This will likely be the last blog from the Health Care Globalization Summit. Cards have been exchanged, hands shook and business deals among the delegates begun -- if not complete.
It's been fascinating for me to immerse myself into the business side of health care. It's something we don't see that often in Canada. This being a business conference, there was was no discussion of whether for-profit medical care is a good thing, or whether higher profits are a measure of quality of care -- topics that always come up when business and health care are discussed in Canada.
The question all week was not should profits be made from health care, but how can more money be made.
But Canada and the U.S. do share at least one major health-care concern — accessibility — though for very different reasons. In the U.S., access to health care is denied due to cost. In Canada, it's due to wait lists. The solution offered for both here has been the same: get more people to go abroad for care. And hospitals from India to Singapore to Malaysia to Latin America have been on hand to drum up business.
There's little doubt medical tourism is taking off. In fact, health systems in many developing countries are betting their livelihood on their ability to attract out of country patients. A representative from Singapore told me the population of the island is too small to support a good health-care system, so foreigners are needed.
With U.S. health care not getting any cheaper and aging baby boomers in Canada about to add their names to waiting lists for new hips, new knees and cardiac surgery, Singapore may have little to worry about.