Taiwan Joins Medical Tourism Bandwagon

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on August 26, 2008

Now it’s the Taiwanese who want to get into the medical-tourism business. Till now, hospitals in Singapore, Thailand and India have been the most aggressive in trying to attract patients from other countries looking for less expensive medical care. Health-care providers in other parts of the Asia-Pacific region - anywhere from the Philippines to Korea to New Zealand - have been angling to become destinations for medical tourists, too.

According to this story from CCTV International, hospitals in Taiwan are now making a pitch of their own. CCTV says the Taiwanese see a niche for themselves providing care for patients from China at a price more competitive than what Hong Kong hospitals can offer. “New highlights include checkups costing just a third of what would be charged on average in private hospitals in Hong Kong,” reports CCTV. “Insiders from Taiwan’s medical industry say they believe that more mainland residents will come to the island for medical reasons.”

To pull this off, the Taiwanese government first needs to liberalize its policies regarding mainland tourists traveling to the island. With Ma Ying-jeou now president, that liberalzation is probably going to happen. The Taiwanese will also need to improve the reputation of their hospitals, though. That’s not so easy. Unlike Singapore or even Bangkok, Taipei isn’t famous for the quality of its health care. Moreover, when its health-care system was in the international spotlight during the SARS epidemic of 2003, Taiwan didn’t quite distinguish itself. (For more on how Taiwan [mis]handled SARS, see this CDC report.)

That said, the Taiwanese certainly have done well coming up with a way to provide univeral health care. See this blog from the New Republic. The headline: “Want Good Health Care? Try Taiwan.” The medical-tourism boosters couldn’t have said it any better.

Reader Comments

Bob

August 27, 2008 3:17 PM

Good report, especially following closely the excellent report on The Economist on the subject. Please put more focus on the subject of medical tourism in Asia in your future reports.

Taiwan has another problem. During the last eight years, Taiwan has virtually fallen off the world tourism map due to its poor relations with China. I noticed visibly fewer foreigners in Taiwan now than ten years ago. The new goverment has a lot of work to do to recover from the deep damage dine by the DPP goverment.

Japan, with aging population, shrinking wallets, pension system in scandals, still enjoys the highest GDP in Asia. So it should be a prime target market for Asian medical tourism industry. My huncch is the conservative and reactionary Japanese Bureaucracy is not going to make this easy for anybidy though.

Optimist

August 27, 2008 10:18 PM

I guess someone forgot that to provide good healthcare the fundamental requirement is to have good doctors. Indian Doctors are tops (besides Indian Hospitals, check out the numerous hospitals in US, Singapore, Indian Doctors are just excellent).

Gold card Mark

January 8, 2010 11:10 PM

You would have to pay me a lot of money to fly to India to get any kind of medical services...

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February 16, 2010 12:38 PM

Taiwan has virtually fallen off the world tourism map due to its poor relations with China. I noticed visibly fewer foreigners in Taiwan now than ten years ago.

Newbie

February 17, 2010 9:33 AM

Couldn't agree more with Optimist. Good hospitals, medical devices and other hard infrastructure can only do so much. They are at best good to have. But to have successful healthcare systems the single most important success factor are the doctors. Indian doctors are way to good in comparison. Check US, UK, Australia, Canada and Singapore. I did not know that Taiwan had doctors (let alone good ones). If one is looking for cosmetic surgeries (boob jobs and the like) may be Taiwan is fine, but otherwise........

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August 25, 2010 10:50 AM

I pride to be citizen of the world, so I am also hoping that the Hindu’s class system of “Royal(lords) and peasant (commoner)will change”, so the education level will improve together with the knowledge, virtues and economy.
China had forgotten the past history with Japan. The former Premiere Mr. Deng Xiao Ping , when asked by the Japanese premiere about twenty five years ago.” about the return of the northern island back to China.” Mr. Dan replied:” Slow down, we wouldn’t know how the politics of the world is going to be fifty years from now.” Most recently, Mr. Hu said:” We hope Japan will involve in greater part of the affair of the world. We are happy to see the peaceful path Japan takes since the thank you for sharing. www.asiketmeduasi.com :)

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