Globalization is one of those terms that makes a lot of sense when you hear about it, but can be difficult to leverage from a practical standpoint. For example, in Latin America, a certain percentage of affluent patients seek treatment at US hospitals. A new startup, though, is looking to increase the flow of patients in the opposite direction. FlyClinic is building a marketplace of healthcare providers in Latin America and offering these services to patients in countries such as the US.
Founded by Dr. Thomas Treutler who immigrated to Medellin, Colombia a number of years ago, the company is now helping connect patients in need with healthcare providers, which his company has vetted. As healthcare costs skyrocket in the US, more and more patients are exploring options in other countries. Some experts such as consulting firm, McKinsey and Company, forecast the medical outsourcing or medical tourism market to reach $100B by next year from approximately $20B in 2007.
Through its platform, FlyClinic is looking to provide patients with a Global Healthcare marketplace where Latin American healthcare providers can offer their services. FlyClinic offers a payment platform where funds are held in escrow until the patient authorizes their release. It even goes so far as to describe its service as an “eBay for Medical Services.”
Patients search for their specific procedure within the company’s database and are provided additional information about each provider and that procedure. They can then communicate which each potential professional or provider and choose the one that fits his or her needs. Finally, both parties sign a formal online contract and payment is sent to the escrow account.
Dr. Treutler says that the service launched a few months ago, but the growth in users has been encouraging. The company is self-funded and is expecting revenues from commissions and other services to ramp up rather quickly. With respect to healthcare service providers, Dr. Treutler has seen quite a bit of interest as FlyClinic offers these a new channel to reach a new pool of potential patients.