As one of the top medical tourism countries in the world is Malaysia. Malaysia has received several awards for the services they render while providing them at an affordable cost. For three years in a row, starting in 2015, the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) named Malaysia destination of the year. (….) Medical tourism is something that is becoming more and more popular, as is being promoted all over the world. Malaysia has opened the doors and is welcoming individuals that are seeking treatments for various reasons. The services that are being offered vary from hospital to hospital but one thing that they have in common is that they are all equipped with the latest technology. Not only are they equipped with the latest technology but they have doctors that are specialized in distinct medical fields. The doctors have gone above and beyond to get the education level they need, this includes going to school out of the country for example, in the U.S. or even U.K. For this reason, many individuals don’t hesitate on leaving their countries to go see a doctor somewhere else, because there is no language barrier and the doctors are just as capable at handling any medical emergency.
Medical tourism keeps growing by the day, and is getting more popular as Malaysia promotes its goods and services. A few of the reasons why many individuals prefer to do medical tourism is because there is no wait list, this means that you schedule your appointment when it is more convenient for you, without the doctors interfering. Among having an appointment with no wait list, you also have high savings. In Malaysia the savings could be from 60 to 80%. Not only are you saving money by doing medical tourism, but you are receiving high quality treatment, that includes the best surgeons. When doing a procedure that has a long recovery, you have the opportunity to explore and travel with certain restrictions. While staying at a world class facility, you have access to the latest technology as you receive great patient care.
The four p’s in healthcare comprise of product, price, promotion, and place. To start off, product is the good or service that is received as a patient. This could be in the form of medication or any type of surgery or medical procedure. The treatments that are among the most popular in Malaysia are “dental treatment, plastic surgery procedures, cosmetic surgery, cardiac surgery, fertility treatments, ear nose throat (ENT), orthopedic surgery, oncology, urology, general screening”. (…..) to list a few. Some of the strengths that are associated with this product are the low cost, and also the availability of being able to get this service when it’s convenient for the patient. On the other hand, a weakness of the product is the distance from the patient’s original location to Malaysia. In case of an emergency, once the patient is back home, it won’t be as easy to get in touch with the doctor when he might be managing the care of other patients.The opportunities that a patient has of being allowed to get these medical procedures done is considerable. Although prior search has to be done on the individuals medical records, and history, in most cases, the procedure is undertaken. A threat to this product is that there is competition with other countries that do the same medical procedures, and may have lower prices, which decreases the possibilities of individuals coming into Malaysia to get their surgeries done for example.
After looking at the different products being offered in Malaysia the next thing to look at when when it comes to the four p’s is the price. In comparison to other countries around the world, Malaysia has relatively low prices for procedures that would normally be out of budget in other countries. Although for some treatments, the price range might not be decided yet, that is due to the distinct medical conditions the patient could have. For this reason, some doctors like to review the medical history and also have a face-to-face consultation with the patient. A strength that the price section of the marketing mix has is that the price is very low and affordable for individuals with low income. The price compared to other countries for a valve replacement is substantial. In doing the procedure in Malaysia, the patient could save approximately one hundred and fifty thousand U.S. dollars. The money that could be saved by doing the medical procedure in Malaysia can help cover travel expenses and possibly another procedure. A weakness on the price is that although it is relatively low, it does not cover travel expenses and other miscellaneous costs. These additional expenses increase the total charge of the procedure and therefore the savings are reduced. This makes the patient indifferent on whether their medical procedure should be done in another country or simply in their own city or town. The opportunities of getting a price this low in a city is rarely seen, and would normally have no savings compared to Malaysia. Therefore, there is an increase in the number of individuals we see doing medical tourism nowadays because the savings are huge. A threat to the price is that it might fluctuate as the economy changes. Below is a price comparison of the different procedures and their cost at distinct locations, and as you can see the prices in Malaysia are incredibly low, and unbelievable.
Furthermore, the next thing to look at is the promotion that is being made by the government of Malaysia to get more individuals to go get their medical services done over there. There is a counsel in Malaysia that was established in 2009 called The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) that has the responsibility to promote and expand medical tourism. This includes increasing the budget for medical tourism, while also encouraging their services. To promote Malaysia, the government has already established a website, where you can go and see the distinct hospitals and dental clinics that are in different areas of Malaysia like Selangor or Kedah. Unlike other places, Malaysia has this website established to have a central site that any person interested in medical tourism can search and look up the different medical services they offer, while looking at the distinct hospitals. Another way that Malaysia is being promoted is by healthcare missions. Medical tourism can also be promoted by newspaper ads, exhibitions, and conferences among other things. Malaysia’s top medical treatment include health screenings which would probably be the focus of their promotion.
Addiction and Recovery
Cosmetic Surgery, Cardiac
Continuously, the last marketing mix that I will be talking about is place. The place where you will be receiving all of the treatments and medical services can either be at a hospital or at a clinic depending on the procedure. When getting a procedure that is specialized in something in particular, you might have to go to a specialty clinic instead of a regular primary care clinic. In discussing both of these options, they are distinct but similar in the way that they have great doctors and have new technology that improve the care of the patient. In having the procedure done in another country, you will not be staying at a regular room, you would probably be staying in a room that is more like a suit and has the comfort of a home. These rooms are private and are luxurious. Not only will treatment be provided by excellent doctors but you will be staying at a hospital that is world class. As you analyze the pie chart below, you will see that most of the individuals that seek treatment in Malaysia are from surrounding areas like Indonesia and Singapore. This might be due to the location of Malaysia and the ease of individuals living close by and not having a lot of travel expenses associated with their medical procedure.
There are certain visa requirements that travelers have to abide by, depending on their country of origin. For individuals seeking to get medical attention in Malaysia that are from the United States, Switzerland, Netherlands, U.K.and British Commonwealth/protected classes there is no visa needed no matter the length of stay. Usually travelers stay from one to three months. For individuals that are from Argentina, Romania, Luxembourg, Cuba among others, have no visa requirement but they can’t stay for more than three months. Nigeria, India, and China are just a few examples of places that need to get a Malaysian visa for entry. Citizens from Yugoslavia, and Israel have to get a special approval in order to be able to stay in Malaysia. Some individuals can acquire a medical visa that authorizes them to get a travel permit that allows them to get medical attention when necessary. Crime and terrorism are a few examples of what could be a negative travel issue. When going to a place that has certain issues, like the ones mentioned above, you might avoid going. But just as there are negative travel issues, there are also positive things that happen all around the world.
In the next few years, the medical tourism market in Malaysia will increase drastically. It is said that from 2016 to 2024 there will be an increase of about 30.05%. (Transparency Market Research) The healthcare industry is expanding and will continue to expand for some time. Although the competition from surrounding countries exist, Malaysia is doing its best to catch the eye of future patients. As stated in the website Tourism Malaysia, medical tourism has tripled from 2001 to 2006. Out of the distinct hospitals in Malaysia, thirty-five private hospitals are promoting medical tourism. By promoting medical tourism, the market will see an impact on the amount of individuals that seek medical treatment in Malaysia. In being an easy country to get into, many individuals choose Malaysia as their destination for medical treatment. In 2016, Malaysia welcomed 940,000 foreigners to their country.
When determining the SWOT components of medical tourism you can see several things, for example the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that are incorporated in getting medical treatments done in another country. The strengths found in medical tourism specifically in Malaysia is the uniqueness the country has on its own. This includes natural and manmade things like rainforest, beaches, and lakes. Similarly, another strength is that the culture is very easy to relate to. Although you can see several differences from the different cultures, you can easily get used to the habits that are commonly done amongst the people. Another strength is that there will be no language barrier, because most of the people living in Malaysia speak english. They also have the newest technology which enables them to encourage the promotion of their medical services to increase the revenue. Moving on to the weaknesses, we can see that there is a low profit margin. In hotels for example, not many improvements and updates are being made to the existing room because there is no funds to change the bed sheets for example. This also affects the number of training sessions hotel employees receive because there is no money saved for this these types of enhancements. This reduces the service and quality the hotel has overall. On the other hand, some of the opportunities Malaysia has is that the airfare prices to get to and from Malaysia are low and within budget. The chance to see historical sights is still a possibility since the sights have been reserved for tourist. In addition some of the threats that Malaysia is facing is the safety of their people. Crime rates are high in places like Malaysia. Sicknesses and also natural disasters are factors that are impossible to control, that can decrease the amount of individuals that go and get medical treatment in Malaysia.
The aspects of the country that can help and/or deter medical tourism are the following, culture, behavioral, food, amongst other things. The culture in Malaysia is very diverse, and some of the things that are tradition over there, aren’t quite as normal in the U.S. This can help medical tourism for the individuals that like to explore and try new things. Any person that has an interest in traveling the world, has a chance to do that by getting a medical procedure done in another country and exploring the country while you’re in recovery.The main factor that I think would deter medical tourism is the high crime rates.This includes credit card fraud, and also public transportation safety. In being a tourist who is going to get a medical procedure done, you could get lost very easily in a country that is not familiar to you, creating an unsafe environment. On the other hand, food can also be a factor that attracts individuals to do medical procedures in another country. Malaysia offers a wide range of food options from rice to seafood. Malaysian food is similar to that of Indonesian food. One of the top dishes that Malaysia has is what is called Mee goreng mamak. It basically consist of noodles, chicken or beef whichever you prefer, and soy sauce, in addition to eggs and veggies. Malaysia has additional dishes like Apam balik, Nasi Kerabu, and Ayam percik that alongside Mee goreng mamak are famously known.
Lastly, I would like to state my own personal opinion and thoughts about medical tourism. I personally think that medical tourism can be very beneficial to individuals who do not have a high income and may be struggling financially. As you saw in the price comparison chart, the prices for various treatments differ drastically from the United States to Malaysia. Depending on the service, you’re not only saving a couple of dollars but thousands of dollars. When it comes to people who do not have any type of insurance, the individual might feel overwhelmed in doing a certain procedure in the U.S. where they will have a debt for the rest of their life. For that reason, I think that it is a good idea for other countries to offer incentives to go get procedures done over there at an affordable cost, where you could get the procedure done and be debt free after the recovery. Not only are you getting the same medical procedure done, but you are also saving money, while in the hands of great doctors. Many individuals are financially stable, and would prefer to get their medical procedures done in the U.S. without having to leave the comfort of their homes, while others aren’t as fortunate and have to find alternative ways of curing their sickness. I honestly do not know if I would go to another country like Malaysia to get a medical procedure done, not because I don’t want to, but because of all the risk that could happen. I’m very close to my family and I know that I can’t take everyone with me to another country, so for that reason I would think twice about going and getting a medical procedure done somewhere else. I also think that if individuals go and get the surgeries and procedures done in other countries, not only are you getting a benefit by paying cheaper prices, but you are also helping that countries economy.
Malaysia is among the top countries to get recognized for having superior medical tourism care from all over the world. They have received numerous awards like Health and Medical Tourism Destination of the Year that recognizes the country on its efforts to increase the quality of the procedures while also providing these services at an affordable cost. Medical tourism is not only being promoted and encouraged but is being heard about more often. As more and more people are finding out about the advantages that getting a medical procedure done in another country can get you, these individuals are willing to travel to get the treatment done. There are many risks associated with any procedure, but many individuals are willing to take the risk in other countries in order to reduce the cost of the procedure and increase the comfort of the room. As I mentioned at the beginning of the essay, there are several reasons why an individual decides on medical tourism like no wait list, high savings, and also the opportunity of exploring the country.