Ministry of Health, Bahrain
Title: A qualitative analysis of Singapore's medical tourism competitiveness
Biography: Ahmed Husain Ebrahim
Medical tourism, a rapidly growing market, has been recognized by many countries as a potential sector for economic diversification. Although Singapore stands out as one of the top destinations of medical tourism, investigation regarding its competitiveness has been limited and narrow in scope. This case study takes a qualitative approach to identify and analyze the factors that keeps Singapore, as a competitive medical tourism destination. Based on a holistic approach, this study has shown that integrating diverse strategies for medical tourism development with sound government policies and proactive management practices have led to significant positive outcomes towards mutual success of tourism, healthcare and other economic sectors of Singapore. Additionally, the study provides strategic insights to drive lasting improvements in both public and private sectors of aspiring countries through efficient management and intelligent utilization of resources within and outside the medical tourism sector. Based on this study, medical tourism competitiveness can be defined as the ability to strategically plan, set viable policy goals, establish effective multi-stakeholder partnerships, maintain an attractive environment and ensure that all of these capabilities are harmonized to optimize the delivery of medical services that rank high on parameters of quality, innovativeness, affordability and safety. The content of this definition is relevant to Singapore's medical tourism experience analyzed in this study. Policy makers, interested in medical tourism development, need to put into account not only a synchronized pattern of actions needed between government agencies and relevant private stakeholders to improve the performance of the sector, but to ensure that long-term measures undertaken by the public sector are viable and can diversify the tourism sector. Additionally, there must exist a robust public interest to create an environment that empowers private enterprise. This absolutely necessitates integrated strategic planning, a successful execution strategy and continuous improvement and development solutions.