FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, February 14, 2005

Outsourcing Surgery

The trend toward outsourcing to Asia is not stopping with IT. Increasingly, patients are travelling to India, Thailand and elsewhere for surgical procedures, paying a fraction of what they would pay in the West.

An echocardiogram that would cost $800 in the US costs only $16 in India, and a $200,000 heart surgery would run you only $6,700. Hospital systems such as Apollo Hospitals in India and Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, have begun to establish international reputations and run highly profitable operations.

If the US moves toward individual healthcare accounts, in which individuals will be responsible for saving and spending their own healthcare dollars, these very inexpensive Asian facilities might suddenly look very attractive, especially for complex, expensive procedures. US and European healthcare providers would need to re-evaluate their business models and work harder to either lower costs or attract patients.

Source: Bloomberg, Smart Mobs