CHEF Chicago hosted a luncheon on medical tourism in Singapore in Chicago, October 15, 2010. Clara Yap, Manager, Healthcare Services at Singapore Tourism Board, led the presentation with an overview of Singapore as a medical tourism destination, followed by Samuel Tan, Group Assistant Vice President of ParkwayHealth, who outlined the capabilities of one of the most advanced medical groups in Southeast Asia. Rudy Rupak, CEO of PlanetHospital, added his insights as well. This was CHEF Chicago’s second event dedicated to medical tourism this year.
Singapore, a Leading Medical Tourism Destination in Asia
Singapore continues to develop as one of the most innovative and technologically advanced medical tourism destinations in the world. Known for its professionalism, high quality medical facilities and fluency in English, Singapore offers many possibilities to patients who might otherwise be wary of medical tourism. Notably, Singapore has 13 hospitals accredited by JCI (the Joint Commission International) the second largest number in Asia after India. A large portion of its inbound medical tourists come from Asia, where patients are seeking quality of care rather than cost savings. Singapore has been ranked the best healthcare system in Asia and the sixth best in the world by the World Health Organization (WHO). Singapore is accessible by 3 billion people within a 7 hour flight.
One of Asia’s most prominent medical groups is ParkwayHealth which owns and operates facilities in 17 countries, primarily in Asia. Although it had dipped in 2009 due to the H1N1 scare, the growth in patients seen continues. Interestingly, day surgeries (outpatient) are growing at three times the rate of inpatient. Mr. Tan attributed this to the growth of minimally invasive surgery which enables faster recovery times. ParkwayHealth operates three renowned hospitals that act as a network and maintain complementary specializations: Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital, and Parkway East Hospital.
These impressive presentations clearly showed that healthcare was globalizing quickly. As speakers pointed out, the Singaporean government foresaw the growth of wealth in Asia and moved to leverage Singapore’s historical position as a financial and professional services capital in Asia. English is the official language of Singapore, but Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil are also recognized. Infrastructure is of a high standard as well, which facilitates travel and communications.
Read my background on Singapore here