Malaysia has been proclaimed the best medical travel destination in the world. The International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) named the South-east Asian nation as the Medical Travel Destination of the Year during the awarding ceremony in London in April 2015. Malaysia attributes the success of its healthcare industry to the aggressive promotion of inbound medical tourism, verified statistics of medical tourists served, high levels of patient satisfaction and coordinated activities.
Medical tourism, which refers to travelling abroad for medical care, is attracting tens of thousands of people to Asia. Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand offer top-notch treatments at more affordable rates compared to destinations in the US and Europe. Some of the common procedures that medical tourists undergo include cosmetic surgery, dentistry and heart surgery. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that around 750,000 US resident travel to another country to seek medical care. Many of them are immigrants returning to their home country for cheaper procedures.
ShereneAzuraAzli, CEO of the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, said Malaysia is well-equipped to deliver end-to-end healthcare services.
Several Malaysian private healthcare providers in Kuala Lumpur also took home awards. Gleneagles Hospital was honoured for Excellence in Customer Service while the Imperial Dental Specialist Centre received Best Quality Initiative of the Year award. Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre was recognised as the International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic of the Year; Ramsay Sime Darby Healthcare received the Best Travel Website of the Year award. Imperial Dental Specialist Centre and Prince Court Medical Centre got the most commendations during the annual event.
Keith Pollard, Managing Director of IMTJ, said the award-giving body recognised the best healthcare providers in the world in an effort to encourage others to match, or even exceed, them. “The judges wanted to reward innovation and excellence, highlight best practice and celebrate those who are leading the way in the industry and delivering successful outcomes for patients,” He added that other industry players must raise the bar and strive to emulate Malaysia’s professionalism, excellent patient care and commitment in providing the best possible medical outcomes.
The CDC released several guidelines for people travelling abroad for medical care. It is advisable to visit a travel medicine practitioner at least 4 – 6 weeks before departure for helpful information on the risks related to the procedure. Medical tourists are also instructed to verify the qualifications of the doctors and the credentials of the facility abroad.
Photo by: Chelsea Marie Hicks