Singapore is the jewel of medical tourism in Asia. Clean and well organized with a reputation for strict laws and superior healthcare.
The leading shipping port for Asia, Singapore is the fifth wealthiest country in the world according to GDP and is made up of a diverse population primarily Chinese, Malay and Indian. Western medical tourists will find little difficulty in communicating with doctors and staff in, as the common “business and science” language is English.
Singapore’s government has continued to invest billions in a bid to transform its economy into a knowledge-based one that relies less on manufacturing and more on fields such as research, science and medicine.
As of December 2012, there were 22 Joint Commission International (JCI) Accredited medical centers in Singapore.
This includes Johns Hopkins’ first clinical healthcare facility established outside of the United States, the Johns Hopkins Singapore International Medical Centre.
The majority of Singapore’s medical tourists come from neighboring countries, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, and patient numbers from Indochina, South Asia, the Middle East and Greater China are growing. Patients from developed countries such as the United States and the UK are also beginning to choose Singapore as their medical travel destination for relatively affordable health care services in a clean cosmopolitan city.
The most popular treatments sought in Singapore by medical tourists include:
- Aesthetic procedures
- Cosmetic surgery
- Orthopedic surgery
- Eye surgery
- Cardiac surgery
- Stem Cell treatments
In addition to these popular treatments, Singapore has taken a lead in a few specific ares of healthcare including stem cell and women’s cardiac treatment.
In March 2011, The National University Hospital opened The Women’s Heart Health Clinic. Its emphasis is on prevention as well as treatment of cardiac disease for women. An all-women team comprising a cardiologist, dietitians, therapists and physiotherapists, treat women patients.
Since 2001, more than 100 foreign drug makers and biomedical companies, including GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Novartis AG and Pfizer Inc., have set up factories here, attracted partly by patent enforcement that’s the strictest in Asia. These efforts just further Singapore’s intellectual capital and position as the leading healthcare destination of Asia.
Singapore’s reputation for state-of-the-art equipment and highly qualified surgeons – many of which are U.S. trained – is attractive to Western patients. With the superior care comes a higher price for medical treatment and procedures vs. other Asian destinations. However, American medical tourists discover prices are about half of what U.S. clinics charge. While Singapore clinics and hospitals generally provide more opulent pre/post patient care than one would expect to receive from a U.S. provider.