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Published on : Thursday, November 14, 2013
Countries like India and Thailand lead the way as top destinations for people looking for high quality care at a fraction of the cost back home. International medical tourism is big business worldwide.
Now, Colombia is also trying to break into the market, which was seeing huge improvements in safety and tourism, decided they wanted in on the action. Since then, they’ve been building facilities specifically designed for medical tourists. However, recently Colombia was better known for drug trafficking.
When the global economy was booming, analysts were saying Americans were pouring out of the country for medical procedures. One projection said the number would reach almost 11 million annually by 2013.
San Vicente de Rionegro is a new hospital, less than two years old. It sits on a country road in the lush, green hills outside downtown Medellin. The middle of nowhere, really, except that it’s only a few minutes drive from the city’s international airport — perfect for international patients. San Vicente only focuses on six surgical specialties ranging from organ transplants to cosmetic procedures, all of which are popular with medical tourists.
Dr. Sergio Franco, the head of cardiovascular surgery at San Vicente, says, “If you want to be one of the best hospitals in the world, you have to start with a facility like this one. Foreign patients come here to get the same quality services that they’d find in the U.S., but with a more caring approach and at a fraction of the cost.”