“A bird of a different feather in the colourful aviary of medical tourism”… But what kind of bird?

An expert described IMTJ as “a bird of a different feather” in the medical tourism industry, but what kind of bird?

That’s how a respected expert in medical tourism recently described the work that we do at International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ). I’m not going to name the individual but here’s what he/she said:

“Thanks for the responsible reporting you guys do at IMTJ. It is a bird of a different feather in the ‘colourful aviary’ of medical tourism.”

I repeat it here because I think it encapsulates what we are about, whether it’s the content that we publish on IMTJ or that we deliver at events such as the IMTJ Medical Travel Summit in April 2017 in Croatia or at Destination Health: The Medical Travel Summit USA, taking place in Washington DC April 30 – May 3 2017.

So, what kind of bird is IMTJ?

It got me thinking.

We’re not a parrot…

Well… I had the nickname “Polly” at school… but we’re certainly not a Parrot. “Parroting” (i.e. mindless repetition) is one of the problems that we face in the medical tourism world. You’ll encounter plenty of parrots around the sector, particularly those on their conference perches. Those who repeat the same myths, the same extravagant claims and the same mindless clichés. Here are a few classic phrases that will help you to identify a parrot when you’re out medical tourism “bird spotting”:

  • “The top medical tourism destinations around the world are (insert any countries you like, but usually India, Thailand, Turkey).”
  • “The medical tourism market is growing exponentially at an annual growth rate of (insert any big number) %.”
  • “High quality and low prices mean that (insert any developing country) has outstanding potential as a medical tourism destination.”
  • “It’s imperative for medical facilities to have international accreditation.”

We’re not an ostrich…

It is said that ostriches bury their heads in the sand to avoid danger. In fact, when ostriches face danger, they do what most people do.. they run… at an impressive 40mph. In fact, ostriches swallow sand and pebbles to help grind up food in their stomachs. Another myth destroyed!

At IMTJ, we certainly don’t stick our heads in the sand. But we do quite a bit of digging around to find the truth about what’s going on beneath the surface of the medical tourism world… and destroy a few myths.

We could be a magpie?

It is widely believed that magpies have a compulsive urge to steal sparkly things for their own nests. Well… we don’t steal other people’s stuff. Sadly, what we’ve found too often in the medical tourism sector is that other people steal our stuff (so, I assume it must be worth something… which is why we are asking people to pay a subscription to IMTJ).

Wise old owl?

We could be on to something with this one.

Wise? Well, only IMTJ readers and Intuition clients can say whether we’ve provided insight and understanding and enhanced their knowledge of the medical travel sector. And based on the feedback we get, I believe we’re getting it right.

Old?… I’ve been involved in the medical travel business for longer than I care to remember. I can recall the days before web and mobile technology dominated our lives. IMTJ was launched as a print publication back in 2007.

So… wise old owl it is!


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As Editor in Chief of International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) and a Healthcare Consultant for LaingBuisson, Keith Pollard is one of Europe’s leading experts on private healthcare, medical tourism and cross border healthcare, providing consultancy and research services, and attending and contributing to major conferences across the world on the subject. He has been involved in private healthcare, medical travel and cross border healthcare since the 1990s. His career has embraced the management of private hospitals in the UK, research and feasibility studies for healthcare ventures, the marketing and business development aspects of healthcare and medical travel and publishing, research and consultancy on cross border healthcare.