Pramod Goel is one of the Global Minds in the medical tourism industry. He has created PlacidWay seven years ago, a company that has now become a leader in the medical tourism industry.
Based on the knowledge and experience gathered he has created the book "Evolution of Medical Tourism - from Cottage Industry to Corporate World", a business and "global view" book that shows the important steps to follow for any emerging company in this industry.
The "Who?", "What?", "When?", "How?" and "Why?" of Medical Tourism are all explained in this accessible handbook that sparks a detailed and fundamental review of one's medical tourism business.
As PlacidWay CEO, Author and International Speaker on medical tourism businesses, Pramod Goel says there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration and more questions to be asked.
Read this interview about what entrepreneurs need to focus on, when trying to stay afloat in the highly competitive market of medical travel.
You have recently launched your first book about medical tourism. What is this book about? Who is it for?
Pramod Goel: Medical Tourism industry is growing rapidly. It has become a global phenomenon and people around the world are increasingly taking control of their own health and seeking solutions that fit their budget.
With the increase in acceptance of globalized healthcare, the industry is about to enter the mainstream marketplace. The medical providers serving medical tourism industry must be better prepared to handle new consumer demand amongst increasing competition.
I wrote the book, Evolution of Medical Tourism: From Cottage Industry to Corporate World, for the medical tourism providers. The book explores the relationship between medical providers and medical travelers from an organizational infrastructure development perspective.
It also focuses on concepts such as supply and demand in the medical tourism industry, the development of marketing channels and improved patient nurturing, negotiations and acquisitions processes.
From your perspective, how do you think the medical tourism industry is changing? What drove you to write this book?
Pramod Goel:The medical tourism industry is undergoing a major transformation, and a rapidly evolving medical tourism industry has elicited fierce competition in a global consumer-centric healthcare era. The book defines aspects of globalized healthcare and methods to gain a competitive advantage.
In light of an anticipated huge demand for medical travel services, medical providers as well as various governments from around the world have taken significant interest in this industry. Just like the “dot.com” era, every day there are new entrants in the industry, seeking to provide medical services, facilitation services, or governments trying to boost their economy through this new perceived healthcare channel.
The sudden flood of medical travel services has created an excess supply in the industry compared to available current demand, hence creating a fierce competition.
I wrote the book to provide a perspective to medical travel related organizations and governments to understand the industry fundamentals better and to act on a defined strategy.
Any organization working in the area of medical travel would benefit from the book by understanding fundamental infrastructure requirements, either when they are establishing a new organization or trying to grow their current medical tourism business.
Many have said that medical tourism industry has endless potential and it is considered to be the newest way to “make money”. After writing this book, what is your opinion?
Pramod Goel:Like any growing industry, in order to reach the mainstream marketplace, the consumer expectations need to be clearly understood and managed accordingly.
While doing research for the book as well as interacting with medical patients and medical tourism providers from around the world, it was clear that there is a knowledge gap between the two. The perceived demand did not match with the available supply i.e., customer needs does not meet the services that are being pushed by medical providers.
The medical services that are applicable for local markets are being promoted aggressively to international patients without customizing them to meet their specific needs. It is like trying to push a square peg into a round hole and expecting great results.
If the medical tourism providers want to create a sustainable and profitable business, they must understand their customer base very clearly.
They must start integrating people, processes, and systems to gain competitive advantage and most importantly understand how to provide a solution that a mainstream consumer wants.
Where do you think the medical tourism industry is at the moment? Beginning? Close to its peak popularity? What needs to be done? Both from medical provider’s perspective and the consumer.
Pramod Goel:Medical tourism industry is still in its infancy. It has significant growth potential before it reaches its peak. Like many other industries, as the globalization has leveled the playing field, healthcare industry is going through major “sea-change”.
In next ten years, the industry will go through another round of change, which will allow consumers to take further control of their health and consumers would expect a perfect solution i.e. they will seek perfection from anyone dealing in healthcare industry.
The book discusses the phases of the evolution and what provider may want to consider achieving best results and increasing market presence in light of heavy competition.
With increased awareness, education, transparency, brand recognition, and published case studies, the medical consumers will be more willing to break the local boundaries and access healthcare based on specific needs and desires.
What are the myths you have dealt with since entering the medical tourism market? How about regarding your book?
Pramod Goel:The greatest myth out there is the false expectation that medical tourism related businesses have created - that the market is ready, consumers are lined-up to travel abroad, and market has an unlimited demand.
Some myths, such as most Americans are traveling to Asian countries such as India for medical treatment, are not entirely true. In fact, what we are observing is the trend that most Americans will consider traveling to Latin America before considering far Asian or Eastern European destinations due to cost, distance/flight time, time lost, familiarity of a culture, among other things.
Another myth is that Medical Tourism is a new phenomenon. In fact, medical travel has been a global phenomenon for decades, as people travel from one country to another for medical treatment. However, it is perhaps a newer concept in America.
There are several other such myths that have developed among the public - the initial high supply of medical services and providers.
Slowly people need to understand and adopt how, when, why, where, who, etc. of the business.
What is the key message that you want to relay from this book?
Pramod Goel:The key message I want to present to all medical providers in the medical tourism industry is to think through business fundamentally. Understand the myths and realities of the industry – learn whether this industry is for them or not.
If a medical tourism provider is with a short-term, making “quick buck” mentality, they might want to rethink whether they want to jump into this industry as the industry is fragmented, crowded with significant competition.
I invite medical tourism providers to rethink the approach, methodology and basic business fundamentals as they try to reach out to medical travelers and try to innovate from their current offerings to new opportunities and breakthroughs.
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