The Coming Global Boom in Private Healthcare | Healthcare and Technology news |

To many Americans, whose multi-trillion dollar government has just executed a hostile takeover of the healthcare industry, the future of care looks like lawyer-laden socialized medicine in General Motors-style hospital factories.

But Americans are only 4% of the world’s population, and the rest of the world is moving in a very different direction.  They have much to teach us.

My job is to scan the world looking for commercial and social innovations that entrepreneurs can bring to scale.  I do this mainly on the ground, monitoring large networks like transportation, water, food, energy, education, health care, media….looking for small sparks that can transform these networks rapidly.

I have done this commercially for 30 years in more than 40 nations.

Right now some of these sparks are:

  • Genetic “bio-remediation” transforming human water and waste systems.
  • Geothermal and solar energy in millions of New World houses (beyond US and Europe)
  • Global electronic education that will make obsolete many schools in the Old World (US and Europe).
  • Mobile human body sensors that will challenge the 20th century “clinical trial” by giving scientists real-time biological information on literally millions of people….

….and innovation in neighborhood private healthcare throughout the once poorest regions of the World.

Big facts

2 billion people have emerged from poverty to middle class in the last 20+ years.  2 billion more are moving to middle class right now, much more rapidly.  7 billion humans own or have access to an online mobile device, and they are transforming the world.  See Alibaba, and the seminal opening of Chinese equity markets as recent visible outgrowths of a wired world.  Mobile computing has built the second largest capitalist economy inside a communist nation.

There are more than 3 billion newly-moneyed, newly-wired humans seeking the same kind of health care Americans and Europeans have enjoyed for decades

Many (most?) of them are seeking this health care by building private health care networks that may soon span the globe. They are increasingly bypassing the local public healthcare systems that many US and Europeans think are the salvation of the developing world.

There has always been a globally-traded private health care industry

World class hospitals have targeted newly wealthy patients in distant lands for decades.  In the middle 1970’s hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic, Mass General and others learned how to welcome patients with new oil-money bank accounts.  The wealthy in poor countries always traveled far for good care.

By the 1990’s some European hospitals created explicit “corporate” strategies to win global customers from specific US hospitals, just like Honda targeted GM and Ford.

About 10 years ago the American press began to notice ordinary uninsured Americans traveling to Bumrungrad Hospital in Thailand, clinics in Mexico and Chile, and other world-class global traders in patient care.  Most Americans thought that “foreign” medical care could not possibly be good.  Some unions went to court to prevent employers from contracting with foreign hospitals for employee surgery.

Most Americans did not notice that a plane flight to India, Latin America, or Europe was significantly shorter than waiting for a doctor’s appointment in the US…and that equivalent care with US-trained doctors in foreign hospitals could cost 60% to 90% less than in the US….within credit card range.

Just as Americans ignored global competition in cars, computers, mobile phones, and streaming internet music from Sweden (Spotify) – they missed 15 years of rapidly globalizing health care.