Forming a healthcare cluster or medical cluster is probably the most important single step in establishing a medical tourism destination and to enhance the location’s chances of success as a destination for medical tourists and increasing patient flow. All the medical tourism stakeholders, such as hospitals, doctors, Ministry of Health, Tourism, Economic Development, Tourism Operators, Hotels and more must work together to promote this image of high quality of healthcare to establish a “brand” name for the location throughout the world.
A Healthcare Cluster is generally an independent organization of hospitals, clinics, medical professionals and the government in a specific city, state, or region. A healthcare cluster is funded by all the participants in the healthcare cluster and represents the interests of all the members; the cluster may also be supported by government funding. A Healthcare Cluster's purpose is to promote the members of the Healthcare Cluster and to build a reputation as having extremely high quality healthcare.
Carefully targeted collective action by the members of the Healthcare Cluster often produces results that individual members are incapable of obtaining by or for themselves. Also, before patients travel to these destinations, there needs to be a belief and reputation that the location has extremely high quality healthcare, infrastructure support and governmental sponsorship. No one individual member can do this.
A Healthcare Cluster can adopt and promote high standards of ethical and professional medical care. These standards will need to be developed based upon the existing medical requirements and licensure standards for the country, state, city or region. Marketing standards and goals for the cluster need to be evaluated and designated to the appropriate entity or groups. Advertising budgets need to be developed as well and tie in with the Department of Tourism and Department of Health for governmental support.
Finally, appropriate aftercare systems need to be created to appropriately handle patients. This means that tourism organizations and hotels and/or recovery centers need to be incorporated into the cluster for the purpose of creating safe and reliable aftercare networks. In this way, the Healthcare Cluster can create self-regulation within the location to achieve its goals of being established as an independent arm of the healthcare and tourism sectors.
For more information on how the Medical Tourism Association® can help in the formation of a Healthcare Cluster or Medical Cluster for either medical tourism or for local or regional patients, please contact the MTA at: