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Jen-Ai Hospital International Patient Center Discusses
"Medical Tourism in Taiwan"

2008/07/04
BY MARK K. CHAN
TAICHUNG, JEN-AI HOSPITAL - DALI


ˇ@ˇ@ In recent years, key words, such as "medical travel", "health tourism", "medical tourism", "global healthcare" and "international medicine" have all become quite "trendy" among healthcare institutions around the world; ringing especially true for hospitals in Taiwan. Jen-Ai Hospital International Patient Center (JAH IPC) having opened its doors back in September 2003, became the first hospital in Taiwan to launch "International Patient Center". As a result, JAH IPC has been approached by few media outlets in the past several years (most recently by IMTJ Magazine) to discuss its views on "Medical Tourism in Taiwan". And below are some excerpts from that interview.

Julian Tan, Assistant Editor of IMTJ Magazine, asks:
("International Medical Travel Journal" is the premier publication about Medical Travel in the world)

Regarding Taiwan as a destination for medical travel -
  ˇE What advantages or disadvantages do you think the destination has for international patients / visitors? (For example, how do medical costs in Taiwan compare to other destinations like Thailand and Malaysia? Are there any language barriers for people from abroad seeking treatment in Taiwan? Are the hospitals getting enough support from the government in promoting medical tourism? )
  ˇE Direct flights from China are scheduled to start on July 4, how do you think this will benefit Taiwan's medical tourism?
  ˇE Is Taiwan ready for medical travel and what does it offer medical travelers?

Mark K. Chan, Program Director of International Patient Center, responds:
(Note: This response is subjective and may not represent the official stance of Jen-Ai Hospital - Dali.)

ˇ@ˇ@In my personal opinion (working on Jen-Ai Hospital's International Patient Center program for more than 5 years and visiting various International Patient Centers all over Southeast Asia), there are some advantages that Taiwan has for international patients / visitors, but there are also some disadvantages, as well.

  Advantages include: 1. High Tech Equipments & Technology; 2. Highly Skilled Doctors; 3. Reasonable Prices (But Not the Lowest); 4. Easy Access to Speedy Care; 5. Chinese-Speaking (for the Mainland China market); etc.

  Disadvantages include: 1. Hospital Staffs' English Level Is Not Good Enough (Most Are Not Multilingual); 2. Not Service-Oriented Enough; 3. Not Enough Experience in Handling ("Demanding / Difficult") Foreigners; 4. Not Enough JCI-Accredited Hospitals in Taiwan; 5. Not Enough Marketing of Services / Lack of Government Support; etc.

ˇ@ˇ@From my understanding, Taiwan prices are not the lowest in Southeast Asia (they say that prices in Malaysia & Philippines are lower, but India is probably the lowest), but then again, prices in Taiwan are still significantly lower compared to the U.S., Europe and Australia; and also lower than Singapore and Thailand.

As I've alluded in the "Disadvantages", Taiwan's hospital staffs' English level is not good enough to care for the international patients that are quite demanding and most are not multilingual (unlike some of the people in Singapore, Malaysia, etc.). So there are definitely language barriers for people from abroad seeking treatment in Taiwan, unless they speak Mandarin Chinese, which may prove to be extremely helpful in dealing with the Mainland China market, in the very near future.

ˇ@ˇ@As for getting support from the government, I believe the hospitals in Taiwan were not getting enough support from the government in promoting medical tourism in the past (our hospital is a prime example). It was literally only last year that the government showed any interest to pursue medical tourism, after seeing the success of Thailand and now, Singapore. However, I believe Taiwan started a bit too late; since other countries, such as India, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, etc. have already made great strides in promoting medical tourism in their respective countries. The only chance that Taiwan may do well in the future is the Mainland China market that the rest of the Southeast Asian countries are eyeing, but only time will tell to see how Taiwan fare in this regard.

ˇ@ˇ@Our new Taiwan President, Ma Ying-jeou have succeeded in getting direct flights from China to Taiwan to commence on July 4, but we will have to wait and see if success in medical tourism can become a reality in this country. But with a new government in place, hospitals in Taiwan may now be getting the full support that may prove to be instrumental in Taiwan's success in the medical tourism field. The air accessibility to China will definitely open up many doors / opportunities. I am sure that this will greatly benefit Taiwan's medical tourism; and ultimately its track records against other Southeast Asian countries.

ˇ@ˇ@As for my views on whether Taiwan is ready for medical travel and what it offers to medical travelers, having worked for a Harvard-affiliated medical center (Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston) and visiting more than a dozen medical institutions around the world, I have high expectations, but I am fairly optimistic about Taiwan's future prospects (but I believe Taiwan still has a long way to go, before medical tourism is considered a success). This year will prove to be a very crucial year to see whether Taiwan can compete with other countries in the medical tourism field. If Taiwan can coordinate resources (getting capable talents to work on the same goal of internationalizing medical services in Taiwan) and achieve "par excellence" over other Southeast Asian countries, Taiwan may have a promising future in the "Medical Travel" arena.

Medical Tourism in Taiwan   Medical Tourism in Taiwan   Medical Tourism in Taiwan
 
Media that featured this news:
   
IMTJ Magazine 
IMTJ Magazine Website 
MissionCare Chronicles 
Taiwan Journal 
Taiwan Journal Website
Taiwan Today Website new
Taiwan aujourdˇ¦hui Website new
Taiwan What's Up Newsletter new
Taiwan What's Up Newsletter Website new
Taiwan Hospital Association 
Taichung City Government new
Taiwan Medical and Cosmetic Tourism  new
Hospitals Worldwide 
MediLexicon 
Pangaea Medicine 
yoursurgeryabroad.com 
ArabMedicalTourist.com 
topmedicaltourismworld.com 1 
topmedicaltourismworld.com 2 
healthtourisminasia.com 1 
healthtourisminasia.com 2 
healthfacilitiesinindia.com 1 
healthfacilitiesinindia.com 2 
squidoo.com 
hubpages.com 
   
 
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