Cardiovascular wellness is expected to lead the country’s healthcare tourism, with the National Heart Institute’s (IJN) new imaging centre as the main destination
Deputy Health Minister Dr. Lee Boon Chye said Malaysia has what it takes to be on the radar as a destination for cardiology, with a centre of excellence that could attract tourists and patients from overseas.
“With the acquisition of new Positron Emission Tomography (PET)-Computed Tomography (CT), as well as CT scanners, it has completed the equipment we require to cure heart diseases for international patients,” The Malaysian Reserve quoted him saying.
He said the machines will provide the institute with a big step toward curing heart diseases ailing both locals and foreigners.
“By utilising less invasive methods to carry out complex heart surgery, implementing comprehensive solutions, and helping patients prevent and manage life-threatening illnesses, the centre has set a high benchmark for local health providers as well,” he said.
Lee added that on a broader scale, the new technology is expected to allow IJN to provide affordable services to those in need and reduce the workload of public hospitals.
“The government is fully committed to continue investing in healthcare to ensure that essential medical services are accessible to Malaysians regardless of their social status or economic background.”
Previous reports showed that medical tourism is expected to reach RM2.8 billion in revenue by 2020, on the back of a 30% year-on-year (YoY) growth projection.
In 2017, the business posted a revenue of RM1.3 billion and over one million travellers in volume.
IJN has also reduced the cost of its CT scans due to the increase of its CT capacity.
CEO Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Azhari Yakub said IJN’s PET-CT imaging rates have been set at a maximum price of RM3,000 for oncology screening, versus the RM4,000 rate in private centres.
“This is made possible by PNB’s (Permodalan Nasional Bhd) contribution. We can pass on the savings of acquiring this new technology to our patients by reducing the costs involved.”
Both the machines and imaging centre renovation were sponsored by PNB.