Indonesia takes steps to reverse outbound medical travel

More than two million Indonesian residents travel overseas for cancer treatments, cardiac surgery, health screenings, and other types of medical care, losing IDR 100 trillion (US$6.5 billion) in foreign exchange every year. Against this challenging context, Indonesia has now taken the opportunity to catch up with the regional competition and build high quality healthcare infrastructure.

Through the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN), the central government is determined to innovate in healthcare and call up financial, technological, and human resources, at a level never seen before in this country.

The creation of the first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) dedicated to healthcare on a 40-hectare land in Sanur, Bali is seen as ambitious.   The new Bali International Hospital (BIH) is being constructed in Denpasar City within the SEZ.

The BIH development is a cooperation between PT Pertamina Bina Medika – Indonesia Healthcare Corporation (IHC), operator, and Mayo Clinic, consultant in building design, governance and culture, medical services, quality assurance, and academics. The objective of this project is to position quality, safety, and patient experience at the highest international standards, so Indonesians will not need to address their most critical illnesses by travelling overseas.

PT Pertamina Bina Medika – Indonesia Healthcare Corporation (IHC), hopes the construction works will be completed at the end of 2023 while the hospital is expected to be fully operational by early 2024- rather than the earlier reported late 2023.

BIH will host 250 beds including thirty-five intensive care units, eight operating rooms, and four catheterisation laboratories equipped with advanced diagnostic imaging devices.

In partnership with the Mayo Clinic, BIH aims to open five centres of excellence, including in cardiology, oncology, and neurology sectors of critical illnesses management. Gastroenterology and orthopaedics will be medical specialties fully integrated into this Class A+ Hospital.

With the recent Ministry of Health Regulation Number 1 of 2023 related to Hospital Management in Special Economic Zones, selected Indonesian physicians living abroad and who graduated from overseas medical institutions will be able to practice inside the Healthcare SEZ without any further training at local universities but with a mission to progressively transfer knowledge and technology. High-end imported medications used within the SEZ will also be simplified through the new Ministry of Health regulation.

BIH has said it is committed to becoming the leading medical tourism destination in Indonesia. It will be moderating a global think tank on medical tourism at the TIME 2023 summit organised by the World Tourism Network in Bali this September.