Maria K Todd MHA PhD
That’s an excellent question. It isn’t a straightforward answer.
• It depends on what you want to do as a medical tourism startup involves many things and many variations.
• The amount is also dependent on the training you need to fill gaps in knowledge to enter the business and if you are going to self study or pay for coaching and pay to whom and their rate.
• Startup cost also depends on the market research you are willing to do personally or commission a competent analyst to gather and interpret and provide you an action plan and strategy based the findings. (Think: S-O-A-P)
• Also, it depends on your clinic readiness and what is necessary to fill any gaps in your operational, documentation, software (EMR, referral management, etc.) any “necessary” certifications or accreditation (not all are necessary or valuable)
• You will also need to define your international brand, create the brand, and drive awareness of the brand through imagery, messaging, placement, positioning, graphic design, website, and paid advertising as well as tactical use of social marketing and other free and not quite free options.
• If you are already established as an international or local brand, you may benefit from a brand audit
• You’ll need legal advice to develop contract templates with facilitators, trading partners,
• You’ll need accounting advice to develop a revenue strategy, taking into account foreign transactions and taxation of export services. • You’ll need staff training to coordinate care and assist you in foreign patient communications. This requires a trained nurse, not a clerk, because there are issues of altitude physiology, post op complications, pre-op evaluation of comorbidities, foreign medication reconciliation. They will handle medical records transfer, digital transfer of imaging if required, and expected patient privacy, internet security and confidentiality and privileged communication.
• You’ll also need travel agency partnership or a staffer trained as a travel agent once your volume picks up because there are commissions to be earned on travel expenses.
• You’ll then need a ground services coordinator that greets the patient at the airport and sees them off at departure and coordinates appointments, transfers, and other activities as a quasi destination manager. For their services, they should be in a uniform with your logo on the chest of a polo shirt or jacket.
• You’ll also need a car service that has an appropriate vehicle for the type of patient you’ll attract. If orthopedic, the vehicle must be large enough to seat the patient with ample leg room for the patient and the companion, crutches, braces, etc. So it cannot be one of those tiny taxis hailed on any corner or taxi rank at the airport or hotel. The vehicle must be insured, inspected and driver history and criminal background vetted.
• You’ll need a cash buffer or line of credit to sustain operations through your first 18-24 months as your new startup grows and begins to attract patients because you’ll have ongoing expenses and may not have revenues earned to cover your base for several years. Start with those figures and I am sure it will lead to other items you’ll realize in short order