The Malaysian healthcare system is a prime example of the type that we’re seeing in Asia these days. Its technology and facilities are modern, patients receive a high level of service, the care is affordable, hospitals and clinics specialize in a wide variety of treatments, and there are top-notch doctors and surgeons, many of whom have been trained in the West.
And, like Western countries where large networks of for-profit organizations manage your care, the same is true in Asia. One such company is KPJ Healthcare, one of the leaders in Malaysia’s medical services industry. They operate a chain of successful medical facilities and provide healthcare consulting throughout Malaysia, and they’re currently looking to maintain their success by expanding their existing network of 24 hospitals, pursuing a larger portion of the burgeoning market for medical tourism in Malaysia, and transforming three existing hospitals into oncology centers.
According to an article on Malaysian news source the star online, at present time KPJ continues to reach for its goal of opening no less than two new hospitals per year through 2020, in order to reach a total of 40 hospitals, and they are looking to increase revenues from medical tourism as a share of their total business to 25% by that time, up from the current level of 10%.
How do they plan to increase medical tourism revenues? Also in the article, RHB Research – a Malaysian financial services firm with a market research arm – indicates that KPJ is transforming three of its existing hospitals at Damansara, Johor, and Ipoh into cancer treatment centers, the aim being to upgrade these facilities to include state-of-the-art oncology and radiotherapy capabilities. Might this be a move to attract more medical tourism business?
RHB analyst Lester Chin thinks so. He cites hospitals’ being close to foreign communities and the availability of specialized treatments as the biggest reasons why the main contributors to KPJ’s medical tourism revenues are the KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital and KPJ Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital. The addition of new specialist hospitals in a discipline so popular with medical travelers appears to be a step towards increasing health tourism business in Malaysia.
In addition, KPJ plans to feature its new flagship hospital in Bandar Dato’ Onn as a medical tourism hub, perhaps as a showcase for why Malaysia has become such a popular destination for global healthcare. The brand-new 390-bed hospital will feature facilities for women and children, cosmetics and reconstructive surgery, orthopedics, cardiology, geriatrics, and, of course, oncology. RHB believes the aim is for competitive pricing in order to tap into the more price-sensitive medical tourists from Singapore, and presumably, the West as well. After all, specialized care at affordable costs is one of the main motivators behind the growing medical tourism industry.
With these moves, KPJ, and in turn Malaysia, is setting itself up as potentially a go-to spot for cancer medicine like Thailand has become known for health and wellness, or South Korea for cosmetic/plastic surgery, and India for Ayurvedic treatments.