The Medical Tourism Corporation announced the start of operations for its new referral and handling center for visiting patients, one of the main objectives of its strategic plan.
The public unveiling of the new concierge center, one of the pillars of the MTC’s strategy to increase the share of Puerto Rico medical tourism business, was announced before an audience of potential international buyers and local healthcare providers at the 2016 Caribe Health Summit held at the San Juan Ritz Carlton.
“The ‘Star Concierge Hub,’ as it will be known, will ensure a consistent quality level in the healthcare services offered by our certified providers, resulting in a positive experience for the visiting patient,” said Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Alberto Bacó.
“For that reason, the opening of the center is an important step as part of our plan to transform medical tourism into an attractive service sector which is trusted by patients, and an economic engine for the island,” he said.
For his part, MTC Executive Director Francisco G. Bonet said in its initial phase “the concierge hub will be focused on capturing a portion of the North American market as it represents a potential 1.2 million to 1.4 million people that travel outside the U.S. to receive some type of medical treatment or surgery. Moreover, 800,000 people travel to the U.S. for medical purposes.”
Among the multiple benefits for the local industry arising from the hub’s opening is the opportunity to reach diverse markets though a unique platform — tailored to the local market — and at the same time increase the number of visiting patients.
The medical tourism strategic plan consists of three main objectives or pillars, including the new concierge center. The other objectives include providing training to the sector and elevating its quality standards through the Certification Plan for Healthcare Providers and ancillary services. Presently, the MTC has certified through the Medical Tourism Association a total of 54 healthcare providers such as hospitals, dentists, laboratories, and hotels, among others.
The third pillar calls for an aggressive promotion strategy of Puerto Rico as an ideal destination for visiting patients using the web portal www.starhealthcarepuertorico.com, which provides firsthand information about providers, medical specialties and promotes the destination.
More than 100 information requests or “leads” from potential patients were received during the month of May, asking for more information on certified medical providers, medical specialties offered, and essential information on the destination.
The MTC’s Bonet explained that Puerto Rico is rapidly advancing to position itself as one of the primary medical tourism destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America. With the establishment of the “Star Concierge Hub” the local market will become even stronger, he added, as it will complement the services offered to visiting patients, grouping in one place certified providers, coordinate trips, stays and services received by patients in Puerto Rico.
The second edition of the Caribe Health Summit had the participation of an important group of international speakers and experts that discussed subjects focused on global medical tourism trends and opportunities for healthcare tourism with the Puerto Rican medical diaspora, among other subjects.
Furthermore, the event offered local healthcare sector entrepreneurs and medical providers the chance to explore business opportunities in the medical tourism industry and the untapped potential of international alliances in the healthcare industry.