South East Asia’s Medical Tourism Hidden Gem
Among these giants and only a few kilometers of the Chinese east coast lies Taiwan, a country that has been silently developing its medical tourism industry for over a decade, and without much noise, suddenly finds itself competing with the aforementioned established destinations of medical tourism in the region.
So how has medical tourism in Taiwan flourished, while it has started later than other destinations and is also facing direct competition from some of the most powerful medical tourism destinations in the world?
Utilization of Tourism Capacities
Taiwan is one of the economical centers and traditional technological forerunners of its region and therefore sees a considerably large amount of annual tourists enter the island for either trade or recreational purposes.
In recent decades Taiwan has also managed to attract large amounts of investment from western states as they try to boost the country in opposition of China’s growing political and economic power.
These thriving investments and businesses result in further attraction of tourists and in many cases the number of foreign residents in Taiwan. The number of medical tourists in the country as well as the general trends of medical tourism in Taiwan is directly affected by these indexes.
Advanced Healthcare and Hospitals
The Healthcare in Taiwan alongside those of South Korea and Singapore are the most advanced and efficient in all of East Asia, a statement that is backed by World Health Organization ranking of the country’s healthcare as the 3rd best in East Asia and 17th in the world.
In contrast to hospitals in most popular medical tourism destinations, Taiwanese hospitals prefer not to opt for the accreditation of Joint Commission International and instead are directly accredited by the Joint Commission of Taiwan (JCT).
This state backed accreditation is divided into three levels, the first of which is required to hospital to begin operating in general. The second level enables the hospital to receive financial backing by the state and the third and final level allows the hospital to found its international patient department (IPD). The most famed and advanced of these hospitals are Taiwan’s National University Hospital and the Chang Chung Hospital.
Similar to Singapore, Taiwan is also a single city island. Therefore the 36 hospitals that are responsible for medical tourism in Taiwan provide the patient with overwhelming diversity of choice and availability of elite medical centers and hospitals. 14 of these 36 hospitals are among the Top 200 in the world, with only Germany and United States having more hospitals on the list.
Taiwanese Target Medical Tourism Markets
Taiwan if more or less recognized in its region as a developing medical tourism destination. Taiwan is in a constant struggle to compete with the already well-established giants of medical tourism in its region like Thailand and Malaysia and to that end, it even focuses its targeted audience on the citizens of these countries. The overwhelming numbers of incoming medical tourists in these countries sometimes temporarily cripples the speedy provision of medical services, and this coupled with Taiwan’s close distance, similar culture, and familiar prices create an impetus for the citizens of other island countries of South East Asia to visit the country for medical treatment.|
Medical Tourism in Thailand
Medical Tourism in Singapore
Medical Toursim in South Korea
Another hidden potential that can catapult medical tourism in Taiwan to suppress all competition is its shared history with China. The people of these countries are of the same ethnic and cultural background and all that separates them is political conflict. Currently this conflict results in the Chinese rarely visiting Taiwan for medical treatment.
However if the current path of facilitating the means of travel between the two countries bares fruit, Taiwan can sap into the massive Chinese market with ease and become one of the largest medical tourism destinations in the world overnight.
Another significant part of the Taiwanese medical tourism intake is composed of Korean and Japanese patients who choose Taiwan as a medical destination as a means of lowering medical expense.
Medial Tourism in Taiwan is yet to find its market in the west however, the Taiwanese government has removed the visa requirement for the citizens of USA, European Union, Australia and Canada to encourage this market to seek medical care in the island.
Top Treatments of Taiwanese Healthcare
In 2015 there were over 300 thousand medical tourists who visited Taiwan, seeking treatment. Among these patients, cardiovascular, spinal, orthopedic, joint replacement, and organ transplantation surgeries as well as cancer treatments were the most popular.
High Tech, Low Prices
As we said, Taiwan is among the top three most medically advanced countries of East Asia. However in contrast to the other two destinations, this has not resulted in the inflation of medical treatment costs, and medical tourism in Taiwan remains competitive even with destinations as cheap as Thailand and Malaysia.
For Example, A hip replacement surgery costs 35 thousand dollars in the US, 12 thousand in Thailand, and only 9 thousand in Taiwan.
Author: Parsa Khaknezhad