Medical tourism or globalized medicine has arrived and is here to stay. Trends indicate that by 2015 this industry could generate more than $100 billion dollars globally, and Panama is making an effort to penetrate this market.
As part of this effort, today Panasalud 2013, the first international medical tourism conference convened on the isthmus, will be held at the Hotel Riu, an event organized by the health communication agency saludpanama.com.
Its director, Luis Santamaría, highlights how the event will feature one national and six international speakers, who were invited to this event after having learned of their work at various medical tourism conferences held in recent years in Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles (United States) and in Bogotá and Medellín (Colombia).
Santamaria underscored that the goal of the conference is to bring knowledge and culture from the field of medical tourism into the country, so that this industry may generate benefits for the isthmus.
Medical tourism is essentially when a patient purchases health care or specialized medicine in a place outside their place of residence, explained Santamaria.
Nearly 50% of the services sought through medical tourism are for dental treatment, reconstructive, restorative or cosmetic procedures, according to the Medical Tourism Association.
“Hip and knee replacement surgeries are much in demand by patients looking for the best price, but likewise by patients who are not financially limited but seek top quality and safety. Currently plastic surgery is also a popular choice,” mentioned Santamaria.
Nevertheless, this does not rule out that medical services for oncological treatments, stem cell therapies and other cutting-edge technologies won't turn into very attractive options for big buyers in the U.S., parts of Europe and here in Latin America, he clarified.