New innovations in medical tourism and wellness in Europe: Switzerland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This chapter describes a comprehensive state-of-the-art medical tourism resort in Switzerland. It is a unique design concept that includes hotels, medical treatment facilities, rehabilitation spa, and thermal baths in one beautiful setting in the Swiss Alps. Hospitals and luxury are two words that do not seem to go together; or do they? In a recent trend where medical recovery meets the comfort of a luxury hotel, the idea of “Hotels Bridging Health Care,” known as H2H, is gaining ground. A mixed-use concept, H2H creates a new and innovative business model for entrepreneurs to fulfill the unmet needs of patients and their families; all achieved in a hygienic, complementary, and friendly environment that provides quality accommodations, upscale treatments, and state-of-the-art wellness centers. “Medical tourism is a way for medical facilities to differentiate themselves from their competitors,” said Fred J. DeMicco, Aramark Chair and Professor in the University of Delaware’s Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management. “Being able to stay and be pampered at the same place you are curing your ailment is the way many people with medical issues will want to go in the future.” “A case in point,” said DeMicco, “about 75 percent of all hospital services today are hotel and hospitality-related services.” In the recent economic downturn, hotels closely connected to hospitals appeared to be recession proof, which likely results from the appeal of completing a medical procedure and having a vacation at the same time. “Price is a real attraction,” said Ali Poorani, Associate Professor of UD’s HRIM program and Director of Hospitality Associates for Research and Training. “The cost of surgery in India, Thailand or South Africa can be onetenth of the rates in the United States. A heart-valve replacement that could cost $200,000 or more in the U.S. goes for approximately $10,000 in India, and that includes round-trip airfare and a brief vacation.” DeMicco added that as US accrediting bodies recognize many healthcare facilities overseas, more corporations and insurance companies are paying for medical travel abroad. Drs. DeMicco and Poorani have been watching the growth of H2H worldwide and are situating the program at UD to play a key role in expanding the concept. Over the past three years, DeMicco and Poorani have joined Kathleen Matt, the Dean of UD’s College of Health Sciences, and have held roundtable discussions on H2H, spas, and wellness. The discussions have brought together constituents from Delaware’s Health Care and Hospitality communities in an effort to share information and ideas about the alignment of the H2H concept with potential plans for UD’s Science and Technology Campus. Building upon the roundtable, as well as research by DeMicco and Poorani, HRIM held a conference on Hotel, Wellness and Medical Tourism Entrepreneurship to be held at The Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, a top medical tourism model near Davos, Switzerland. The interdisciplinary conference involves several UD departments. Conference sessions include an overview of medical tourism today and the future and concept of H2H with wellness spas. It also includes panel presentations and discussions on the operational model of The Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, the branding of cities and towns for medical tourism, financial and investment issues, potential infrastructure and legal issues, and the impact of communication on doctor/patient relationships. Students from HRIM, the Lerner College, and Nutritional Health Science will be returning June 2015.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Tourism and Wellness
Subtitle of host publicationHospitality Bridging Healthcare (H2H)
PublisherApple Academic Press
Pages279-288
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781771885065
ISBN (Print)9781771885058
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Healthcare
  • Hospitals
  • Hotel
  • Luxury
  • Medical recovery
  • Medical spa
  • Resort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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