Health Options Worldwide Offers U.S. Hospitals Advice on Becoming Destination Hospitals for Domestic Medical Tourism

PR Newswire

PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 9, 2010

PRINCETON, N.J., Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — With the spotlight on national companies like Lowe’s and Hannaford sending employees to regional American hospitals for healthcare, the competitive playing field for area hospitals just got bigger. “By focusing and excelling in one value-based and competitively priced key service to businesses, destination hospitals can attract patients all over the country and keep medical tourism right here in the United States,” said David Goldstein, president of Health Options Worldwide (HOW), an online medical tourism agency that connects physicians to patients.

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The process to become a destination hospital is difficult but not complicated, but the benefits are worth it. The growing popularity of domestic medical travel is fueling aggressive hospital and physician marketing. Healthcare plans negotiate lower fees with hospitals and doctors, who can realize revenue from their excess capacity. “Effortless travel arrangements, employer healthcare plan incentives and not having to travel too far from home are also adding to the popularity of the concept,” said Goldstein, whose website offers a comprehensive database of physicians that offer quality healthcare at competitive prices.

A destination hospital is usually considered a medical center of excellence (COE). COEs are those hospitals that achieve the highest scores for patient outcomes and cost efficiency. “A medical center of excellence is a great way to keep reluctant patients from going overseas,” said Goldstein. U.S. hospitals that are making a name for themselves as destination hospitals include: the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, MD Andersen Cancer Center, Austin (Texas) Heart Hospital, Galichia Heart Hospital (Kansas), North Central Heart Institute (South Dakota) and McBride Orthopedic Hospital (Oklahoma).

COE discounts can be very enticing, from 35 to 40 percent, and even up to 60 percent for network hospitals. “The savings are significant and easily justify the travel costs,” said Goldstein. Healthcare plan administrators can create a bundled fee package, which eliminates the element of surprise in pricing. Other domestic medical tourism benefits include reduced liability, in the event of complications, which are easier to handle stateside than overseas.

“Healthcare reform and the Internet have been huge drivers for domestic medical travel,” says Goldstein, “Healthcare reform affects waiting times in community hospitals, while the Internet makes it easier for the consumer to research information about providers out of state, which is what HOW allows them to do.” With the power of the Internet, HOW offers consumers more than a basic search engine result – they provide cost comparisons, office locations, provider experience, education, training, credentials, skills and even patient reviews.

Goldstein believes that domestic medical travel will only continue to gain momentum and offers the following tips in creating a destination hospital:

Stand out – Choose a key service that you excel in and market it. Be the market authority in that specific service, because the more popular hospitals have narrowly defined differentiation strategies that enable them to distinguish themselves.

Make yours a “destination hospital” in your marketing efforts – Emphasizing that key service and shop it around to businesses, insurance companies and consumers.

Negotiate partnerships with businesses – Offer services in your key healthcare area, which will result in increased traffic, more staff experience and higher quality.

Contact: David Goldstein, President, Health Options Worldwide, 1-877-234-1345

SOURCE Health Options Worldwide (HOW)

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