Rush University Medical Center, situated in Chicago, US, in partnership with the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) has recently been awarded a $500,000 Market Development Cooperative Grant to help boost medical travel to academic medical centers within the US.
The three-year grant was rewarded from the US Department of Commerce to be used in part to better quantify the number of foreigners coming to the US for medical and health care. According to researchers and the American government, this number has previously not been adequately tracked. Through a better track of data networking across US institutions, and the implementation of best strategic business development practices, US academic centers hope to stimulate the growth in medical care exports, defined as medical care in the US purchased by individuals outside the country.
The researchers at Rush University are pairing up with the University HealthSystem Consortium, an alliance formed in 1984, comprising 107 academic medical centers and 246 of their affiliated hospitals, which represents almost 90% of the US’ non-profit academic medical centers.
During the project, a methodology to value medical care exports will be developed. The impact of the strategies on export will be assessed over the next 3 years. In a study published later this year in Health Policy, the two main researchers; Andrew Garman and Tricia Johnson estimated that in 2007, between 43,000 and 103,000 foreigners went to the US for medical care. During the same period, between 50,000 and 120,000 US residents traveled abroad for care. The outbound figure is notably lower than the number often quoted within the medical tourism industry! Therefore, the researchers hope to set up a system to better track the figures and through that obtain more precise numbers.
Apart from creating a standardized set of data element to be reported on international patients, the program will also establish a forum for international patient programs, host a series of meetings focused on strategies to increase the global competitiveness of US academic medical centers and develop strategic relationships with foreign ministries of health and private payers.
New research on the medical tourism field is vital for the continued development of the entire industry. Novasans welcome this initiative, and look forward to following the progress!
For more information on the grant, please view Rush University’s press release!New hospital study of inbound US medical travel