Online Medical Tourism Marketing - Spur Interactive


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"Online Medical Tourism Marketing" was presented at the 2009 World Medical Tourism Congress in Los Angeles. In it I provide the business case for online marketing, an overview of the online media landscape and a roadmap for interactive marketing success.

Please feel free to share with other medical tourism marketers. If you would like a .pdf version please contact me on Twitter @stevelatham or send an email to info (at)

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  • Stem cells are “non-specialized” cells that have the potential to form into other types of specific cells, such as blood, muscles or nerves. They are unlike 'differentiated' cells which have already become whatever organ or structure they are in the body. Stem cells are present throughout our body, but more abundant in a fetus.
    Medical researchers and scientists believe that stem cell therapy will, in the near future, advance medicine dramatically and change the course of disease treatment. This is because stem cells have the ability to grow into any kind of cell and, if transplanted into the body, will relocate to the damaged tissue, replacing it. For example, neural cells in the spinal cord, brain, optic nerves, or other parts of the central nervous system that have been injured can be replaced by injected stem cells. Various stem cell therapies are already practiced, a popular one being bone marrow transplants that are used to treat leukemia. In theory and in fact, lifeless cells anywhere in the body, no matter what the cause of the disease or injury, can be replaced with vigorous new cells because of the remarkable plasticity of stem cells. Biomed companies predict that with all of the research activity in stem cell therapy currently being directed toward the technology, a wider range of disease types including cancer, diabetes, spinal cord injury, and even multiple sclerosis will be effectively treated in the future. Recently announced trials are now underway to study both safety and efficacy of autologous stem cell transplantation in MS patients because of promising early results from previous trials.
    Research into stem cells grew out of the findings of two Canadian researchers, Dr’s James Till and Ernest McCulloch at the University of Toronto in 1961. They were the first to publish their experimental results into the existence of stem cells in a scientific journal. Till and McCulloch documented the way in which embryonic stem cells differentiate themselves to become mature cell tissue. Their discovery opened the door for others to develop the first medical use of stem cells in bone marrow transplantation for leukemia. Over the next 50 years their early work has led to our current state of medical practice where modern science believes that new treatments for chronic diseases including MS, diabetes, spinal cord injuries and many more disease conditions are just around the corner.
    There are a number of sources of stem cells, namely, adult cells generally extracted from bone marrow, cord cells, extracted during pregnancy and cryogenically stored, and embryonic cells, extracted from an embryo before the cells start to differentiate. As to source and method of acquiring stem cells, harvesting autologous adult cells entails the least risk and controversy.
    Autologous stem cells are obtained from the patient’s own body; and since they are the patient’s own, autologous cells are better than both cord and embryonic sources as they perfectly match the patient’s own DNA, meaning that they will never be rejected by the patient’s immune system. Autologous transplantation is now happening therapeutically at several major sites world-wide and more studies on both safety and efficacy are finally being announced. With so many unrealized expectations of stem cell therapy, results to date have been both significant and hopeful, if taking longer than anticipated.
    What’s been the Holdup?
    Up until recently, there have been intense ethical debates about stem cells and even the studies that researchers have been allowed to do. This is because research methodology was primarily concerned with embryonic stem cells, which until recently required an aborted fetus as a source of stem cells. The topic became very much a moral dilemma and research was held up for many years in the US and Canada while political debates turned into restrictive legislation. Other countries were not as inflexible and many important research studies have been taking place elsewhere. Thankfully embryonic stem cells no longer have to be used as much more advanced and preferred methods have superseded the older technologies. While the length of time that promising research has been on hold has led many to wonder if stem cell therapy will ever be a reality for many disease types, the disputes have led to a number of important improvements in the medical technology that in the end, have satisfied both sides of the ethical issue.
    CCSVI Clinic
    CCSVI Clinic has been on the leading edge of MS treatment for the past several years. We are the only group facilitating the treatment of MS patients requiring a 10-day patient aftercare protocol following neck venous angioplasty that includes daily ultrasonography and other significant therapeutic features for the period including follow-up surgeries if indicated. There is a strict safety protocol, the results of which are the subject of an approved IRB study. The goal is to derive best practice standards from the data. With the addition of ASC transplantation, our research group has now preparing application for member status in International Cellular Medicine Society (ICMS), the globally-active non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of cell-based medical therapies through education of physicians and researchers, patient safety, and creating universal standards. For more information please visit
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  • Excellent demonstration!
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  • Every successful travel-oriented business needs an effective group marketing strategy to compete in today's marketplace as this is an imperative way to promote
    tourism marketing
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  • 10/27/09 Copyright 2007 Spur Digital LP
  • 10/27/09 Copyright 2007 Spur Digital LP
  • Online Medical Tourism Marketing - Spur Interactive

    1. 1. Online Marketing for Medical Tourism December 2009 Online medical tourism marketing © Spur Interactive 2009 1
    2. 2. Why Medical Tourism? •  Consumers are increasingly looking overseas for medical, dental and surgical care •  Lower Cost + Vacation Experience = Attractive Alternative •  A few examples… •  Heart-valve replacement: $200,000 in U.S. vs. $15,000 in India •  Metal-free dental bridge: $5,500 in the U.S. vs. $1,500 in Costa Rica •  Knee replacement: 80% savings in Thailand or Malaysia •  Lasik eye surgery: $3,700 in the U.S. vs. $700 in Philippines •  Cosmetic surgery (facelift): $20,000 U.S. vs. $1,500 in South Africa •  Pending health care reform may fuel this trend… •  Longer wait times and more paperwork •  Declining coverage elective procedures •  Lower reimbursements from Insurance and Medicare Online medical tourism marketing © Spur Interactive 2009 2
    3. 3. Medical Tourism: A Growth Industry •  U.S. outbound patient visits and spend growing rapidly(1) •  2010: 900,000 patients spending $1.3bn abroad •  2015: 4 million patients spending $11.8bn abroad (1) Deloitte, 2009 Online medical tourism marketing © Spur Interactive 2009 3
    4. 4. How Will Global Providers Compete? •  Competition for U.S. patients is increasing •  Domestic: local providers seeking to protect share •  Abroad: International providers seeking to take share •  Marketing success requires: •  Compelling message -  Relevant -  Unique -  Memorable -  Defensible •  Effective channel to deliver message -  Efficient -  Cost-effective -  Targeted -  Measurable Online medical tourism marketing © Spur Interactive 2009 4
    5. 5. Business Case for Online Marketing in Medical Tourism This is where the patients are •  Online > 33% of U.S. media consumption (1) •  The web is relied upon by people of all ages •  85% of adults age 30-50 are active users •  51% of adults 65-75 are active users This is how they make decisions •  75% of Internet users research health online •  12% of all users will visit a health-related site today •  75% of users with chronic condition said online " research influenced their treatment decision Digital media offers compelling advantages •  Able to Target, Engage and Interact •  Measurable, Affordable, Accountable …but despite its advantages online is a challenging medium (1)  Source: Pew Research Foundation Online medical tourism marketing © Spur Interactive 2009 5
    6. 6. Online Media Can be Overwhelming Video E-Mail Search Display and House & 3rd Paid + Display Pre-roll Party email Natural Social Rich, Flash Tweets, Posts, Blogs, and Static Ads Photos, Videos Blogs Info Sites Web Site Social Search Networks Email " Lists Online medical tourism marketing © Spur Interactive 2009 6
    7. 7. Online Success Requires an Integrated Approach Search Social Video Display E-Mail Paid + Blogs, Networks, Display and Rich Media, House & 3rd Natural Content Sites Pre-roll Banners Party email Awareness Interest 
 (Consideration / Preference) Decision Patients Online medical tourism marketing © Spur Interactive 2009 7
    8. 8. Online Roadmap for Interactive Health Marketers   Optimize Your Web Site •  Usability: make it easy and intuitive •  Effectiveness: engage and convert interest to action •  Search: optimize for natural search rankings   Create demand (Advertise!)   Interact via Social Media Online medical tourism marketing © Spur Interactive 2009 8
    9. 9. About Spur Interactive Strategic Interactive Agency Full Service Approach •  Lead generation •  Strategies •  Customer cultivation •  Creative •  Brand building •  Media •  ROI measurement •  Analytical Insights Uniquely Positioned: Advisor and Implementer Planning  Execution  Measurement  Optimization Thought leaders in digital media: •  Integrated campaign planning and execution •  Understanding the roles and impact of online media •  Experts in reaching, engaging and acquiring customers Track record of successful programs •  7+ years of ROI-based successes for leading brands Online medical tourism marketing © Spur Interactive 2009 9
    10. 10. Our Expertise in Health Care Marketing Spur has built successful programs in numerous health categories:   General acute care   Cardiac monitoring   Specialty service lines   Lasik surgery   Bariatric / Lap Band surgery   Hair Replacement   Mobility products   Acne and Skin care   Diabetic supplies   Cosmetic surgery Online medical tourism marketing © Spur Interactive 2009 10
    11. 11. Our Health Marketing Insights Our Health Care experience affords valuable insights: •  How consumers and doctors research health information •  Which media outlets work at each stage of the decision cycle •  Which offers work (and which ones don’t) •  How to maximize conversion rates and minimize costs from: •  Search engines •  Social media •  Online health info publishers •  Display ad networks •  3rd party email list owners •  Optimizing post-lead conversion •  Measuring impact •  Quantifying ROI For information visit Online medical tourism marketing © Spur Interactive 2009 11
    12. 12. About the Presenter Steve Latham is the founder and CEO of Spur Interactive, a strategic interactive marketing agency with deep experience and insight in health care marketing. In this role, Steve has planned and managed successful campaigns leveraging online advertising, social media, search engine marketing and email marketing to help numerous health care providers build their brands and acquire patients. Steve is an accomplished industry lecturer, blogger and thought leader. Steve’s speaks frequently at industry events and his presentations have been viewed by thousands. His articles have been published by MediaPost, Online Media Daily, iMedia Connection, Marketing News and to name a few. Steve has been quoted in B2B Magazine, PR Week, Fortune and Steve received an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BBA from the University of Oklahoma. You can review Steve’s articles and presentations at " Online medical tourism marketing © Spur Interactive 2009 12