The international company AiroMedical has launched an online service for finding and organizing treatment in different countries. A promising young service operates on the principle of an aggregator of offers. The search is carried out by the name of the disease or procedure. And can be narrowed down by parameters such as the clinic’s location, price range, doctor’s specialization, treatment type, and the speed of booking.
A unique project feature is the ratings of hospitals and doctors based on the insurance companies’ data collected by AiroMedical. It includes more than 100 parameters: from the healthcare quality and treatment results to the presence of Nobel laureates. Furthermore, since the same hospital can provide services in different directions and procedures, the presented clinics ranked according to the quality of the provision of precisely the service that the patient requests. In addition, statistical data on the number and success of specific procedures, complications, cooperation with research centers, participation in clinical trials, and patient reviews also considered.
The system connects more than 476 clinics in 16 countries and more than 600 services in various medical fields, including oncology, cardiac surgery, plastic surgery, orthopedics, etc. Only hospitals with a rating of 6.9 points or higher on a ten-point scale get into the issue.
Medical tourism has become a real boom in the 21st century. It is expected that by 2027 it will reach $54 201.88 million with an average annual growth rate of 11.23%. According to Patients Beyond Borders, millions worldwide apply to hospitals abroad annually, contributing to the global industry worth 24-40 billion dollars. Nevertheless, patients often find themselves in unpleasant situations due to contradictory information about medical institutions.
The emergence of the portal AiroMedical is due to the need to present information with an unbiased view, providing various options for choosing a potential patient. It is an entirely new concept of patient care. It is a skillful combination of medical knowledge with the connections necessary to find advanced treatment methods.
In addition, treatment approaches differ significantly in different countries. “In countries with advanced medicine, a huge amount of technology used, such as robotic rehabilitation, CyberKnife radiosurgery, etc. But in some countries, the patient is often told – let’s cut everything off just in case, and we’ll do a course of chemo and radiotherapy “to the heap.” And it is a real disaster.”
Patients often ask Anton to find out if there is an alternative to the treatment methods offered by doctors at home. “Recently, a patient from the US came to us with a diagnosis of metastatic prostate cancer. He has already gone through several therapy courses but to no avail. We found a hospital in Germany that treats metastatic prostate cancer with the radioactive isotope lutetium-177. After two procedures, the control PSMA PET CT scan showed a significant decrease in metastases, and in the bones, they almost completely disappeared. And there are a lot of such stories accumulated,” – says Anton.
How AiroMedical works
The patient can discuss his situation with the company’s doctors and get an assessment of the current situation and recommendations from them. If desired, he can send his medical reports. Then, specialists in selected hospitals will give conclusions. “At the exit,” a person receives an expert assessment of his situation and a proposed treatment plan from doctors from different countries and clinics. After that, the patient himself decides on further steps.
Nuances of working with hospitals
Relations with the clinics were built in different ways. Some hospitals found online while looking for ways to solve specific medical problems for patients. We met with representatives of other clinics at exhibitions. Finally, some of them were search purposefully on a geographical basis.
If the clinic refuses to work with this or that patient, then AiroMedical is looking for other options. For example, some hospitals only want to take patients when they are sure of a positive result. Sometimes patients only accepted if they have an insurance deposit several times higher than the cost of the treatment itself – so that the clinic has funds in case the patient enters intensive care, etc.
Wealthy patients usually choose between Germany and Israel. Suppose the task is to find a budget treatment option. In that case, they are sent to Poland, Czechia, Lithuania, or Korea. Despite the high level of medicine in the US, hospitals in this country are practically not in demand. Few people can afford them: treatment there will cost at least five times – sometimes ten times! – more expensive than in Israel and Germany.
At the start, Anton organized the company’s work at his own expense. Then private investors joined the project financing. To date, AiroMedical sends about 150 patients per month for treatment. This is a pretty high result for a young service, says Anton Volvak. But the founder of the platform sets himself much more ambitious goals.
“We plan to serve 1000+ patients per month. It is not a question of payback or profitability. The market allows us to have such a number of customers, and the question is to accumulate them in one channel. That is our task for the near future,” – says Anton.
The project organizers, drawing up a business model, counted on a more significant number of standard requests that can quickly and clearly “converted” into the provision of services. But, in reality, it turned out that most patients come to AiroMedical with non-standard cases. And the company’s specialists have to spend more effort finding the best treatment options.
Young doctors of various specialties were involved in creating the online platform. All of them are practitioners who are passionate about the topic of “international medicine.” Now there are 19 people on the staff, among them nine medical experts, and this is the company’s main asset.
The strategy of openness
The project’s founders consider introducing the principle of open information for patients as their strategic task. Previously, travel agencies had some “secret knowledge,” more precisely, information closed and inaccessible to customers. In this situation, the seller has more information than the buyer and can manipulate it somewhat.
When selecting hospitals, AiroMedical relies on open information that the patient can easily verify. Clinics recommended because they have the necessary specialization, comfort, and successful treatment for the patient. The patient is provided with the most detailed information about doctors: where they studied, what they do, and their qualifications. Then he chooses the hospital independently.
“We don’t have any “secret knowledge.” All our information is publicly available. We believe that companies operating under the “closed” model will have problems. These agencies, as a rule, represent one country, and some represent one hospital or a network of clinics. Patients have little choice in this case. And not everyone can find and compare information on the Internet. With our approach, patients can evaluate hospitals according to many criteria and make decisions independently based on the openness of information,” – says Anton Volvak.