Robinson, a member of the marketing team at the Hadassah
Medical Center in Jerusalem
provides an overview of Israel’s inbound international patient business.
The evolution of Israel as a medical powerhouse
has been gradual but has maintained its momentum over the last decade or so.
Israel has always possessed the human
capital and capabilities to become a leader in the realm of medicine but was at
times lacking in the state-of-the-art equipment required to deliver the best
medical care. This is no longer the case and the abundance of human capital is
no longer hindered by a lack of capital; investment from the state as well as bequests
from wealthy benefactors have ensured that Israel has a first world medical
service consistent with its status as a
first world country.
As the Jewish homeland, Israel has always
placed a disproportionate amount of energy into providing the best in medical
care; nothing is deemed more important or sacred than human life. Similarly,
the contribution of Jews in general and Israeli Jews in particular to advances
in the complementary fields of science, medicine, biotechnology, and
biomedicine guarantee that Israeli doctors are at the cutting edge of medical
advances. Many medical innovations are actually developed in Israel and are
available for use in Israel prior to them being approved by the EU or FDA.
Israel medical tourism in a global marketplace
Israel now competes in a global marketplace.
The world has become a much
smaller place with the growth of air travel.
The Internet enables the
instant global transfer of information.
The education and training of
medical practitioners outside their homeland is commonplace.
either for their major or as
part of their vocational training.
English is becoming the
globally accepted language of medicine.
It was only a matter of time before medical
tourism would emerge as a viable method of delivering medical services at
competitive rates – a merging of medicine and economics.
Never one to be left behind, Israel has
been at the forefront of the medical tourism revolution. Israel is not only the homeland of Israeli
Jews but of all Jews. Consequently,
Jews from all over the world are drawn to Israel to start a new life in their
true home. Among these immigrants, or Olim as they are referred from the Hebrew
word “Oleh” meaning to ascend (spiritually), is an enormous wealth of human capital
that has been trained in foreign countries. Following their emigration to
Israel their medical qualifications are ratified to ensure they meet local
standards. Due to this immigration, Israel is inundated with doctors who are
not only proficient in Hebrew and English but also French, Spanish, Russian,
and a preponderance of other languages; ensuring those arriving from foreign
countries for medical treatment will not feel alienated due to language.
Who visits Israel for medical treatment?
Israel is popular with visitors from all
over Europe including Germany, the UK and France. Patients from the former USSR, the U.S., Australia, and
South Africa also visit Israel for medical treatments. Israel receives many patients
from Cyprus for bone marrow transplants as the procedure is not available in
The Dead Sea - exploiting a natural resource
The Dead Sea is the earth’s lowest
elevation on land and has a unique mixture of attributes amenable to people
suffering from certain medical conditions such as psoriasis and cystic
fibrosis. People visit from all over the
world to avail themselves of the mineral rich waters and mud of the Dead Sea,
the reduced UV rays (due to the lowness of the location), and the higher atmospheric
pressure. Popular therapies include heliotherapy, climatotherapy, and
The local-foreign link
Every Israeli, even the unemployed, must
pay a monthly stipend that is linked to their income for the provision of
medical services by the state. Most Israelis also have private health insurance
to cover additional medical expenses. Notwithstanding that the Israelis have
amongst the best and most comprehensive medical coverage in the world, there is
still ample capacity to service foreigners looking for the best medical treatment
at reasonable rates.
Israel may be a first world country with
first rate medical facilities and doctors but these doctors earn considerably
less than their counterparts in other countries with reputable medical
treatment. This enables Israeli medical practitioners to offer world best
service for prices well below similar services in other first world countries.
Another factor enabling the provision of
first world medical services at competitive prices is that Israel does not have
the litigious nature of other countries resulting in doctors not having to pay
the enormous insurance premiums against malpractice. These savings are passed
on to clients.
All of Israel’s major hospitals offer medical
tourism packages. Medical tourists pay more than local clients but usually much
less than comparable procedures in countries with facilities and doctors of a
similarly high standard.
Part of the attraction of medical tourism
is that the money saved from the procedure is used to finance the trip,
accommodation, and recuperative period in the host country. Israel is a small
country with excellent weather – hot summers and mild winters, as well as
excellent tourist infrastructure, with a range of accommodation options and
tourist attractions that are the envy of many a country.
Medical tourism in Israel is highly
developed and people considering this option will find that every consideration
has been taken to ensure their trip is a success on every level.
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