As the United States thinks about health care reform, it seems
appropriate to look at ways to reduce medical costs without sacrificing
quality of care. Some of the leading-edge health care solutions are
clearly non-traditional. They include "disruptive" healthcare
innovations, such as medical tourism, retail clinics, medical homes,
alternative and integrated medicine and cyber visits. To help employers
capitalize on these potential cost-reducing innovations, the consulting
firm Deloitte LLP created the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.
For a while now, we have heard about the tremendous cost advantages of
"medical tourism," traveling abroad to receive superior medical, dental
and cosmetic care at what are characterized as "state-of-the-art
medical facilities" throughout the world at a fraction of the cost of
U.S., U.K., or Canadian health care systems. In 2006 alone, more than
750,000 U.S. citizens left the country to find less expensive medical
treatments. That number is projected to grow to 6 million by next year,
potentially saving U.S. employers billions of dollars.
Healthbase is one of the leading providers for direct access to U.S.-,
U.K.-, and internationally trained physicians performing more than 300
different procedures at major accredited hospitals in Southeast Asia,
Turkey, Belgium, Hungary and certain countries in Central and South
America, (particularly Brazil).
However, the latest trend — Lakeshoring (as opposed to Off-Shoring) —
is similar. Lakeshoring involves is finding good facilities in
lower-cost domestic markets, so that the patient does not need to
travel to a foreign country to have a particular procedure.
One of the leaders in domestic medical tourism is a company called
Healthplace America, which has saved its clients hundreds of thousands
of dollars by helping to relocate the medical procedure to a lower-cost
market within the U.S., saving up to 75 percent of the cost of having
the procedure closer to home. U.S. medical facilities are willing to be
paid less because they are generally compensated up front. Paying them
before the procedures are conducted enables them to avoid the arduous
task of seeking reimbursement afterward from insurers and third-party
Expect to see employers and others looking hard for non-traditional,
yet effective ways to deliver health care smarter and less expensively.
(Other innovations like retail clinics and cyber visits will be
addressed in subsequent Herman Trend Alerts.)
Herman Trend Alerts are written by Joyce Gioia, a strategic business
futurist, Certified Management Consultant, author, and professional
speaker. Archived editions are posted at