I’m sitting in the cyber cafe of Bumrungrad International here in Bangkok, Thailand. Bumrungrad is the hospital that 60 Minutes called, “The number-one international hospital in the world.” NBC’s Peter Greenberg recently featured it on the Today show. It is getting a lot of attention because the price (low), access (you can walk in and see a doctor within 20 minutes), and quality (tops) are what everyone wants.
I’ve been told it is the health care of the future – so naturally I wanted to see for myself.
There are 750 doctors on staff, and they see one million patients a year. The nurses and large support staff (many of whom are concierges) have smiles and serve refreshments. The children’s area was filled with little ones having fun on the colorful tubes – the kind you see at some McDonald’s playgrounds – playing with toys, and crawling over couches and chairs that look like soccer balls. The doctor’s offices for the kids resemble little play houses. I bet parents have no problem taking their kids to the doctor around here!
This large, very clean facility looks like a cross between a mall (with a Starbuck’s, shopping, restaurants), hospital, clinic, and high-end hotel. The only thing they are missing is a really forward thinking spa facility which could be integrated for patients, visitors and staff.
People fly in from all over the world for low-cost medical procedures here, such as executive health physicals, heart surgery, plastic surgery, or Lasik eye procedures, to name just a few. Although they don’t currently have a spa, there are some spa elements available: A gym, hair salon, and massage therapists who can come to your hospital room. There is also a rooftop garden overlooking the city of Bangkok with beautiful landscaping. As lovely as this outdoor space was, no one was using it. And because it is always hot and humid in Bangkok, I don’t imagine it gets much use at all. (Looks like great space for a spa to me!)
Ruben Toral, the hospital’s group marketing director who is quite passionate about the work they do there, gave me a full tour, explained the business model, and shared with me that they are expanding this facility and also building a new Bumrungrad in Dubai.
I hope he is right about their model – low cost, high quality and quick accessibility – being the future of health care. And now if they could get the spa element right, it would be a real winner.
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