Summit to Explore Strategies, Opportunities in Healthcare Globalization

Ben Cole, for HealthLeaders Media , August 21, 2009

As the global healthcare world gets smaller, it is more important than ever for providers to consider business opportunities outside of their home country's borders.

With that in mind, organizers of the Health Care Globalization Summit seek to help executives learn how to maximize their opportunities in the global healthcare marketplace. The summit, taking place from Nov. 10-13 in Miami, is being produced by Consumer Health World under the direction of Medicatree International.

"We think that the globalization of healthcare is here—it's much bigger than anything that healthcare in the United States has ever seen, including the early days of Ehealth," says Skip Brickley, CEO of Medicatree International.

"There are three principle areas driving healthcare today—outside of legislation—and that is consumerism, Web enablement, and the globalization of healthcare. We think these will be most transformative, impacting areas on healthcare in the next several years and we make our programming around these three tenants."

This is the sixth such global healthcare summit Medicatree International has been involved in. Brickley says organizers work closely with high-level industry leaders to develop the program in an effort to ensure topics are relevant to the industry.

"Always, our goal is to produce high-level content bringing thought leaders together with high-level decision-making delegates and putting them into an educationally rich environment that is prone to transaction of business," Brickley says.

And having a strategy to compete in the global healthcare business is more important than ever. As an increasing number of patients all over the globe have the means and incentive to find the highest quality care at the lowest cost—no matter where it is—and global providers could be missing out on a large patient base if they ignore the medical tourism trend.

The growing number of healthcare providers outside of the United States that offer high-quality procedures is increasing competitiveness among hospitals, Brickley says. He compares it to the market dynamics that changed the automotive and electronic industries as global companies expanded their expertise and cut in to U.S. dominance.

Brickley notes that "we have a session, in fact, that is our closing keynote panel: Will U.S. providers meet the competition from international specialty surgery centers and their rapid advances in healthcare delivery, or will the U.S. providers suffer the same fate as the automotive industry?"

But he is quick to note that the focus is beyond just the medical tourism perspective. One whole day of workshops at the conference will focus on quality and safety, and there will be interactive workshops between purchasers and international providers, for example.

While there have been signs of improvement in recent weeks, leaders in the healthcare industry can still learn from their fellow executives on how to better attract patients and maintain business. And why restrict these strategies from those within their own country? No doubt lessons can—and should—be taken from all over the globe.

"The conference frames the issues, opportunities, and potential responses for both U.S. and international healthcare, travel, and health technology stakeholders—including domestic and international providers, U.S. employers, health insurers, and economic development executives recognizing the value of attracting patients to their facilities," Brickley says.

Ben Cole is an associate online editor with HealthLeaders Media. He can be reached at

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