Globalization of health care Essay
Globalization of health care
The world, as you know it, has changed as a result of globalization. Local or nationalistic perspectives is transforming to broader outlook of an interconnected and interdependent world with free transfer of capital, goods, and services across national frontiers. To be more specific, due to the development of transportation and telecommunication that the globalization plays an important role of life is irreversible. It presents in plenty of aspects of life, namely trade, culture, tourism, sports, medical treatment,… People now find it much easier struggling to deal with things, ranging from daily demands to huge decisions not only domestically but internationally as well thanks to the advanced technology brought about by efforts of nations. For example, contacting with friends, even visually in distance is just like a piece of cake with a mobile phone or laptop. In terms of transports, it now allows you to make it to the opposite side of the Earth within few days.
Concerning health care, receiving the same quality treatment but lower cost is not unthinkable, it is a reality to developed citizens who dare travel to developing areas. Our group chose this name because it was the first potential name crossing our minds after the question was raised. In order to adapt to the world, it is essential that you first of all become a globalized student. Approaching the globalization requires general and detailed knowledge of specific fields. For instance; if you want to send an email, then you learn how to write an email; if you want to call a partner, then you must have the numbers; if you want to use airplane service, then you must know how to make it to the waiting lounge. Simply speaking, you want to fly, you must have wings first. We not only hope for the best but also prepare for the worst.
How does this name relates to International Business?
Plainly in evidence that chapter 1 of the subject tells the importance of the name. It represents not only as the foundation of the study but as the future of how students establish their points of views towards economic, financial, trade, and communications integration. Students planning to work in multinational enterprises or run their own business have to master and learn how to be a globalized students in the range of university, specifically in class of home before any further matters can be discussed. Frankly speaking, learn how to swim well at pool first or else you are going to be drown in deep ocean.
1.A decade ago the idea that medical procedures might move offshore was unthinkable. Today it is a reality. What trends have facilitated this process? The conventional concept of receiving medical treatment abroad some decades ago was something rare or even unthinkable. However, in recent years, this whole traditional idea has completely changed. The trend has shifted dramatically from the point which the citizens of many countries traveled to the United States and to the developed countries of Europe to seek the expertise and advanced technology available in leading medical centers, to the situation nowadays wherein citizens of highly developed countries choose to bypass care offered in their own communities and travel to less developed areas of the world to receive a wide variety of medical services.
This significant change is brought about by the two main factors: the relentless development of technology and the cost advantage
The relentless development of technology
The 21th century has witnessed many outstanding breakthroughs in technology, especially in telecommunication, transportation and medical field.
The development in telecommunication, in which the Internet is the biggest example, allows medical treatment abroad to be carried out in a faster and more convenient way. For example, with Internet, radiologists in the US can beam images to India where they could be interpreted by the Indian counterparts. Moreover, since India is on the opposite side of the globe, the interpretation of the images could be done while it was nighttime in the United States and be ready for the attending physician the following morning.
Also, the advance of transportation makes possible the travel from one country to another in the shortest time and the least expensive way.
Furthermore, the improvement in the medical field also provides developing countries to not only develop their domestic health care services but also expose to higher technological equipment. This contributes to the expansion of a global health care supply chain. As a result for people who seek overseas medical treatment, they can get access to a more various marketplace that provide the services. Some typical examples are India, Thailand, …
The cost advantage
Although technological advance plays an important role in bringing about the overseas medical treatment, still the strongest driving force that facilitated the globalization of health care is the cost. In developed countries such as the US, the expenses are far greater than that of those provided in less developed or developing countries. This alone has persuaded a large amount of patients to find treatment elsewhere. In fact, it also gave birth to a new trend which is called “medical tourism”, wherein patients would visit a foreign land to receive complex, sophisticated and often serious medical or surgical care. Following the treatment the “tourist” can experience personal medical attention in a luxurious setting with first class accommodation and subsequently has the chance to enjoy vacation for a short time before going back home.
Howard Staab is an ideal example for this cost advantage. Mr. Staab underwent a leaking heart valve surgery in New Delhi and toured the Taj Mahah afterward with the total price of $10.000, which is a lot cheaper than the $60.000 cost alone for the operation cost in the US, without the visit to the Taj Mahal.
Besides the two main drivers mentioned above, there are some other factors involving in the decision – making of the consumers in this overseas health care services. Some people who had undergone medical care in a foreign country said that they did it to circumvent the delays associated with long waiting list. This so called “long waiting list” phenomenon recently has made as 40 veterans died while awaiting care at the Phoenix VA hospital.
Also, the involvement of insurance companies by offering enrollees the option of getting treatment abroad for expensive surgeries could provide this trend a big boost.
2.Is the globalization of health care good or bad for patients? Globalization is becoming more and more a part of our society. The health care industry is also affected by globalization. Physicians are traveling to other countries to perform volunteer work and patients are traveling to other countries to receive medical care. This has both beneficial and harmful influence on the patients’ health.
Adequate care for patients in developing countries
Globalization has brought access to medication from manufacturers to less developed countries where patients can either not afford it, or would not have access to it. Patients in these countries also have a lack of diagnostic capabilities and poor transport options. The Glievec International Patient Assistance Program (GIPAP) is an international program that works with drug manufacturers to distribute medication to patients. Under the program, the manufacturer provides drugs at no cost directly to eligible patients. This program helps over 18,000 patients worldwide each year.
Furthermore, physicians, students, and other professionals volunteer to travel to other countries and provide medical treatment to those who live in countries that do not have adequate health care. For instance, sub-Saharan Africa has roughly twenty-five percent of the global disease burden, yet only three percent of the global health care workforce. Since globalization of the health industry is currently in process, physicians from around the world are participating in “medical missions” to developing countries to administer medical care.
The circulation of patients
The outsourcing of medical procedures to nations where medical professionals are paid lower could clearly benefits consumers. The movement of patients is a more recent phenomenon. Though still marginal, so called ‘medical tourism’ is becoming more important. Treatments offered in western Europeans countries attract infertile couples from United States because they cost half or one third of those provided in North America. Elective surgery offered in highly sophisticated Indian hospitals tends to cost only 10–20% of identical treatment in western countries. There is also a shift from personal initiatives to national incentives. Tunisia, for example, organized a conference at the beginning of December 2004 to attract health care purchasers from abroad. Purchasers, even those belonging to public systems can potentially be interested, when a reduction of costs by as much as 50–80% can be realized. Negative impacts
Developing international standards in medical education and health care delivery can help improving quality in health care all over the world. Nevertheless, two problems remain.
Potential of such developments to improve the quality in health care within the world
International standards cannot be created that will fit the cultural, social, and economical contexts of very different countries. It is often assumed that, simply demonstrating compliance with quality processes, will lead to a result (of the treatment) that will be the same, whatever the country or the professionals involved. But it cannot be definitely sure that applying North American (or European, or for that matter African or Asian) procedures and quality rules in other countries will lead to adequate quality. Issues of access to health care and ethical dimension
Countries which continue to accept patients from other lands for expensive services run the risk of either pricing out poorer citizens, or creating a second tier of medical care in those countries. Further, ethically speaking, it is not acceptable to exclude the local population from the benefits of care that is provided in their country for rich strangers, even if this organization allows less rich countries to develop employment in the health care sector. In addition, medical tourism may shift services from preventive public health measures, to less effective and more expensive private clinics. The treatment standards in countries such as India may not be up to the standards found in the United States, and that the process takes some control out of the hands of the consumers. Finally, there are some of the potential dangers of volunteerism.
When students or physicians with little education or knowledge of the culture they are in or volunteer, patients of those countries run the risk of making their symptoms worse. In conclusion, with healthcare globalization, patients in less developed countries can receive medication and care that they would not receive otherwise, doctors and physicians can volunteer and travel to other countries to provide care and treatment. Patients also have the ability to travel to other countries to receive care that would normally be very expensive in their own country. However, globalization runs the risk of patients in other countries not receiving quality care due to volunteers lacking in education, as well as ethical dilemmas.
3.Is the globalization of health care good or bad for American Economy? In general, there are many concerning about globalization of health care that have been proposed by Americans economists. In fact, many aspects has come up to this problems. Here are the examples. Impatient
Americans seeking medical care are increasingly making trips far from home, often at their own expense—not just short hops to Caracas for a nip and tuck or dashes across the frontier for cheap Mexican pills. As Mr. Steele’s testimonial suggests, they are now travelling across the world for knee and heart surgery, hysterectomies and shoulder angioplasties.
One motive is to save money. America’s health inflation has consistently outpaced economic growth, making it the most expensive health market in the world. The average price at good facilities abroad for a range of common medical procedures is, by Deloitte’s reckoning, barely 15% of the price a patient would have to pay in the United States (see table). But costs have long been much higher in America than in poor countries, so this alone does not explain the new exodus. Two other factors are now at work. One is that the quality at the best hospitals in Asia and Latin America is now at least as good as it is at many hospitals in rich countries. The second, more worrying, factor is that America’s already imperfect insurance safety net is fraying. Over 45m Americans are uninsured, and many millions more are severely underinsured. Such people may find it cheaper to fly abroad and pay for an operation out of their own pockets than to find the money for deductibles or “co-payments” charged for the same procedure at home. Arnold Milstein of Mercer, a consultancy, calls them America’s “medical refugees”. Big business may soon join this wave. Epstein, Becker & Green, an American law firm, says that in the past year big employers have become interested in promoting medical travel among the employees they insure. Many are struggling to cope with soaring health costs and some, they report, are willing to take radical steps to save money.
Behind the mask
How will that affect the health systems in rich and developing countries? Listen to critics of medical travel, and you might think that all of this is a tragedy. It has come about, they argue, because of the terrible state of America’s health care, and its consequences for developing nations will be dire. The flow of foreigners will encourage capital and trained staff to flee state-run health-care systems in poor countries in favor of better-paying jobs catering to foreigners and local fat cats. It is surely right that medical tourism is partly the result of the failings in America’s health system. Moreover, recent research by the World Bank does indeed suggest that “internal brain drain” is a worry in some countries, especially those with few doctors and nurses. However, in many huge net exporters of doctors and nurses, such as India and the Philippines, an internal brain drain is hardly much of a worry, because there are plenty of medics to go around. And shortages, in countries where they exist, can be alleviated by reforms changing the way nursing education is funded, for instance, that would help to improve their ailing state-run health systems.
4.Who might benefit from the globalization of health care? Who might lose? Throughout history people have always shared information, traded commodities and exchanged some forms of currency across various borders, which proves globalization an enormous interest of human being. Consequently, health care industry is no longer a norm of services provided where the patients located. The links between globalization and health are complex and globalization is a multifaceted phenomenon that can affect health in myriad ways. Its consequences can be either direct, at the level of whole populations, individuals and healthcare delivery systems, or indirect, through the economy and other factors, such as education, sanitation and water supply. For the health community, globalization offers opportunities but also poses significant challenges to many sectors. The customers (the patients)
•Quick response to deceases with lower costs: Due to the imbalance between supply and demand of health care in the United States, the patients have been undergoing overloaded treatment with high costs. The shortage of radiologists in America cause patients’ diagnostic medical images (including X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans and ultrasounds) to be read and interpreted for longer hours. However this can be resolved more quickly by beaming the images over the Internet for Indian radiologists. Another situation of Howard Staab, who completed his leaking heart valve cure in New Delhi, India for $10,000 instead of paying $60,000 for American hospitals, proves financial benefits for patients.
•Chances for traveling: Medical tourism is a second mechanism through which the patients can benefit through trade liberalisation in healthcare. Taking advantage of abroad trips for medical services, patient could also travel for convalescence in famous tourist attractive destinations, which costs totally lower than treatment in the United States. Losses:
•Spread of infectious deceases: The flip side of the above benefit is that due to the rapid mobility of people across borders for health care services, the spread of infectious diseases is a threat to everyone, particularly the poor. It is entirely possible that a person in the early stages of an infectious disease could travel halfway around the world in 12–15 hours, which functions as a vector for that disease to spread into non-immune populations. The recent epidemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is the best contemporary example of serious damages to the community due to globalization of health care.
•Involved risks due to absence of international insurance policy: Since the U.S Government-sponsored medical insurance program, Medicare, would not pay for services done outside of the country, patients without international medical insurance could be harmed. The developing countries
•Improve health care status & create employment opportunities for health care and tourism: Several decades ago very few hospitals in developing countries could claim to offer the highest quality of health care. Due to globalization of health care, hospitals around the world are striking to meet the stringent requirements, improving health systems standards to attract foreigners, which also benefits local patients. Besides, it would also be useful to encourage developing countries to tax medical tourism and use the proceeds to support their domestic healthcare system. Consequently, health care globalization is creating more works for local health care and tourism industry. According to the management consultancy McKinsey & Co., medical tourism was a$2.3-billion industry in India in 2012. Losses:
•Internal brain drain of medical professionals: Another dilemma that seriously affects people in developing countries, as well as poorer communities in the industrialized nations, is a lack of health professionals. If there are going to have a global world, then people who have these needed skills should be paid appropriately, which induces them to work for well-paid medical industry. The developed countries (the United States)
•Potential gains for the economy: The U.S government could attain profits on providing education of modern technological medical system for developing countries. Besides, insurance companies could offer international healthcare vouchers to be secured while using foreign facilities and sharing their savings. Losses:
•A small fraction of work and treatment moving offshore: Even though the U.S regulations require that a radiologist be licensed in the state and will not pay for international medical treatment through Medicare, there would be a small fraction of patients travel abroad for health care due to their overweighed benefits.
http://carey.jhu.edu/one/2009/fall/globalized-health-care-driven-by-technology/ http://www.pennlive.com/nation-world/2014/08/no_proof_veterans_on_waiting_l.html http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2234298/