tourism businesses.  We believe were are making progress to change how the medical tourism industry looks at itself and how it is perceived by the rest of the world.  Here, you'll encounter inspiration from forward-thinking innovators, early adopters and influencers in medical tourism.

Centralized Marketing
Marketing, advertising, promotion, and managing conversions is costly and labor intensive. Few hospitals and clinics can manage both patient care and marketing on their own. Nor should they.
Websites for health tourism marketing require intense behind the scenes management and maintenance. A centralized hub and spoke model is far more efficient than individual provider websites and yields a higher return for the destination as a whole.
Referral Management
Destinations recognized as health tourism hubs and centers of excellence receive far more referrals from doctors, and other referral sources than those who merely advertise a single clinic, practitioner or health facility. Best practices require better management and logistics coordination. through a PPP.
Data Management
Medical tourism business requires data to grow. Data ownership is power. A PPP balances the power of data ownership, provides benefit for more action potential at a lower cost, and benefits more stakeholders with high quality output than a single health facility or clinic can manage.
Quality & Safety
A PPP can set and manage mutually developed standards of performance at a destination instead of an every seller for himself approach that lacks coordination and risks destination brand service failures. The PPP acts as the administrator of local, regional or national quality and safety in health tourism.
A PPP can establish local health & wellness tourism standards of accreditation and has a higher likelihood of achieving ISQua accreditation for its new standards than a single independent author. PPPs can seek ISO 9001-2015 certification for their operational excellence.
Regulatory Framework
To manage health & wellness tourism growth, PPPs need a regulatory framework that touches on 22 or more public sector domains that will require standards and M&E for enforcement. Without a law to support the goals, the cluster is merely an ineffective paper tiger.
Capacity Development
Education is paramount to growth. Health Tourism Administration curriculum and a learning laboratory with realistic challenges of management and operation will support the future growth of the sector. The PPP provides the setting to learn and practice skills to train future health tourism business leaders.

Health Tourism PPP Management and Operations

MAG HWT Team LogoMedical tourism business clusters have been attempted in several countries, but they lack the infrastructure necessary to survive and thrive.  Maria Todd has been remediating some of the clusters created by other consulting firms. Many were built as a a simple group of hospitals for the purpose of co-opting massive to buy event exhibitor stands and pay for event hosting and sponsorships. That's MICE, not medical tourism business development. Many were led to believe that by raising a common flag and logo - they had developed a destination brand that would attract referrals. When it didn't happen, the cluster fell apart or remains but isn't really functional and doesn't grow the business of health or wellness tourism.  Maria has been working in several countries on five continents and has gained a devoted worldwide following. because of this remediation work and is now beginning to receive calls from new starts that haven't made the mistakes of their contemporaries.  

Developing PPPs to manage the health and wellness tourism business operations is not the same as creating a special economic zone or free trade zone for health and wellness tourism export. The PPP requires funding to operate but centralizes health tourism business administration and supports destination branding at a macro-level, enables analysis at the meso-level and preserves brand individuality and competitive rivalry at the micro-level.  Everybody wins.  

Data is managed using an affordable tool such as Higowell's  purpose-built, cloud-based platform, medConnect™ , (depicted below) is the only one of its kind, tested and ready for deployment by PPP health tourism promotion and operations clusters. The system was purpose built with the understanding that employees of the PPP would not have the experience at the early stages of PPP inception. Programming was designed to set the business rules in place to operate the PPP.  Training and development is provided through a support agreement for the first year (and beyond if required).  With functionality developed by collaborating, experienced travel and health tourism experts from India, Europe and the USA, the software was designed to prevent mistakes and oversights through required field entry and a library of pre-designed reports for quicker deployment and implementation.

Complementary smaller scale platforms are available for individual and chained-brand healthcare facilities and clinics, wellness centers (balneology, thalassotherapy, spa, etc.) and medical tourism facilitator applications are also available, but not required.  The suite provides for built-in interoperability between the PPP and its partner stakeholders, and is currently compliant with EU, US and Canadian healthcare information privacy regulations - and easily adaptable to other national and federal regulations of other jurisdictions.  The license is affordable, paid for in only a few cases. Ongoing costs are simply a modest maintenance fee to cover costs of enhancements and support.

Interoperability was paramount as a critical design specification because most health and wellness tourism outlets already have a legacy system in place that is not up for replacement, and the business of health and wellness tourism is most often an addition to a brand service line or sell off of excess capacity instead of a stand-alone business startup, except in the case of a medical tourism facilitator.  The Higowell suites come with a fully-developed content management system. At every level, simultaneous operation of a consumer facing marketing websites plus back end intranet are operated as one. This design reduces costs, eliminates finger-pointing associated with two disparate systems, and requires fewer personnel and administration to manage than running two separate software platforms (front end and back end operations of medical records exchange, logistics, messaging, data gathering, etc.)  

Any newcomer to the health tourism software scene seeking to develop and sell a competing product will first have to identify subject matter experts with practical experience in travel management and health tourism, and will require years to develop and test their product to compete head on with this first and only product in a narrow market space of health tourism PPP operations.  Higowell has received first round investor funding, but only after the product was developed with bootstrapped capital and sweat equity to deliver a functioning, marketable product and sales on the books. It is well on its way to steady growth managed by a CEO with a DBA and practical airline travel logistics and operations and officers and directors with health, travel and tourism subject matter expertise at its helm.

Health tourism cluster management and operations requires five critical elements to function and grow the business:

  1. a comprehensive regulatory framework 
  2. tools for data management and business administration
  3. a collaborative environment for stakeholders and government authorities
  4. management and administration by adequate staffing with defined roles and responsibilities
  5. business operations leadership and staffing powered by proper training and capacity development

We believe that only then, after the product is developed, should a medical or dental tourism or wellness cluster attempt to buy exhibitor pavillions and stands and buy advertising sponsorships at medical tourism trade gatherings. To do this prematurely risks irreparable destination brand damage from a cacophonous mixture of dissonant uncoordinated stakeholder messages that confuse the consumer.  The old adage in business still applies: "A confused consumer doesn't buy".


Mercury Healthcare International, Inc. (MHI) is the owner and curator of this website.
The Center for Health Tourism Strategy is the research division of MHI
Mercury Advisory Group, a leading health and wellness tourism consulting firm is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MHI
Mercury Health Travel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MHI is a health travel administrator for employers and insurers.
MHI is a shareholder in Higowell, the first and only robust medical tourism and wellness tourism website framework of its kind.

Executive Director: Health Tourism Expert, International Keynote Speaker, Author and Strategist,  Maria Todd.
Contributors: The consulting experts and authors of the Mercury Advisory Group

© 2016. Mercury Healthcare International, Inc.  All international rights reserved.


The Center for Health Tourism Strategy
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The Center for Health Tourism Strategy is the first and only website dedicated to re-imagining health and wellness tourism and travel