HGA’s Michael Hess (right of center) was among the international healthcare experts and diplomats at the recent U.S.-Vietnam Health Infrastructure Development Meeting in Hanoi.
Healthcare is rapidly evolving in Vietnam, with a growing emphasis on public and private sectors. New hospitals and major upgrades to existing facilities are needed to accommodate the current and future technologies, which are in great demand by Vietnamese citizens in both urban and rural areas. Specialty services such as pediatrics, women’s care, cardiovascular, orthopedic, oncology and senior care are just some of the programs that are poised to grow in the next few years.
These changes were the focus of the recent U.S.-Vietnam Health Infrastructure Development Meeting, featuring an international panel of healthcare experts, including HGA Healthcare Principal Michael Hess.
Sponsored by the United States Department of State and Bộ Y tế Ministry of Health at the Opera Hilton Hotel in Hanoi January 17, 2017, the half-day meeting included Ted Osius, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam; Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, Vietnam Ministry of Health; and Stuart Schaag, Commercial Counselor, United States Embassy.
In addition, the agenda included an overview of the Ministry of Health’s Strategic Plan, outlining development priorities and short- and medium-term goals. This was followed by discussion of U.S. government public-private sector cooperation in Vietnam, planning and managing hospitals with public-private partnerships in both the north and south regions, and drawing comparisons to how neighboring countries’ hospitals are operating from a U.S. perspective.
The meeting assessed economic and demographic changes in Vietnam, with a growing middle- class, rapidly developing economy, increasing healthcare disparities between urban and rural areas, and aging healthcare facilities. As noted by panelists, many residents continue traveling to neighboring countries for healthcare services, essentially spending more than $2 billion annually outside Vietnam on their healthcare services. Medical tourism in Thailand and Singapore, in particular, has become popular destinations for many regional and international patients based on accessibility, cost, and services offered.
Vietnam hopes to capture that healthcare revenue by adding new hospitals and updating facilities, improving services across demographics, recruiting top-tier physicians, creating academic programs, and increasing a share of the international medical tourism market.
Hess’s insight at the meeting reflects HGA’s growing expertise in Southeast Asia, where the firm has several ongoing projects and has been building strategic regional partnerships to bring clients the U.S. healthcare experience they seek. The economically developing ASEAN-member countries are meeting the global healthcare challenges by building new clinics, hospitals, and medical tourism facilities. Growth in Vietnam, for instance, has been steady over the past decade, with nearly 30,000 clinics and 180 hospitals today, compared to 83 hospitals in 2008.
Many of the issues impacting the U.S. healthcare industry also are common in Southeast Asia--access, preventive care, and cost. Medical tourism presents particular opportunities as more healthcare organizations offer state-of-the-art services, internationally certified physicians, luxury settings and cost-value health packages for patients throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
“We bring the U.S. model of healthcare planning and design while integrating cultural sensitivity, as regional/local consultants deliver and implement the projects,” Hess said. “Both private and public partnerships and joint venture investments by private regional systems offer the greatest opportunities as Vietnam and other countries within the region continue to strengthen their healthcare infrastructure over the coming years.”