FIGHTING BAD PRACTICES
Important! For the attention of medical offices, clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities (intermediaries) seeking to expand their business internationally.
The work in the field of medical tourism normally starts with the question “Where do I begin?” This article is intended to denounce the bad or fraud practices of this specific market.
Oftentimes the first step that many people take is visiting conferences that focus on medical tourism where the medical field professionals gather to discuss various subjects and problems related to the topic.
At these conferences one can come across health facilitators (intermediaries), associations of medical tourism from different countries, buyers (insurance providers), communication agencies or representatives of different thematic media.
Participation in these conferences is an important thing, it allows you to meet the industry professionals. They help you understand how the market operates and they share some very specific experience so you can learn how to succeed from those who have succeeded. However, you should be very careful and even skeptical on many points because you can meet a few dishonest companies there. Indeed, just like on many other growing markets, here many players come with the only purpose is to find a victim to rip off. These structures often work in the marketing field and they will do anything to lure you into a trap. Appearing honest at first sight, here are a few deceitful techniques these players hide from you.
- Organization of “false” conferences. You get to be charged with a significant price to participate in a medical tourism conference and to meet a large number of buyers. So you agree, you pay for the ticket, for the travel and you find yourself extremely disappointed with how few visitors and even fewer buyers are there. This kind of conferences is often affiliated with other big events such as a medical exhibition. It can give the impression of an important and serious conference, except for the fact that it’s happening is a small, almost empty room in the annex of the exhibition.
- Offers to publish an article about your company in a specialized magazine. The price of the article will be very high, but don’t worry, in order to justify the money they will present you a media kit with inflated figures (number of readers, copies or countries of distribution). Generally, the rate of return of such articles is zero. To defend themselves, they will try to convince you to do even more publications because in marketing “it takes more than one article in order to get a minimal feedback.”
- The “Dead Souls” technique is when a communication agency sends you fake patients with fake medical records to prove that you are “on the right track”. This way they make you think that working with them pays off since you get requests from people. In reality, you spend your time and money on non-existent patients and ineffective communication. A simple example would be a collaboration with an Internet platform specializing in medical tourism. They would offer you to publish articles regularly on their site for quite a high price. However, if you get their platform analyzed by Internet professionals, they find out that this site almost never visited and not too well SEO’ed. It may, however, have a visitors counter that shows the number of visits, but of course, it is false and inflated.
This is only part of the fraud techniques used by “false friends” of the medical tourism sector. To prevent the spread of these techniques, our Association has set up a blacklist of rogue traders. Don’t hesitate to report to us if you have been a victim of fraudulent practices. Together we can stop the spread of these methods.
Lofti Khelifi, Middle East Tourism and Treatment
Natalia Strokovska, DoctorGeo