Despite boasting high quality and low costs, Colombia could still do more to position itself as a top destination for medical tourists, according to the U.S. Medical Tourism Association (MTA).
Speaking to Portofolio, MTA president Renee Marie Stephano argued that the most important factor influencing the decision of a potential medical tourist is the cost of the procedure. While Colombia is known to offer much cheaper services, it lacks the positioning to make itself well-known as a destination for those seeking treatment abroad, she claimed.
Despite Colombia’s high-quality medical care, the country’s biggest challenge is getting its hospitals and clinics accredited abroad, Stephano argued.
In Colombia, only two health centers have received international certification for their standards; La Fundacion Cardiovascular (The Cardiovascular Fondation) in Santander, and La Fundacion Santa Fe (The Santa Fe Foundation) in Bogota.
As a result, the Andean nation’s key advantages, low cost and high quality, are not being fully packaged and branded abroad.
Cheap surgeries in Colombia, such as $11,000 knee replacements, compared to $40,000 in Europe, and $24,000 cardiac bypass procedures, compared to $130,000 abroad, have not been enough to bring in the number of foreigners the government is seeking, Stephano explained.
Other important variables that are needed to effectively brand the country, Stephano continued, include quality of service, lodging, meals, transportation, tours, and insurance coverage.