Medical Research Charities > News > Come for a new hip, stay for SeaWorld? San Diego bets on medical tourism, STAT News

Come for a new hip, stay for SeaWorld? San Diego bets on medical tourism, STAT News

SAN DIEGO — It’s got sun, sand, top-flight biomedical research, and highly rated hospitals. But can San Diego really become a hub for medical tourism?

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

City leaders sure hope so. They recently launched a marketing initiative — funded mostly by a local philanthropist — that aims to attract patients from across  the country and around the world. The pitch: Get your hip replaced or your cancer treated by top specialists — and then take your family to Legoland or SeaWorld.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio are also bidding to become hot destinations for patient care — though they can’t promise any sparkling beaches. But experts say it takes a lot more than a slick marketing campaign to create a true medical tourism hub.

“We have sun. We have beach. We have hotel. We have hospital. We have doctor. Throw them all in a bowl and call it medical tourism?” said Maria Todd, a business consultant who focuses on health tourism strategy. “No, it doesn’t work like that.”

“It’s a tough sell,” said Josef Woodman, who runs Patients Beyond Borders, a yearly publication that analyzes the medical tourism industry.

Click here to read the full story by Meghana Keshavan, STAT News.