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Medical Tourism - Destination - Germany

General Informations

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Germany attracts 59,000 medical tourists from 163 countries annually thanks to a central location in Europe and being a member of the EU. Despite minimal cost savings and no promotion within the medical tourism industry, Germany is a popular medical tourism destination for patients from the Netherlands (11.4%), France (10%), Austria (8%), Poland (8%) and Belgium (5.7%). These medical travellers seek cardiology, oncology and orthopaedics treatment. It is hoped that by continuing to offer experimental treatments, such as stem cell therapy, medical tourism in Germany can increase in the coming years. In addition, high quality, shorter waiting times and a possibility to combine a treatment with a holiday are offered.

Germany
Localisation Central mainland Europe. Borders with Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and Poland
Capital Berlin
Population 82,641,000
Biggest cities (population) Berlin (3,416,255) Hamburg (1,770,629), Munich (1,311,573
Politics Federal Republic
Religion Christianity (64%), atheism (29%), Islam (5%), Buddhism (0.25%), Judaism (0.25%), other (1.5%)
Currency Euro (EUR)
GDP € 2,453,806 million, 6.04% of the world’s GDP
Official language(s) German
Climate maritime and continental. Average temperature in winter is 3°C and in summer is 22°C
Time zone GMT +1, summer time GMT +2
Happy Planet Index (HPI) 51

Cultural Aspects

General Culture

Germany has influences from both, Eastern and Western Europe due to its post World War II historical development. Nowadays, Germany has regained its positive reputation and is a democratic European country. Due to a large influx of Russian and Turkish emigrants, these languages are widely spread. However, English is not broadly spoken. Each of the 16 German states has its own cultural specialties, such as Bavarian cuisine offering white sausages and a wide variety of beers or the Cologne carnival in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Safety

Germany has a low level of violent crime and it ranks 16 in the GPI ranking. However, there are cases when extremist youth groups have attacked individuals for racial reasons.

Tourists Attractions and Sights

  • Berlin Wall: remains of the times of German separation after World War II
  • Neuschwanstein: the most famous of Germany’s castles in Bavaria
  • Cologne Cathedral: the biggest edifice of its kind in the country
  • Romantic Road: comprises 220 miles of natural views and ranges from the River Main in the north to the Alps, passing through numerous towns and villages
  • Black Forest: a picturesque mountain range in South Western Germany

Visa Requirements

Nationalities that do not need any visa arrangements for stays up to three months include citizens of EU, Schengen area, US, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan and New Zealand. All other nationalities need visas to enter the country. Visas for medical treatment can also be obtained by presenting official letters from both the hospital in Germany and the doctor in the home country as well as a proof of financial capacity.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Germany has a central position in Europe and is easily accessible. Its extensive motorway system (Autobahn) is the third largest in the world. Germany also has a well-developed railway network with its InterCityExpress (ICE) connecting major German cities as well as destinations in neighbouring countries. There are more than 20 international airports situated in the biggest cities, which feature well-developed public transport systems, including buses, trams and subways.

Accommodation

Germany offers a wide range of tourist accommodation suited for any budget. One can find any lodging facility starting from high-standard hotels representing renowned international chains, such as Hyatt Regency, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, Rezidor Group or Accor Hotels in bigger cities to privately- owned inns in the countryside. With regards to medical tourism, many hospitals provide guest houses or offer assistance in finding apartments.

Health Care System

WHO ranking 25
Physicians per 10,000 population 34.00 (2006)
Nurses per 10,000 population 80.00 (2005)
GDP spent on health care 10.4% (2006)
Education period of doctors 7 years
Education period of specialists additional up to 5 years

Health Care Providers

The health care providers are divided in three groups, being public, private non-profit and private for-profit. In total, there are over 2,000 health care organisations. In 2002, around 54% of hospital beds were in the public sector, about 38% were run by private, non-profit organisations and some 8% were private, for-profit institutions.

Insurance

It is compulsory to be insured in Germany. Around 88% of the population is covered by the state and 9% are privately insured due to a big supply of insurance companies and a high demand on specific treatment that is not covered by the regular insurance.

Reforms in Health Care

The German government announces reforms almost on a yearly basis in order to improve the health care system. Every two years, every hospital has to submit an online public report reflecting on the quality standards.

General Medical Tourism Information

In 2007, 24.9 million tourists visited Germany with 59,000 medical tourists from 163 countries. It is estimated that revenue generated by medical tourism accounts for € 177 million out of the € 64 billion revenue of all hospitals in Germany. Even though the country is well known for its health care quality, Germany does not concentrate on promoting itself as a medical tourism hub at a governmental level. However, some hospitals promote themselves individually and in the lead up to 2011, the German National Tourism Board is aiming to encourage health and fitness tourism.

Flows

Germany is neighbouring many countries and the medical tourism flows are mainly small ones, coming from neighbouring countries. The inbound flows are the Netherlands (11.4%), France (10%), Austria (8%), Poland (8%), Belgium (5.7%), Middle East (5%), Russia (4.6%), Switzerland (4.3%), Italy (4%), UK (3.9%) and US (3.1%)

Reasons

  • Quality: qualified staff and high technology are stimulants mainly for Arabs and Russians.
  • Availability: there are specific procedures, such as stem cell treatment, available.
  • No waiting times: shorter waiting times compared to other European countries.
  • Holiday destination: Germany is one of the most visited European vacation countries.

Specialisation

The main areas of medical specialisation in Germany include:

  • Cardiology (heart bypass)
  • Oncology
  • Orthopaedics (hip replacements)

Top Facilities

The top facilities have been selected using the following criteria’s, listed in order of importance: JCI Accreditation, ISQua accreditation, international orientation. In general national accreditation systems have not been taken into consideration, due to the fact that there are too many and judging them is out of the scope of this study. There are 10 JCI accredited health care providers in Germany. Internationally oriented facilities are:

  • DRK Kliniken, Berlin
  • Herzogin-Elisabeth Hospital, Braunschweig
  • Klinikum Chemnitz, Chemnitz
  • Städtisches Klinikum München, Munich
  • UKE Hamburg, Hamburg
  • Uniklinikum Freiburg, Freiburg
  • Helios (Cluster)
  • Heidelberg Uniklinik, Heidelberg
  • Tübinger Uniklinik, Tübingen
  • Uniklinik Dresden, Dresden

SWOT

Strengths Weaknesses
  • High Western quality of health care
  • A Schengen country and part of the EU
  • Availability of experimental treatments
  • Lower waiting times for medical procedures
  • Safe country as it ranks 16 on GPI
  • Central position in Europe
  • Developed infrastructure
  • English is not widely spoken by the general population
  • No promotion of medical tourism at a governmental level

Conclusion

Despite minimal cost savings and no promotion within the medical tourism industry, Germany attracts 59,000 medical tourists from 163 countries annually thanks to a central location in Europe and being a member of the EU. The most important flows are from the Netherlands (11.4%), France (10%), Austria (8%), Poland (8%) and Belgium (5.7%). It is hoped that by continuing to offer experimental treatment, such as stem cell therapy, medical tourism in Germany can increase in the coming years.

Top Facility Chart

Germany DRK Kliniken Herzogin-Elisabeth- Hospital Klinikum Chemnitz GmbH
Location and website Berlin www.drk-kliniken-berlin.de Braunschweig www.heh-bs.de Chemnitz www.klinikumchemnitz.de
Accreditations or certifications JCI, EFQM, Pain free hospital JCI JCI
Capacity of hospital beds 1,350 beds (5 hospitals) 225 beds (3 clinics) 1,790 beds
Possible for accompanying person to stay in room Yes, in the private rooms No, but assistance with accommodation Yes, in the private rooms
Medical tourists Mostly expatriates but small amounts of British and Dutch Not anymore, some cooperation with Norway until 5 years ago Russians and Arabs
Number of medical staff doctors/nurses >3,200 physicians, nurses and administration 220 physicians, nurses and administration 3,000 physicians, nurses and administration
Type of rooms available (prices) Single rooms, double rooms. Prices vary (up to € 150 per day) Single rooms, multi bedded rooms Single rooms, multi-bedded rooms
International patient department Yes, they organise all the arrangements No Yes
Adaptations to cultures and nations Yes, in food and religious habits No Yes, in food
Languages spoken by staff German and English German and English German, English, Russian and Arabic
Marketing of the facility/USP Word of mouth, internet, congresses and agents No international promotion, word of mouth is enough for the domestic target group International agents represent the hospital in Russia and Arabic countries, at the moment it is still based on personal acquaintances but it is in development
Specialisations Orthopaedics, urology, thorax surgery, gynaecology, cardiology, gastroenterology, neurology, ophthalmology, paediatrics and plastic surgery Orthopaedics, haematology, oncology, gastroenterology, plastic surgery, general surgery and thyroid and vein surgery Gynaecology and obstetrics, cardiology, digestive and metabolic diseases, blood diseases, stem cell transplantation, allergology, pulmonary diseases, sleep medicine and kidney diseases

Price Chart (in €uro)

Treatment Average Price DRK Kliniken Klinikum Chemnitz GmbH
Cardiac bypass 11,600 N/A N/A
Gastric bypass 13,027 7,500 N/A
Knee replacement 7,200 10,940 9,353
Hip replacement 10,500 10,130 N/A
Hip resurfacing 9,000 10,130 N/A
Botox treatment 300 N/A N/A
Breast augmentation 3,407 5,350 N/A
Facelift 3,861 10,500 N/A
Liposuction 2,000 N/A N/A
Dental implants 1,250 N/A N/A
Rhinoplasty 3,861 3,500 N/A
Lasik eye surgery 2,900 N/A N/A

Note: All prices are estimates, and may vary widely from source to source depending on services included in the estimate (i.e. doctor’s fees, hospitalisation, administration costs or the patient’s age and medical history). Due to non-disclosure strategies of the various locations, it was not possible to make a clear separation between those factors. All prices given for the specific facilities have been provided by the hospitals/clinics themselves via email or telephone contact. The prices are given in Euros (€).

N/A means either that treatment are not available in the specific hospital, that a price estimation cannot be found or that the medical facility did not disclose the information. For the average prices, printed literature has been used before researching sources on the internet.