Medical Tourism- A Growing Industry

One indicator of how expensive our health system has become is the rapid growth of the medical tourism industry. Patients Beyond Borders estimates the market is between $38 Billion and $55 Billion , and growing between 15 and 25% annually.

Depending on the specific procedures you need, it may be possible for you and a companion to fly to your destination, see the sights, stay in 5 star hotels, dine at 5 star restaurants, receive your medical services at a world class hospital, by doctors who, frequently , are American trained and board certified, and fly back to the US, all for less than the procedure alone costs in the US.

And, close by, Cuba shows signs of becoming a future destination for medical tourism. An interesting article in the New York Times on Medical Tourism discusses Cuba’s potential.

Something interesting to learn about…

February, 2015

Patient access to their own health information- it’s yours! Control it! #health

One of the best ways for someone to become self-sufficient is to engage, not just read. A useful way to engage is through blogs, which allow you to comment and even discuss online your questions and opinions on various subjects.

We have presented our links in a structured format, such that they help someone proceed down the path to independence. And the first section we feature is “Patient Access to Information on Themselves”. At the end of this post, we provide a link to a very useful blog post in this area, which may serve as a gateway for the reader- you- to reach out and become engaged. Our full list of links can be found at www.healthtactics.com/LinkIndex.html.

Background
The health care industry has long regarded patient files as “their” information. True, it is the providers that do the work- x-rays, lab tests, and other procedures that make up the medical record. But the information is about us, and much of it we give to the provider during a check-up, interview or on a form. So whose information is it?

The pendulum is shifting towards a view that it is the patient’s information. Yes, the provider should be compensated for copying costs or other administrative costs required to prepare that information for you, but you should definitely receive the information. And in the era of electronic patient records, it is easier than ever to request a copy or printout for the patient. So why is it so hard to get your health care information? Part of the answer, no doubt, is that information is power. And in this case, control of your record means the ability to continue to treat you and bill for those services.

We encourage you to read and become informed on this subject. Take charge of your health. Reach out and interact with the authors or other contributors to the blogs we recommend. Over time, we will mention blogs in each of the areas in our links section, designed to increase independence.

The first such link is to the Project Health Design blog, and can be found at http://projecthealthdesign.typepad.com/project_health_design/2013/02/index.html

While the Project Health Design blog is a wealth of information on a number of subjects, this post is specific to patient access to health information. Please enjoy, and we hope you return here for future recommendations on becoming more independent in managing your health.