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Health for export

In the Far East, intend to engage in the development of medical tourism

Over the next five years, the Russian Ministry of Health intends to seriously promote domestic medicine among foreign patients. For this, they began to formulate a concept for the development of the export of medical services, and the measures will also affect the Far East. In Vladivostok, during the profile session of the Far Eastern Forum “Pacific Russia - the Territory of Health”, officials, experts and clinic heads discussed the competitive advantages of the industry in attracting patients from Korea and China.

Health for export

Seven steps to patients

The Ministry of Health and the National Council of Medical Tourism are responsible for developing the export strategy of medical services at the state level. Its president, Yevgeny Chernyshev, noted that for this, a seven-step model is being implemented in the regions. First, the subjects must determine the list of territories - patient donors. We are talking about foreign cities located in close proximity to the place of assistance. 

The regional ministries of health should carefully study the difference in legislation with the countries where patients are coming from, identify strong profiles in the provision of medical care and understand their relevance to foreigners. It is important to compare the price ranges for a particular service in order to offer it to a patient from another state at a more attractive price.

“The assessment of the export potential of medical services in the region is made up of the totality of the capabilities of each clinic. You need to understand the time, labor costs on the state task and how much time and resources are left to serve foreign patients. And then a figure appears, how much we can attract them - this is the final amount. The promotion budget is also becoming clear, ”said Yevgeny Chernyshev.

Now 71 region of the country and more than 500 state medical organizations have joined the project. Medical institutions should have a certain infrastructure: a dedicated international department, communication channels with foreign patients, navigation and logistics in the language of future customers. All necessary documentation must be translated into the patient’s language so that the client knows what to bring with him, who will meet him at the hospital and how to get to it.

From Korea and China

Primorsky authorities have already determined the top 3 medical services that the region may be interested in for foreign patients, especially those living in Korea and China. Acting vice-governor of Primorsky Krai, in charge of economic and business development, government procurement, tourism, Konstantin Shestakov in his speech noted that in Primorye there was an affordable cost of medical services. To this, you can also add unique Russian methods, quality and safety in providing assistance.

“There are several unconditional positive factors that will attract new flows to us, including for the purpose of medical tourism. First of all, it is a short flight to the nearest large agglomerations. Another important factor is the cost of services. For example, the cost of laser vision correction in Vladivostok is two times cheaper than in Korea or China. We could promote services such as weekend services, adapting to the needs of those tourists who are already visiting our region. It is only necessary to convince our potential customers that this is an interesting direction. In addition to crabs, architecture, a European city in Asia and events, they can fly to us for medical help, ”the official said.

Now the regional authorities have already created a video for tourists from China and Korea. It emphasizes the three areas of medical tourism in Primorye: check-up (a comprehensive examination of the body), gynecological case (from IVF to childbirth) and ophthalmology. We are ready to take into service the authorities and such successful promotion cases, such as promotion tours for foreign bloggers and the creation of entertainment programs of the Eagle and Tails type.

Representatives of the tourist industry note that in their practice there are positive examples of providing medical assistance to foreigners in Primorye, which can be brought into the information space. Dmitry Pavlov, executive director of the coastal branch of the Russian Union of Travel Industry, said that foreign tourists often praise the level of public and private seaside hospitals.

“The mother of one of our Chinese tourists had a heart attack, a woman fell into a coma for several days. She was saved from death by a neurosurgeon of the First Regional Hospital. Now the daughter of the rescued woman considers him a god, is very grateful to Russian medicine and does everything to tell about it at home. Our main problem is promotion, which we should do now. The Chinese remember the medicine of the Soviet Union. You can take it as a basis, add our high-tech equipment, and there will be a good case for tourists, ”Dmitry Pavlov is sure.

According to him, if we conduct a sociological survey, then according to its results it will be clear that the Chinese would prefer to go for treatment to Korea and Singapore. First of all, they are given the choice because of the large number of advertising clinics. To change the current trend, it is necessary to conduct promotional tours in Primorye for travel agents of China and Korea to show the competitive advantages of local medicine.

From simple to complex

Vladivostok is not yet ready to promptly offer high-tech medical services to foreigners, since for a short time in the city, tourists seek medical help only if necessary. However, according to the chief specialist of the Primorsky Territory Health Department, Evgenia Shutka, the region has great potential in terms of providing high-tech medical care. First of all, we are talking about stenting, bypass surgery, photodynamic therapy, and providing medical care in gynecological profile.

“We can offer individual services in the perinatal center, in China - this is outpatient care, droppers are put right in line. In China, ten patients are brought into the gynecological office, and we have an individual approach. We can also provide a second opinion service. Recently, a Korean citizen came to us with a diagnosis of breast cancer. At home, she was offered radiation therapy, here the patient consulted with a specialist, surgical treatment was recommended to her. Our specialists can consult in person and in absentia according to the results of analyzes and offer their treatment regimen, ”said Eugene Shutka.

The heads of the largest medical centers, the FEFU medical center and the perinatal center, who took part in the roundtable, noted that the proportion of foreigners among patients in medical institutions is still low. So, over the past three years, 3 583 people from abroad have undergone treatment at FEFU, however, they were all in Primorye on vacation or on a business trip. 

At the same time, both clinics are focused on providing high-tech assistance. The specialization of the FEFU medical center is surgical care (for example, complex heart operations), and perinatal care is the provision of individual assistance to women in labor and expectant mothers. In particular, the perinatal center offers a comprehensive examination and treatment of couples in preparation for pregnancy, individual pregnancy management programs from an early date with round-the-clock online counseling, superior wards and relatives staying around the clock, staying with the child in the superior ward already after childbirth.

Private traders are ready to receive

Large private medical companies also intend to join the battle for new clients. Yulianna Pozhitkova, General Director of Falk Medical Vladivostok LLC, in conversation with correspondent EastRussia noted that today private business is ready to start massively working with foreigners.

“A private clinic implies service, speed and personalization. We made navigation in English, we are working on the translation of documentation and on a new site. While there is no large flow of patients, there is an opportunity to prepare, ”said Yulianna Pozhitkova.

According to her, the cost of plastic surgery in a clinic is two times cheaper than in Korea. Falk Medical Vladivostok operates a check-up constructor that is different from those accepted in other medical institutions of Primorye. There is also a certain base of examinations, but after talking with the therapist, the patient can add additional ones if the family has a genetic tendency to certain diseases.

“Now there is a task, there are those responsible for its implementation, we are considered as a worthy platform, so we are ready to cooperate. Another important point, which for some reason they are silent about is that the Russian patient does not get rich, three years ago he could afford more in private medicine than now. Now there is a lack of Russian patients, and the opportunity has appeared to fill this niche with foreigners. This is a good commercial moment, ”says the head of the clinic.

However, representatives of private clinics see certain pitfalls that may hamper the development of exports of medical services. One of the experts, on the basis of anonymity in a conversation with corr. EastRussia noted that the imposed administration, which is imposed on state institutions, which are forced to deal with this issue by order, is unacceptable for business. And if state-owned clinics in any case receive money to fulfill the state task, then private business simply does not have such an opportunity. Also, the development of medical tourism in Primorye requires that this topic be fixed at the level of intergovernmental agreements.

“In China, there is an internal unspoken policy - the authorities do not welcome medical tourism in our country. What is needed is the level of intergovernmental agreements. Privately, this will not work. On the other hand, it is very good that the state today returned to this issue. But only Korea has been exporting medical services for 15 years. We are very far behind, as is our understanding of this process. We will have to study the experience of these countries. Business has been thinking about this for a long time, but why did the state only wake up today? ”, The expert wonders.

At the same time, he adds that developed coastal medicine is one of the competitive features of the region. Even the most “complicated” hospital in Vladivostok is difficult to compare with any Chinese one, where there are constant lines and there is no privacy.

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