New strategy to develop healthcare travel to Malaysia

 

Malaysia’s Ministry of Health has reviewed and added seven hospitals and eight ambulatory-care facilities to 35 existing private hospitals in a bid to compete in the regional and global healthcare tourism industry.

Minister Seri Liow Tong Lai says, “The new criteria for selecting private healthcare facilities will ensure that Malaysia can offer a range of services at affordable prices. These include healthcare screening; complex treatments such as cardiothoracic, hand and microsurgery; and post-treatment such as physiotherapy. Singapore, Thailand and India have captured a large portion of the healthcare travel industry in this region. Countries like Indonesia, South Korea and the Philippines are also looking at venturing into this industry in a big way."

Malaysia claims to have attracted 392,956 healthcare travellers in 2010. The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) is formulating strategic plans to promote the industry and trying to resolve issues affecting it. The ministry wants unaccredited hospitals to get accreditation by the end of 2011. The process takes two years for new hospitals. Expenses incurred for hospital accreditation are eligible for double deduction under the Income Tax Act of 1967.

MHTC will coordinate promotional activities for Malaysian healthcare providers and others. The healthcare travel industry will be private sector driven, but MHTC will become a focal point for all matters related to healthcare travel, for the industry and healthcare travellers. MHTC seeks to ensure that, promotional efforts are more focused, and raise Malaysia's international profile as a country that provides quality healthcare services.

According to a new RNCOS research report ‘Malaysia Medical Tourism Outlook 2012’, Malaysia has emerged as the most popular medical tourist destination in the ASEAN region. Increasing healthcare costs in developed nations, and the chance to get world-class treatment along with the opportunity to spend quality time in exotic locations, are leading people to search for reasonable health care services in the nation. The Malaysian medical tourism industry’s revenue is anticipated to grow at 16% a year between 2011 and 2014.

The increased number of medical tourists has opened up new market opportunities for spas, dentistry, and cosmetic surgery. The biggest driver of the Malaysian medical tourism industry is the region’s improving health infrastructure. The country has shown remarkable improvement in meeting the demand for quality-assured medical care via trained medical specialists and first-class facilities. Malaysia vastly differs from other destinations in terms of cost, infrastructure, human resources, patient perceptions, competencies, and the level of government support.

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