An article by Dr Constantine Constantinides that highlights the need for free and open debate within the health tourism industry. Dr Constantinides expresses concerns about the quality of opinion and the resulting debates within the industry, and suggests that is time for the establishment of an independent peer reviewed journal to host industry debate.
There is “huge” interest in Health Tourism (also known as medical tourism, medical travel etc etc).
An army of people across the world are involved in health tourism and the sector has without question developed a very broad stakeholder base.
Many people are seeking to make a career out of health tourism (or replace a dead one!). There are countless health tourism-related events (see the Medical Tourism Events Calendar on IMTJ). Politicians, entrepreneurs and health service providers have placed much hope in health tourism, seeing it as a “fix” to their economic woes, whether these are at a macro or micro level.
So, it would be realistic to expect that we would get and have to deal with differing views and opinions both (informed and uninformed), arguments and debates.
Countless individuals, countless opinions
Today and particularly with the growth of the internet, there are countless individuals (….known, unknown and fictitious!) who put forward opinions on all aspects of the industry and market (…..they are not one and the same).
This means that those who take issue with another’s opinion have to be careful about whom they get into an argument with.
Some, who have their opinions questioned (and even ridiculed), may assume the role of the persecuted truth-teller.
Others, if they consider it worthwhile, will debate things using well founded arguments and facts.
This latter group tends to be health tourism insiders; people who work within the industry, who feel confident and comfortable with their status, and do not need constant re-affirmation and validation from an adoring media and other sycophants.
This group, if they are wise, will only debate issues with critics who are also experienced, established experts, and perhaps also respected insiders with “hands on” knowledge and experience and above all, understanding of the health tourism business.
So…..who is wrong and who is right?
"It’s not right. It’s not even wrong”
This quotation is attributed to Wolfgang Pauli (whom those with some physics background will certainly know about).
“Not Even Wrong” is also the title of a book by Peter Woit (a physicist and mathematician who has serious doubts about the validity of String Theory – but that is another story).
The objective of rules-based and well-refereed debates is to provide an opportunity for arguments to be presented out in the open, and allow logic and fact-based opinions to prevail on merit.
Of course, the outcome of a debate need not be regarded as a definitive ruling on an issue.
Such debates should act as a filter, separating the chaff from the wheat, that will form the basis for further constructive and intelligent debate with the ultimate aim of “consensus”.
And the outcome (i.e.,the winning side of a debate) should be regarded as a contribution for the benefit of the industry and the market, and not a victory to satisfy the ill-conceived narrow interests or ego of an individual or organization (which includes industry bodies and associations).
A forum for opinion and debate on health tourism
But where should these differences of views and opinions be aired? And here we are talking about debates – not street arguments.
The obvious forums are health tourism-related events and publications, both print and web-based. But these need to be independent, and transparent. So what we need is a peer-reviewed and editorially-vetted publication for health tourism, which, amongst other things, will host such debates, and summarise their conclusions and outcomes. At hCc, we’re looking at delivering just that.
Dr Constantine Constantinides runs healthcare Cybernetics, a “think and do” tank that specializes in medical tourism and healthcare consultancy and planning. He lives on the island of Samos in Greece.