A Collaborative Framework for Medical Tourism Service Supply Chain Operations

A Collaborative Framework for Medical Tourism Service Supply Chain Operations

Saliha Karadayi-Usta (Istanbul Teknik Üniversitesi, Turkey) and Seyda Serdarasan (Istanbul Teknik Üniversitesi, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 32
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9787-2.ch011
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Medical tourism is a combination of medical and tourism services that attracts medical travelers to destination countries. Collaboration between the members of the medical tourism service supply chain (MTSSC) is important to maintain a sustainable business. Thus, in this chapter, the authors use Collaborative Planning Forecasting Replenishment (CPFR) model as a reference and adapt it for medical tourism services. The focus of this chapter is on the collaboration between an assistance company and a medical institution. This chapter suggests a collaborative MTSSC operations framework including steps, tools, and techniques for collaboration arrangement and joint business plans, demand planning and forecasting, balancing the demand and capacity, the execution phase, and the final performance measurement. It describes how multiple supply chain partners intelligence could be combined to fulfill demand of medical tourists by aligning the planned actions and available resources with the real execution process by a set of tools and techniques.
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Medical tourism service is the type of healthcare tourism where patients receive treatment and/or rehabilitation in healthcare institutions outside their country of residence. Medical tourists intend to take the advantage of shorter waiting times in the destination country, relatively low medical intervention costs, availability of well-recognized medical professionals, and the opportunity to discover new countries and touristic locations simultaneously (Connell 2006, Hopkins et al. 2010).

Recent treatment trends in medical tourism include birth tourism (Jaramillo et al., 2019), cancer treatment (Kim et al., 2019), transplant tourism (Nino-Murcia et al., 2018), stem cell tourism (Touré et al., 2018), cosmetic surgery tourism (Pereira et al., 2018), renal replacement therapy (Amahazion, 2018), and bariatric tourism (Peters and Gangemi, 2018). In addition, business reports address that the dental, cardiovascular, orthopedics and ophthalmic treatment trends, and the fertility treatments segment are expected to obtain the highest compound annual growth rate (Mordor Intelligence, 2019).

The most popular medical tourism destination countries are located in Asia and the Pacific region with lower costs as well as better and faster healthcare services. Figure 1 provides the number of medical travelers estimated by country in 2018 (Patients Beyond Borders, 2019).

Figure 1.

Estimated number of inbound medical travelers by destination country in the year 2018 (Patients Beyond Borders, 2019)


According to Patients Beyond Borders (2019), the size of the medical tourism market is $65-87.5 billion with an average spending of $3410 per visit per patient, and the worldwide medical tourism market is expected to grow at a rate of 15-25%. Additionally, more than one thousand medical centers and hospitals around the world have so far been awarded the Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation and this number is increasing by around 20% per year (JCI, 2019).

Jagyasi (2019) describes the year 2018 as quite exciting with market disruptors emerging and new destination countries breaking into the medical tourism sector, while 2019 is anticipated to exhibit an unprecedented growth with the globalization of healthcare focusing on patient-centric and patient-friendly ambiance. Artificial Intelligence in decision making, patients’ preferences towards personalized medicine, web/mobile applications supporting the medical tourism venture, post-operative follow up treatment with telemedicine and advanced software programs, adoption of blockchain technology, cross-border payments through cryptocurrency, government supported information platform to provide authenticity, new popular destination countries, more regional associations, medical cities projects, quality knowledge, and skill building workshops are all trending topics in medical tourism (Jagyasi, 2019).

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