John Hagel writes:
It turns out more and more patients in need of expensive operations are traveling to distant locations to have these procedures performed. Certainly one of the key drivers of this trend is the escalating cost of medical care in developed economies. There’s a potential for significant cost savings when the procedures are performed in countries like India or Singapore. The New York Times article tells the story of Gary Hulmes, a furniture store manager from Florida who went to New Delhi to have spinal surgery done and paid a total of $9,000 including airfare, a five-day hospital stay, and a total stay of three weeks in India (with some sightseeing thrown in). If performed in a US hospital, the same procedure would have cost $36,000 50,000.
But like the broader offshoring trend, cost is only part of the story. The interesting part (only briefly addressed in the article) has to do with the emergence of highly specialized hospitals in offshore locations that offer state of the art equipment and highly trained physicians that can equal or better the quality record of US physicians. The surgeries being performed include very challenging cardiac, spinal and ophthalmologic procedures.