This year, hundreds of thousands of Americans will travel outside the United States for health care. The rising cost of medical treatment in the U. S. sends Americans abroad in record numbers. Around 500,000 Americans leave the country each year for some sort of elective medical procedure, including Orthopedic procedures.
Medical tourism originated in the 1990’s with cosmetic procedures. Today, a large percentage of patients travel for common Orthopedic procedures—total hips, total knees, spine fusions, etc. There is no rule of thumb, but a total joint procedure outside the US typically costs the patient 25%-75% less than in the US.
This trend is driven by economics, demographics, globalization and technology, and cannot be ignored. The huge scale and logistics become as simple as calling your travel agent. If you don’t believe it, just take a look at WorldMedAssist http://www. worldmedassist. com/ or PassportMedical http://www. passportmedical. com/ as examples.
Choose a procedure, choose a country, and book your trip. One, two, three.
Articles about Medical Tourism
A group of doctors has high hopes that an artificial disc, owned exclusively by a Jamaican-born doctor, can be used as a tool to drive medical tourism in Jamaica.
The technology was used for the first time in a four-level disc replacement procedure at the Andrews Memorial Hospital in St Andrew on February 1. The surgical procedure was performed by orthopaedic spinal surgeon Dr Kingsley Chin, who was born in Buff Bay, Portland.
Chin is CEO of KIC Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on the health technology sector and the owner of AxioMed. a health tech company that has developed the technology known as the Freedom Cervical disc. AxioMed was founded to advance the standard of care for patients with degenerative spine conditions and has now successfully developed the artificial disc that most closely mimics the normal disc using viscoelastic polymer technology.
In disc replacement, worn or damaged disc material between the small bones in the spine (vertebrae) is removed and replaced with a synthetic or ‘artificial’ disc. The goal of the procedure is to relieve back pain while maintaining more normal motion than is allowed with some other procedures, such as spinal fusion. The Freedom Cervical disc is said to most closely mimic the natural properties of a healthy human disc and has been proven to withstand the forces and wear of decades of use.
On February 1, Dr Chin operated on a female patient with a prolapsed disc who would’ve been in need of several surgical procedures with sequential disc replacement or a fusion of the discs, which would’ve limited her neck motion.
For the procedure, he worked with his team of University of the West Indies (UWI) and Oxford-trained Rhodes Scholar Dr David Walcott, UWI & Yale-trained neurosurgeon Dr J Geoffrey Liburd, and anaesthesiologist Dr Patrick Toppin.
Andrews chief executive officer Dr Marvin Rouhoutas and Keith Shakespeare were instrumental in facilitating the procedure, along with theatre manager Nurse Roxanne Shaw-Edwards and her staff nurses.
Dr Chin’s colleague and president of AxioMed, Jake Lubinski, also witnessed the historic launch of his company’s product that was used in the surgical procedure and, which Dr Walcott has described as “unprecedented”.
Live feeds from the operating theatre are said to have generated much excitement in the USA. An exclusive technology never before pioneered in the USA, Dr Chin plans to expand and brand it within Jamaica.
He is confident that it will strengthen Jamaica’s medical tourism industry, a sentiment echoed by Dr Walcott.
“With this technology, she (the patient) was able to get all discs replaced, and within the operation, that is intraoperatively and postoperatively, we assessed the flexibility of her neck and confirmed it to be good,” Dr Walcott told the
Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.
He contended that the sort of standard four-level procedure that would’ve been required would’ve limited her flexibility.
Upon successfully completing the surgery recently, Dr Chin pronounced that there’s nothing like pioneering something.
“It could change the face of the profession in Jamaica and the rest of the globe,” he said.
The doctors believe that Jamaica is ideally poised to attract investments in medical tourism given the availability of quality medical professionals and the island’s proximity to the United States. The team aims to brand the technology within Jamaica and use it as an engine to drive the development of the health tourism sector, using it as a strategic gateway to penetrate the international health market and drive health tourism within the Caribbean.