Tech plays an important role in medical tourism, report says

Medical tourism is continuously booming in Asia. Pic: designer491/Shutterstock

AFFORDABLE prices, cutting-edge equipment, and easy accessibility are just some of the reasons medical tourism is a booming sector in Asia.

In the competitive nature of the industry, technology plays an essential role for many reasons, according to a report by Dr Prem.

Firstly, tech will help to “bridge the gap between healthcare providers and medical tourists”, and having an accessible online space into which both doctors and patients can generate input will be an invaluable service to medical tourists.

One of the “spaces” that could be better utilized by the industry is the cloud, where electronic medical records could be shared with patients in any part of the world. Using an electronic system could also prove more efficient in reducing risk of errors in medication and diagnosis.

Healthcare providers could also benefit from data mining where data from sources such as case studies and medical journals can be archived into a single platform to ease access and efficiency.

Data extracted can be used to better inform medical tourists, and on top of that, pharmacies around the world could also deliver medication to those in need.

In Asia, Singapore has often been hailed as a model nation in terms of cutting-edge technology in the field of medical tourism, thus attracting medical tourists for complex procedures.

For instance, at Farrer Park Hospital – where foreigners make up half the patient count – a tablet can be used to view medical records, order meals and even shop online, and have purchases delivered to a location of the patient’s choice.

However, with fierce competition in Asia as well as neighbouring countries like Malaysia and Thailand stepping up their games, medical tourism receipts in Singapore have taken a hit.

In a letter published in Straits Times, Dr Hajime Ichiseki expressed that Singapore could do well to collaborate with Japan to expand the market for medical tourism.

He said that while Singapore may enjoy cutting-edge and personalized therapies, Japan can offer healing capabilities because of the minerals in the spring and Zen ceremonies at local temples for stress relief.