The feel­ing of get­ting a oneon-one health ser­vice is so good, and the doc­tor pa­tiently asked many ques­tions and pro­vided quite a few ad­vice for a healthy diet.”

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

Af­ter spend­ing about two months in Cal­i­for­nia re­ceiv­ing med­i­cal treat­ment and re­cov­er­ing, 64-year-old Wu Ming fi­nally bounced back to health, some­thing he had lost for two years.

Wu started to feel phys­i­cal dis­com­fort in 2012, but an ex­am­i­na­tion in a lo­cal hos­pi­tal in Shang­hai showed noth­ing ab­nor­mal. It wasn’t un­til Septem­ber 2013 that he was di­ag­nosed with lat­estage prostate can­cer.

Learn­ing that tra­di­tional treat­ment would do lit­tle to the dis­ease, Wu turned to Shang­hai-based MEGA Health­care in Septem­ber 2014, and two months later re­ceived a par­ti­cle ther­apy treat­ment in the US.

Founded in March 2013, MEGA Health­care helps peo­ple re­ceive med­i­cal treat­ment over­seas. Across China, the num­ber of such agen­cies is nearly 30.

Wu is but one of an in­creas­ing num­ber of Chi­nese will­ing to pay more for over­seas health­care and treat­ment. The num­ber of peo­ple go­ing abroad for med­i­cal treat­ment has dou­bled to 40 mil­lion in six years since 2006, and in 2013, their to­tal spend­ing reached $438.6 bil­lion, con­tribut­ing 14 per­cent of the global tourism in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to Xin­huanet.com, cit­ing a sur­vey re­leased by the Stan­ford Re­search In­sti­tute.

Chi­nese vis­its to South Korea for med­i­cal treat­ment soared nearly 17 times to 79,481 in five years from 2009 to 2014, the Chi­nese ver­sion of South Korean AJU Busi­ness Daily re­ported.

Chi­nese pa­tients spent a to­tal of 140.3 bil­lion won ($126.6 mil­lion) of South Korea in 2014, rank­ing the first of all for­eign pa­tients, fol­lowed by those from Rus­sia, the US and the United Arab Emi­rates.

Take South Korea for ex­am­ple, Chi­nese peo­ple are a ma­jor force in the med­i­cal tourism busi­ness.

Wang Ting has taken vac­cines ev­ery year since 2010 in Hong Kong to pre­vent cer­vi­cal can­cer.

“I learned this vac­cine will be most ef­fec­tive if it is taken at age 26, but it is only avail­able in Hong Kong or Tai­wan in China,” said the 31-year-old mag­a­zine edi­tor.

“I ar­ranged a membership med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion for my fa­ther in April in Ja­pan. I think the ser­vice from pro­fes­sional doc­tors is worth the high cost,” said 32-year-old Tian Yuxin.

Tian her­self also plans to have a phys­i­cal exam in Ja­pan in Au­gust.

So far, there is no of­fi­cial statis­tics in­di­cat­ing how many Chi­nese peo­ple go over­seas for health­care ser­vice, but it’s true that quite a few for­eign med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties are ex­tend­ing their busi­ness to the Chi­nese mar­ket.

Chen Ji­aye and her fam­ily went to the US for a one-month vis­it­ing tour last year, and she spent around 20,000 yuan ($3,227) for a phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion in Los An­ge­les.

“The feel­ing of get­ting a one-onone health ser­vice is so good, and the doc­tor pa­tiently asked many ques­tions and pro­vided quite a few ad­vice for a healthy diet,” said 36-year-old Chen, who is con­sid­er­ing do­ing regular health checks abroad in the fu­ture.

At least 3,000 peo­ple went to the US for med­i­cal rea­sons from Shang­hai Cus­toms alone in 2013, ac­cord­ing to Fan Tailai, gen­eral manager of MEGA Health­care.

“The ac­tual num­ber should be more than that. As new visas are valid for 10 years, peo­ple can go on a med­i­cal tour even if their visas are for pure travel or vis­it­ing rea­sons,” Fan said.

Av­er­age cost for get­ting med­i­cal treat­ment in the US is about $150,000, and most of the Chi­nese pa­tients come from ma­jor cities such as Bei­jing and Shang­hai.

“There are only three or four agen­cies of­fer­ing sim­i­lar ser­vices when we es­tab­lished the com­pany in China, and we had only sev­eral cus­tomers (who went to the US for treat­ment) in the first year,” said Guo Liang, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor and co­founder of MEGA Health­care.

The doc­tor-turned-en­tre­pre­neur said he and his fam­ily mem­bers had sim­i­lar ter­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ence in crowded Chi­nese hos­pi­tals as many other Chi­nese peo­ple.

“My ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing a doc­tor let me un­der­stand their high pres­sure of see­ing dozens of pa­tients ev­ery day, but at the same time, I also see a ris­ing de­mand for a bet­ter treat­ment en­vi­ron­ment for pa­tients,” said Guo.

This is the rea­son why he and his part­ners de­cided to open such a med­i­cal ser­vice agency for Chi­nese peo­ple.

“I

used

to

think

ev­ery hos­pi­tal is the same — noisy, crowded, and you have to take off your pants in front of every­body in the room when you are given an in­jec­tion,” said Cai Qiang, founder and pres­i­dent of Bei­jing Saint Lu­cia Hos­pi­tal Man­age­ment Con­sult­ing Co.

“But when I moved to Australia, I saw a com­pletely dif­fer­ent scene in the hos­pi­tal — the build­ing looked like a star ho­tel, and there were spe­cial rooms for the doc­tor and the pa­tient to use when tak­ing an ex­am­i­na­tion. When my wife gave birth to our baby, the doc­tor even pre­pared a cam­era for us,” Cai said.

Cai said he was shocked by the stark con­trast and de­cided to go back to China in 2009 to help Chi­nese peo­ple re­ceive over­seas med­i­cal treat­ment.

In 2011, Saint Lu­cia be­came the na­tion’s first provider of over­seas med­i­cal care, and it is now the largest in this area with nearly 1,000 clients re­ceiv­ing ei­ther a long-dis­tance med­i­cal con­sul­ta­tion or med­i­cal

a 36-year-old who spent around 20,000 yuan for a phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion in Los An­ge­les last year

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