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Advice from Microsoft for the “Internet Century” Health Tourism Sector

Shared Paradigms

No doubt, technology companies (such as Google and Microsoft) are associated with “thinking and doing” paradigms which are encountered in Contemporary (a.k.a., Internet Century) Health Tourism. And I have pointed out such shared paradigms by quoting from at least two books (“How Google Works” and “Hit Refresh”). By the way, just as Health Tourism has its think and do tank (Health Tourism Policy and Strategy) so does Google (originally named the “think/do tank” – a.k.a. “Google Ideas” and subsequently renamed Jigsaw).

Transforming and Repurposing Health Tourism’s Culture

In a 2017 WIRED magazine piece (by Greg Williams) we read that when Satya Nadella (the author of Hit Refresh) became Microsoft’s CEO, he transformed its entire culture. Specifically, Nadella repurposed Microsoft – from a company providing things that people “need” to those which consumers “want”. The author of the piece comments that Satya is a thinker as much as a doer. It is obvious that transformations are catalyzed by thinkers and doers – or the wise heads (a.k.a., the vital few) which populate think and do tanks. Similarly, as in the case of companies, the culture of entire sectors can be transformed by one person – or a group of individuals. Health Tourism is a case in point. We are seeing wise industry players now shaping and offering services in a way which makes the consumer “want” them, rather than “need” them. Conventional Medical Tourism – which, for the most part, relied on those seeking medical care at a lower cost (need) – has had its day, and trying to re-boost it is as futile as flogging a dead horse.

Transforming Experience

More and more, Health Tourism is coming to be regarded as an attractive lifestyle choice – a chosen way of life – (“want”) – rather than an activity dictated by (financial / economic) circumstances (“need”). And this is how services, in the context of Health Tourism, should be experienced. As with the case of new technology, I strongly believe – and have (convincingly, I believe) demonstrated – that Health Tourism, as configured in terms of the 8 Segments and shaped by the internet century, is being integrated into our everyday lives in such a pleasing way that we have been barely noticing it. Isn’t this what “experience” should be all about?

“Hit Refresh” – and who will be doing it

…the Catalysts and Enablers – i.e., the Agents of Change

We need to stop hoping that the same players who brought us the Medical Tourism “boom” will now “hit refresh” and bring about the growth, expansion and prosperity of Contemporary Health Tourism (a.k.a. Internet Century Health Tourism). Expect to see fresh faces – with fresh insight, money and vision – who understand that Health Tourism should be a lifestyle choice – rather than an activity dictated by circumstances. So, who will be – or is – hitting the “refresh” button? Obviously the agents of change. On the one hand you have the Catalysts (the think and do tanks – with their wise heads and protégés) and on the other you have the Enablers (the decision-makers, the purse-string-holders and the enlightened regulators / legislators).

I refer to these as the Health Tourism Vital Few.

Stavros G. Mavridis

Wellbeing director Co Founder EFZIN