The market for healthcare services has also received positive impetus from growing promotion of health tourism and development activities.
According to Frost & Sullivan Senior Consultant, Dr Pawel Suwinski, 'Malaysia healthcare tourism trend grew at a rate of 25.3 percent CAGR since 1998, while revenues posted a growth of 37.9 percent during the same period. Revenue per patient has also grown 2.5 fold from USD92 in 1998 to USD241 in 2008. By year 2010, medical tourism revenue per patient is estimated to reach USD590 M. This signifies the growth of foreign confidence in more advanced medical care services in Malaysia. Most international patients come from neighboring countries with less developed medical infrastructure (i.e.: Indonesia), and other developed countries from the West. Malaysia is also a prefer destination for these international due to the higher foreign exchange in Singapore and unstable political scene in Thailand.
In the year 2006, bulk of foreign patients came from Indonesia (65-70 percent), followed by Japan (5-6 percent), Europe (5 percent) and India (3 percent). Moreover, patients from Middle Eastern countries (i.e U.A. E, Qatar and SuadiSaudi Arabia) posted an upward trend in the past.
'Malaysia government as well, has set up several referral gateways to further enhance the availability of this facility. One of it is the health tourism website (malaysiahealthcare.com) to assist medical tourist globally. Private hospital groups and major private hospital providers have set up their respective referral system,' Suwinski further elaborates.
Gleneagles Intan and Pantai Medical Groups have set up international customer departments specifically catered towards admission and support of International patients. KPJ Medical Group, Mahkota Hospital and Subang Jaya Medical Center established tie ups with several renowned travel agencies and hotels to provide comprehensive tourism packages in conjunction with healthcare services as well as set up representative or referral offices.
Healthcare in Malaysia is mainly dominated by private hospitals. Since 2002 - 2006, 62 percent of the total hospitals in Malaysia are privately owned. The number of private hospitals increased dramatically from 50 in 1980 to an estimated of 223 private hospital last year. The government however, has constructed 10 public hospitals in the past 4 years which brings the total number of public hospitals to 140 last year from 130 in 2003.
Healthcare tourism is certainly an emerging business that will bring in various opportunities. To further enhance the success of this sector it is essential to look into equal distribution of hospitals and clinics in all regions, supplying experience and quality doctors, enhance quality of care provider in the public sector and developed medical technology infrastructure in most hospitals.
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