Indonesia’s chance to reverse outbound medical travel

The COVID-19 pandemic has given Indonesian hospitals a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve their quality of care.

Indonesian borders have been shut for a year, forcing Indonesians to seek medical treatment at home. However, a resumption of international travel is expected within weeks. Will the country use this opportunity to reduce its outbound medical travel flow?

According to global consultants Oliver Wyman, in pre-pandemic years as many as 1.2 million Indonesians travelled each year to neighbouring countries for health check-ups and other medical services, spending US$2 billion. Most went to Malaysia and Singapore.

Indonesian hospitals now have the chance to demonstrate what they can offer to patients and build greater trust in the quality and availability of local health facilities. If they can prove themselves, they can retain these patients and prevent them from seeking treatments abroad.

One speciality cancer clinic in Jakarta run by PT Siloam International Hospitals has already made this change – nearly all of its patients are now being treated in the country, having previously being required to travel to Singapore.