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Travel, Teach, Live in China

Medical Tourism in China
By:Arthur Wyss

China has been a late bloomer in medical tourism. China is a popular tourist destination, but not a popular destination for medical tourism. There are several reasons why. Quality and safety are more important issues than price when it comes to medical tourism. China’s reputation in both quality and safety has not been stellar in the past. It will take a long time to develop a solid record of good performance adequate to convince the public to trust the medical system in China.

In recent years Chinese officials have been greatly embarrassed numerous times over serious health and safety issues that brought international negative attention to China. The good news is that the Chinese are determined to overcome this negative image. The American approach to improving a negative image would commonly be the “Madison Avenue” approach. The Chinese approach does not focus on rebranding, public relations, advertising, focus groups, etc. China is attacking the problem at its core, in a head-on manner. When a mistake is made in China, and health and safety is jeopardized by that mistake, those who are determined to be responsible are punished. In America when they say “heads will roll” it is a euphemism that means those responsible may be demoted or lose their jobs. In China when they say “heads will roll” they mean it literally.

The global economic meltdown has intensified competition for a reduced pool of buyers and consumers. China has long been cost competitive, but lacking in quality. China is changing, with a new focus on becoming quality competitive. This bodes well for the future of medical tourism in China. It is hard to beat the prices in China. Chinese medical services are rapidly improving in quality and safety.

The USA arguably has the highest quality health care system in the world. Yet even in America thousands of patients die every year because of mistakes made by their health care providers. To err is human. Even with all the safeguards, regulations, checks and balances in place in the USA, health care providers still manage to make plenty of mistakes in America. There is a silver lining in the cloud for medical tourists to China. Medical providers in China are careful to avoid mistakes because penalties for mistakes tend to be higher in China. Those responsible for mistakes are held accountable. When it comes to foreign patients, extra care and attention are paid to every detail. Foreign patients receive the very highest quality of care and attention possible.

Chinese political leaders like to call China a “developing nation.” There is a pragmatic reason for this self-depreciation by Chinese leaders. China hopes to continue to receive favorable trading treatment from the rest of the world, and not be pressured to cut back on pollution during this “developing stage.” One should not mistake this political rhetoric for fact. In reality China is no longer a “third world” country. China is well along the path of becoming a first world nation. The Chinese people are highly literate, even more so than the people of the USA. Technologically China is among the more developed nations on earth today. In some areas China actually leads the world. One such area is MAGLEV train technology. Japan and Germany both beat China in the MAGLEV development race, but only China has put MAGLEV trains in commercial service. America has plans to build them, and other countries have the ability to do so, but only China actually did it and has them in commercial service today. Things get done in China.

“This is nice, but what’s in it for me?” The answer is value. Medical tourists can find good value for their money in China today. Sure there are risks. There is no such thing as foolproof medical care anywhere. Any medical treatment anywhere invokes a “cost-benefit ratio.” I would recommend China for medical tourists who are seeking procedures that tend to be low risk, such as cosmetic surgery and liposuction. These low risk procedures are where the cost-benefit ratio gives China a big advantage.

Finally on the “tourism” part of medical tourism, China has a lot to offer too. China is not only the most populous country on earth but also a rather large country, about the size of the “lower 48” (the USA minus Alaska). The more common tourist spots are the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and The Summer Palace. In addition to these many tourists these days are exploring a bit more, in out of the way places all over China. For example, the beaches around Sanya, Hainan Island rival those of Hawaii. The beaches on Hainan Island are not yet so well known outside of China, but there are a few international hotels there now and the popularity especially of Sanya is growing. China extends from the tropics along the Chinese-Vietnamese border area to the Himalayan Mountain Range along the Western border of China, up to the Gobi Desert, and to Inner Mongolia up north. There is a lot to see in China. Travel inside China is convenient and inexpensive.

About The Author: Arthur Wyss is a resident of Shenzhen, China. He specializes in immigration assistance for those who wish to live in Brazil. He also operates Brazil Land Sales, which primarily sells land in the State of Tocantins, Brazil. He is the former President of Adventure Spa Cruise. He now offers referrals to hospitals and clinics in China, especially for foreign tourists. His website is: http://www.medicaltourisminchina.com. The author invites you to visit: http://www.medicaltourisminchina.com

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