I had the rare privilege to have been part of a panel arranged by the Edelman PR firm at the famous South By Southwest conference in Austin Texas a few weeks ago. My sister Katrine, who lives in Austin and has attended SXSW many times, continued to correct me each time I mentioned SXSW. She insisted that only “newbies” say South by Southwest. Everyone else calls it “South By.” Ok…so I was a newbie. Perhaps I will get the lingo right next year. Continue reading
- The entire event reached a higher level of conversation because of the inclusion of discussions regarding larger global and geopolitical issues from speakers such as Philippe Bourguignon and Former President Jose Maria Figueres-Olsen, etc. Continue reading
This week’s burning question: Do you have a favorite TED talk? If you do, by all means, let us know! This issue is all about TED. I attended the 2012 TED conference this past week in Long Beach – one of the most fertile grounds for discussion about imagination and innovation. In this Weekender, we want to know the TED talks you feel the spa and wellness industry should listen to (I have a few in mind).
We’ll be sending a list of the favorites that people suggested in next week’s issue. Will yours make the A-list?
TED is a gathering of people, over 1,500 to be exact. With the tagline of “Ideas worth Spreading,” TED is an innovative nonprofit that started out (in 1984) as a conference to bring together three worlds – technology, entertainment and design. Since then, it has become massively successful, especially since it took on the innovative philosophy of “radical openness.”
TED Today (aka all-grown-up)
Today, along with TED’s annual conferences and regional events, the organization has all sorts of projects going on, including an award-winning video site that makes these inspiring and content-rich TED talks available to anyone for free. The website has had 700,000,000 views over the past five-and-a-half years, and the videos have been translated into 86 languages – talk about far reaching.
Lucky Number 18
What makes TED so special is the format: Each speaker talks for 18-minutes – no more, no less. There are no breakout sessions. According to TED.com, “Everyone shares the same experience. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It works because all of knowledge is connected.”
So what does this mean for the spa and wellness industry? These 18-minute videos have the potential to be a huge help as we embark on understanding innovation and imagination. Take a look at TED’s video library, select a few in your area of interest and let us know the ones you love.
Also, check out the list below of our favorites, covering everything and anything about innovation: from medicine and wellness, to education and personal “genius.”
Daniel Kraft: Medicine’s Future?
Innovations impacting medicine and wellness.
Sir Ken Robinson: Bring On The Learning Revolution!
One of the most-viewed TED talks ever.
Elizabeth Gilbert: On Nurturing Creativity
We all have a “genius.”
Trust me – each of these 18-minute talks will be worth your time this weekend.
Check out the GSWS team’s picks:
GSWS team pick:
Daniel Kraft: Medicine’s Future?
A quick and encouraging glimpse at innovations impacting medicine and wellness.
Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!
One of the most viewed TED talks ever. It is about innovation in education.
Elizabeth Gilbert: On Nurturing Creativity
Shares the radical idea that we all have our own, personal “genius.”
I had a big “ah ha!” recently. It came after reviewing my notes and reflecting on what I heard and learned at the World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress I attended in Chicago a few weeks ago.
It was the revelation that because of medical tourism – people traveling across borders eitherinternationally or domestically for medical care – we can eventually expect a dramatic improvement in the health care crisis in the U.S. and around the world!
That was a major wow – and it gives me great optimism not only for our country but also for the spa and wellness industries as a whole.
Bottom line, medical tourism is now creating competition – true competition – and that is spilling over causing health care all over the world to respond. Add to that some of the changes in both the European and the U.S. health care systems and we are approaching a tipping point. Prices will come down and quality of care will go up. Here are some things I learned at the conference that bring me to that conclusion:
- The quality of hospitals and doctor’s skills around the world is increasing so quickly that in many places it has not just caught up with the U.S., it is now surpassing it! That is a game changer.
- Patient care is more caring in many parts of the world. Due to lower labor costs there are more people to care for each patient in places like the Philippines, Thailand, India, Barbados, etc. Patients get more time with their doctors, access to more thorough testing and are taken care of from the minute time they arrive in the foreign country until the time they leave.
- The Internet is helping all of this along…the power is now shifting into the consumer’s hands and they are looking (and finding) places for cheaper, quicker, or better medical care.
- 90 different countries attended this conference. That’s huge! It means that 90 countries are interested in medical tourism which will fuel even more competition.
- Insurance companies are beginning to embrace medical tourism by helping their policy holders find overseas solutions. This is new. (There were quite a few insurance companies at this conference.) The lower costs are just as attractive to insurance companies as they are to individuals!
- Businesses that are self insured are fostering relationships with specific countries for their health care needs. Blue Lake Casino works with a medical facility in Costa Rica for all their orthopedics issues. B & H Photo of NY has 1700 staff. 50% are Jewish so they decided to work with a hospital in Israel for their health care needs.
- Many places offer quicker service. Some countries (Canada, UK) have long waiting lists…going abroad can solve that.
- Often lower costs can be found abroad. For example, dental work (often not insured in the U.S.) is becoming as good as or better in Mexico than in the U.S. at a fraction of the cost.
- One can get access to new cutting edge medical options that may not be available in one’s home country. Example: stem cell medicine which is growing very fast.
- Transparency is greater abroad. As one speaker explained – just try finding out the cost of a colonoscopy here in the U.S. It’s almost impossible because of the various entities involved in that procedure. You can easily get an all inclusive colonoscopy price quote in from many countries.
- Executive physicals are popular. One research report found that 45% of medical tourists are interested in Executive Physicals, 33% interested in Dental procedures, with lower percentages for oncology, orthopedics and cosmetic surgery. The physicals are more comprehensive and cheaper. There is more time to discuss results with a doctor and some tests aren’t available anywhere else.
- Areas of specialties are arising both domestically and internationally. Brazil is known for plastic surgery, Korea is known for living donor liver transplantation and robotic surgery, and Oklahoma is positioning itself as the medical tourism destination for oncology care in the U.S. Missouri’s Hospital Association found that domestic medical travel created over 3,000 jobs and generated $124 million in non-medical travel expenditures in 2009.
- Hospitals are doing deals and getting creative. Lowe’s just struck a deal with Cleveland Clinic making it the first time a national company selected one specialist hospital. Mayo Clinic is planning to build a destination Medical Community as they now realize that if they don’t get involved with people post stay at Mayo, it will affect future customers. A company in Boston that talked about sending their employees to Thailand for orthopedic procedures found that a hospital in Boston was willing to match the price.
The last session of the conference really hit home – it was called “Meet the Medical Tourist.” There were several people who had taken trips abroad for medical care sharing their experiences. The most memorable was the couple from London who had not been able to get pregnant despite 3 cycles of IVF. They decided to try a well known fertility clinic in Barbados that had a very high success rate. The baby on their lap gave away the result.
Of most interest to me was the mother’s summary. In Barbados she had a more thorough evaluation, much greater interaction with the doctor and a more extensive preparation strategy. They took time to improve odds by monitoring aspects of her physiology that the doctors in London didn’t seem to have time or interest in doing.
I think medical tourism is something the spa and wellness industry should wholeheartedly support. Why? We benefit directly because medical tourists often travel with a companion and sometimes an entourage. Once someone has experienced a country – whether for a medical procedure or a spa vacation – it is reasonable to assume that they will feel more comfortable selecting it for the other. According to the GSS research, wellness tourism ($106B) is already twice the size of medical tourism ($50B). Medical Tourism doesn’t have a lot of repeat business – wellness tourism does. By supporting medical tourism, we will encourage people to think about their health when traveling.
Medical Tourism leads to Wellness Tourism. And Wellness Tourism leads to Medical tourism. And all of it will be a positive for the health care situation in the future.
I feel like kicking up my heels.
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Yesterday, SpaEvidence.com was “officially” launched to the entire industry, to media, and to consumers via this press release: SpaEvidence.com Launches: World’s First Portal to the Medical Evidence for Spa and Wellness Therapies. We are inviting you all to get involved, by linking directly to the portal from your website through logos and banners (like the one on the right) or even white label it to help spread the word.
We have continued to make improvements to the portal, which was first presented at the recent Global Spa Summit in Bali. You may remember that, on the last day of the GSS, Dr. Ken Pelletier and Dr. Daniel Friedland gave outstanding presentations that led up to the unveiling of this year’s most important GSS initiative, the launch of the SpaEvidence portal. You can read their transcribed speeches here: Dr. Pelletier and Dr. Friedland.
I also wanted to share with you directly a letter written to me by Dr. Friedland. It addressed what happened at the end of the presentation on the SpaEvidence portal. Not only was there a standing ovation, but there were tears and we were all quite shocked and a bit overwhelmed. Later Dr. Friedland expressed to me what he thought the tears were about. I asked him to please write it down so that I might share it with others as I think his observations were quite profound.
Here is the letter he sent which touched me deeply and, I think, will touch you as well.
From: Daniel Friedland [email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, May 20, 2011 9:05 PM
To: Susie Ellis
Subject: The Emotion around the Presentation of the Portal
Once again many thanks for the phenomenal experience in joining you for this year’s Summit. It was a joy being with you and the remarkable group of people you assembled. I feel blessed by many new friendships and the strong sense that our presentation and the Portal will play a significant role in transforming the Spa and Wellness Industry and how and where healthcare is delivered globally.
As promised I’m getting back to you with some thoughts about why some of the delegates felt so emotional during our presentation of the portal.
Just before we left the Laguna, I spoke with Kerstin Florian, who shared with me her emotional response to the presentation. Listening to what she shared, gave depth to what I sensed… that so many in your industry have worked for so long, deeply committed to making a profound difference in the lives of their clients. They’ve seen results and know that what they have to offer has value. At the same time, many may have felt marginalized by the conventional medical community, as if what the industry has to offer is “soft.”
What I believe came though from our presentation is the revelation that no one group has a monopoly on supporting health – the journey to wholeness – for the health seekers we all care for.
Conventional medicine, no doubt, has a lot to offer, particularly for patients who are struggling to manage and cure disease. The Spa and Wellness Industry has an immense amount to offer too, especially around maintaining wellness and preventing disease, as well as providing healing and benefit with various wellness modalities to health seekers who are navigating their disease.
The Portal provides more than scientific validation around the value of various Spa and Wellness modalities. It is also a gateway through which many who have been laboring for so long with love and deep conviction, experience an emotional catharsis in discovering their life’s work validated and their purpose emboldened with meaning and significance.
I feel privileged to work with you and our team on this and to continuing our journey together…
With great warmth and appreciation,
Daniel Friedland, MD
My twitter address: @susieellis