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  • How much Ukraine earns on medical tourism

    The active development of external medical tourism in Ukraine started about five years ago. By the end of 2017, Ukrainian hospitals had treated 50,000 foreign patients. According to Violetta Yanishevskaya, the president of the Ukrainian Association of Medical Tourism (UAMT), most of the medical tourists visit Ukraine from the CIS. "However, the services of Ukrainian medicine are becoming more and more in demand among the residents of Western Europe, the United States, Israel, Britain, China, Arab countries, and some African countries," - Yanishevskaya adds.


    Where and what is being treated

    According to the UAMT, nowadays foreign patients apply to about 200 Ukrainian medical institutions, both private and public. As a rule, these are specialized clinics that are constantly updated with the world progressive medicine. They practice innovative methods of treatment and advanced technologies, and doctors of such clinics have a great deal of experience in conducting surgeries.

    At the same time, a great share of foreigners prefers the private sector primarily because of the service component. After all, if a clinic decides to work with medical tourism, it creates special departments for working with foreign patients. Such departments not only work with a patient in a clinic, but also control all aspects of the patient’s experience in Ukraine, including booking tickets and hotels, organizing transfers and leisure activities. 

    Moreover, private clinics eliminate language barriers. "Most of our doctors are fluent in English, many - in German, some - in French, Spanish, Italian," says Maxim Shcherbina, the deputy head physician of the private medical network "Dobrobut",

    Private clinics also attract foreign patients with the lack of queues to qualified highly specialized doctors. For example, in Italy, being an European country, a patient has to wait for eight or nine months for a surgery date pertaining to chronic sinusitis But with a clinic in Ukraine, the same patient is able to book a surgery date within a few days after contacting the clinic.

    As for services offered, a lot of foreigners go to Ukraine for reproductive medicine, dentistry, ophthalmology, aesthetic medicine and cosmetology, plastic surgery, cellular engineering, including the possibility of using the cord blood bank and stem cell treatment. Sanatorium and health resort rehabilitation are also popular.


    Why exactly Ukraine

    Foreigners choose Ukraine due to the optimal ratio of price and quality of medical services.

    Ukrainian clinics are 30-70% cheaper than similar clinics in the West.

    This, of course, is one of the main advantages of Ukrainian medicine for foreign medical tourists. With the same protocols of treatment and at the same level of service, Ukrainian clinics issue bills for services that are much lower.

    Here is some statistics for comparison: 

    To remove a gallbladder laparoscopically, Polish medical center "Enel-Med" charges about $1200, while in a Ukrainian clinic surgical treatment of this level will cost $840. 

    According to Bookimed service, hip joint prosthetics in the network of academic clinics "Asklepios" of the University of Hamburg in Germany, will cost at least $21000, while in Ukraine about $4500.

    For a coronary bypass surgery in Belarus, a patient needs to pay a minimum of $6500 while in Ukraine this operation costs up to $5700. 

    According to Vladimir Gerasimov, a vascular surgeon, the member of the European Society of Vascular Surgeons, you need to spend about $3400 on a multistage surgical treatment of varicose veins in Europe. In Ukraine it will be a single operation with the price range of $900-1200.

    It should be noted that in most domestic clinics the cost of services for foreign patients is higher than for Ukrainians, which is due to higher costs: legal support, transfer of medical documentation, etc. are added. But there are also such clinics where prices for Ukrainians and foreigners do not differ. After all, there is no state regulation of prices for services in Ukraine, which allows any clinic to conduct its own pricing policy.


    Medical tourism: how everything works

    Before the age of internet, foreigners used to find out about Ukrainian medical institutions mainly due to "word of mouth". Nowadays, foreigners find about Ukraine medical services through advertisements on the Internet and foreign media, especially the on-board magazines of international air and railway companies.

    "Good results are also obtained through participation in specialized exhibitions and conferences abroad, especially when patients in China and Arab countries choose to learn more about the possibilities of treatment in Ukraine," - Violetta Yanishevskaya says.

    Another important channel for increasing the number of health tourists is cooperation from providers of medical services. These are professional companies that take care of the whole organization of treatment or rehabilitation of a patient abroad: they not only communicate with medical institutions in different countries, but also help them to get a visa, buy tickets, order a transfer, rent apartments, find an interpreter, and organize leisure activities.

    Many international insurance companies are ready to cooperate with domestic clinics, which pay for the treatment of patients abroad. However, to sign a contract with an insurance company, a medical institution should have international accreditation in one of the global accreditation companies: JCI, QHR trend, etc. Leading Ukrainian clinics have begun the process of receiving it, some have already been accredited.


    Why it is worth choosing Ukraine

    A foreigner who comes to be treated in Ukraine spends up to 7 times more than a regular tourist, since he/she pays not only for treatment, but also for accommodation, transfers, escort, sometimes for an interpreter. 

    "On average, a medical tourist spends about $2.5 thousand in Ukraine. Medical tourism brings Ukraine at least $125 million annually, and the potential for market growth is huge," - Violetta Janiszewska says, adding that the development of medical tourism will spur the development of the tourism industry and it will also have a positive impact on the logistics and transport systems and the economy of the country as a whole.

    Clinics have become interested in attracting patients and there is a healthy competition that encourages medical institutions to provide even more high-quality and unique medical services and to acquire innovative equipment, attract more qualified personnel. Everyone wins: both medical tourists, doctors, and Ukrainian patients and mostly importantly, Ukraine.

     

    Information source: "Сколько Украина зарабатывает на медицинском туризме”

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