Healthcare travel blueprint to rebuild post-Covid

The country had established destination landmarks as testaments to its strength in healthcare delivery


MALAYSIA Healthcare Travel Industry Blueprint will serve to guide industry stakeholders in providing the best Malaysian healthcare travel experience by 2025.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (picture) when launching the blueprint yesterday said the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in RM800 million loss in revenue in 2020.

“Now, as we transition towards endemicity, our key priorities include the maintenance of high-quality care and safety above all else,” he said.

He noted that the country had established destination landmarks as testaments to its strength in healthcare delivery, such as the upcoming flagship medical tourism hospitals.

This will serve as the benchmark for medical and service excellence, and strengthen our international recognition in the field of medical tourism.

“The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Industry Blueprint 2021-2025 has been crafted with the aspiration of providing a healthcare experience that exemplifies the best of medical and service excellence throughout the end-to-end patient journey,” Khairy explained.

In addition, it will help the country to continue building its reputation as a trusted and safe destination for healthcare travel.

Public private partnerships (PPPs) will play an important role in the implementation of the blueprint, the minister added.

“In July last year, we demonstrated how PPPs between organisations such as the national security council, the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Immigration Department and the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council can result in the safe and controlled reopening of borders,” Khairy said.

He stressed the importance of the PPPs, saying they would ensure innovation, efficiency and effectiveness.

“Malaysia is preparing its healthcare sector to take on a more robust shape from the perspective of medical expertise, medical devices and pharmaceuticals, showcasing Malaysia’s testament as a trusted and safe country, particularly in attracting foreign investments. For every plan and aspiration articulated today, we must bear in mind that the end goal is to build a sustainable future for our healthcare system.”

The blueprint is expected to be implemented by the MoH, the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council and other relevant stakeholders.

The plan has two phases, the first phase from 2021 to 2022, and the second from 2023 to 2025, with the former focusing on reinforcing awareness of Malaysian healthcare’s world-class quality offerings and enhancing the patient experience through digitalisation efforts; while the latter focuses on rebuilding where industry players will collectively work together to amplify awareness of Malaysian healthcare’s niche offerings such as the fertility hub of Asia, the cardiology hub of Asia and the Cancer Care Centre of Excellence.

Key strategies for the blueprint include improving the quality of care, digitising patient journeys, continuing efforts to be a world-leading destination that provides affordable medical offerings to healthcare travellers, and elevating Malaysia’s offerings in hospitality alongside its position as a safe and trusted destination for both medical and leisure travellers.

The blueprint will be rolled out in phases, starting with the establishment of the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Industry Advisory Board, which will be chaired by the MoH.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council CEO Mohd Daud Mohd Arif said that in 2019 alone, Malaysia received 1.2 million healthcare travellers and earned approximately RM1.7 billion in hospital receipts, with an estimate of RM 7 billion in spillover to the economy.

“Together, I strongly believe that we can continue to preserve and build trust among our healthcare travellers, esteemed colleagues of the industry,” he said.

“I’m confident that we can offer the world a safe and trusted healthcare traveller’s experience right here in Malaysia.”