Health and wellness tourism in Jordan

You might be surprised to know that medical tourism is not a new phenomenon. In fact, evidence suggests that Greeks and Romans would travel by foot or ship to spas and cult centers all around the Mediterranean. The Asclepion Temples, dedicated in honor of the Greek god of medicine, were some of the world’s first health centers. Pilgrims would sometimes spend several nights in the temple, hoping Asclepius would appear in a dream and suggest a diagnosis or treatment.

Over the last fifteen years, however, the trend has reversed itself as increasing numbers of patients have begun traveling from developed nations such as the United States and Canada to so-called “underdeveloped” nations in search of affordable medical care or treatment options not available at home. And now a growing number of patients are traveling to get all sorts of treatments from more acute care procedures such as open heart surgery, spinal procedures or hip and knee replacements to the more recreational-type stuff.

One of the prime forces behind medical tourism is the low cost of medical procedures compared to the United States and many European countries.
The fact that you can save anywhere from fifty to eighty percent on medical procedure costs is extremely alluring regardless of whether you are a patient, business owner, or decision maker at an insurance company.

Do you have a bad knee? A total knee replacement procedure in Jordan will cost you approximately $9,000 USD (€6.690 Euros) compared to approximately $40,000 USD (€29.733 Euros) in the U.S. A heart bypass will cost approximately $11,000 USD (€8.176 Euros) compared to approximately $100,000 USD (€74.333 Euros) in the U.S.
As you can see, even with travel expenses considered, the savings available are quite impressive.
Most popular medical tourism destinations are so-called developing nations. Wages are lower, infrastructure costs are less, and physicians don’t normally pay exorbitant amounts for liability or malpractice insurance. And while the term “developing nation” may bring up negative connotations of a “banana republic” or dilapidated infrastructure, most medical tourism destinations boast urban areas and healthcare infrastructure every bit as advanced as North America and Europe, like the way it is here in Jordan. Healthcare in the United States and Europe, for example is often more expensive due to a number of factors including the higher cost of salaries, supplies, medications and hospital fixed costs among others. It is important to note that in the U.S, particularly, insurance and administrative costs take up much of the healthcare budget.

Jordan offers an outstanding value proposition for companies in the medical services and biomedical sectors. Jordan’s strength lies in the high quality of its health care professionals within the medical services sector. Increasingly, health and wellness providers are “Turning to Jordan” because of its:
o    Highly qualified talent in medicine, nursing, engineering, and research
o    Competitive cost structure for medical services, research, production, and sales
o    Investor-friendly business environment with world class medical infrastructure,
o    including hospitals and contract research organizations
o    Outsourcing capabilities for medical services, such as the reading of x-rays, analysis of laboratory tests, and wellness consulting

Known for years for its excellence in healthcare, Jordan has continually increased
its value proposition by promoting quality and international standards. At present, seven Jordanian private hospitals are accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), with five others in the process of obtaining this accreditation. This ensures patients a quality health care experience, and underscores Jordan’s commitment to enhance all phases of the medical services sector.
Positioned as a gateway to the Middle East, Jordan is emerging as one of the world’s most desirable locations for investment in health and wellness. This includes medical and spa tourism, bio-medical research and production, medical equipment sales, and wellness products from the Dead Sea.

One of Jordan’s primary assets in the medical services sector is its workforce, as the country boasts over 22,0001 physicians most of which are board certified in the United States, United Kingdom, or Germany and a growing cadre of nurses that are trained in state-of-the-art patient care.

The Government of Jordan actively promotes investment in the healthcare and wellness sector through the Jordan Investment Board, which is a focal point for highlighting Jordan’s increasing medical services to offer companies.

Another of Jordan’s assets in the health and wellness sector is its competitive cost structure, which offers medical services companies a low-risk platform to serve the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market, as well as providing them with significant research and laboratory capabilities.

Jordan’s focus on medical and spa tourism has positioned the country as one of the fastest growing markets in the region, with revenues from foreign patients increasing substantially every year. The country is also positioning itself for rapid growth in other medical services areas, such as the conducting of clinical trials through its modern Contract Research Organizations (CROs), and its focus on its progressive economic environment as a sales platform for medical equipment and services.

Jordan is achieving success because of the importance it has placed on the development of quality healthcare. The following table highlights Jordan’s expenditures in this sector in comparison to selected countries:
Figure 1: Jordan’s total expenditure on health as % of GDP
compared to other MENA countries and the USA1

While lower than the United States, Jordan has the highest expenditures on health as percentage of its GDP in the MENA region, with much of this investment going to upgrade facilities and equipment, provide quality medical services to its citizens, and to provide training opportunities for health service professionals.

1. Jordan health and wellness destination guide, Author : Renée-Marie Stephano
2. �الأردن.. قبلة السياحة العلاجية بالمنطقة، حلقة (5/3/2016) من برنامج "الاقتصاد والنَّاس"، قناة الجزيرة الفضائية، الدوحة، قطر

Health and wellness tourism in Jordan Reviewed by Rasha Hamdan on 02:06 Rating: 5


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