An Export Case Study
Healthcare: An Export Case Study -- Part One
Healthcare: An Export Case Study -- Part Three
arvard Medical International Inc. (HMI) is defined by Robert K. Crone, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, as the Harvard Medical School's "window to the world. It is the gateway through which inquiries and requests from other nations can be brought to the proper resource within the School, and the portal through which potential external opportunities for the School can be identified, evaluated and developed." Conventional and "transparent" exports are the two prongs of its export strategy.
"Transparent exports" are the delivery of services (and occasionally goods) within the United States to foreign purchasers -- individuals or corporate entities. These "exports" represent a substantial portion of the positive component of our balance of payments. Healthcare is a generator of "transparent exports" drawing significant numbers of foreign patients to prominent hospitals and medical centers in the United States. Several American medical centers are now pursuing this market imaginatively and aggressively.1 But this appears to many analysts to be a static or diminishing market that is being over-exploited.
The attraction of students as well as patients from other nations to the Harvard Medical School and to its 17 affiliated teaching hospitals and institutions is an inevitable and important dimension of HMI's strategy. However, since the School has no direct economic interest in any of these affiliated hospitals and institutions, its patient referrals can be unquestionably objective, thus enhancing its credibility and independence. HMI certainly fosters these kinds of "transparent exports" -- many of which do not accrue to its immediate economic gain -- but these "exports" may be perceived as almost a secondary aspect of HMI's strategy.
The primary thrust of HMI's strategy is marshaling the multiple resources of the Faculty of Medicine, its affiliated institutions and selected strategic partners to develop and manage superior-quality healthcare organizations and clinical activities throughout the world, and to share its knowledge in developing programs in medical education and biomedical research. HMI showcases its extraordinary professional and academic accomplishments and its trailblazing work with leading edge medical technology. These resources are drawn together in response to requests from governments, universities, transnational corporations, and healthcare institutions in both the public and private sectors.
HMI perceives its international services to be grouped into five broad categories:
- Healthcare organization development;
- Medical educational products and services;
- Biomedical research facility and program development;
- Health information technology; and
- Client-initiated patient referral.
The core of this strategy is arranging "partnerships" with indigenous healthcare providers that meet or are prepared to meet the School's high standards of healthcare. Working with an in-country partner, HMI designs its services in response to the client's specific needs and the prevailing market conditions. HMI is establishing a global network of indigenous Harvard Medical-associated centers of excellence for clinical care, medical education and research. The centers in this network are being linked to other facilities using advanced communications technology and telemedicine, including links to Harvard Medical-affiliated facilities in Boston. Indigenous institutions qualifying to become a part of this network are committed to adopt explicit quality development programs in medical education and the management and delivery of healthcare, thereby earning the appellation "HMI Associated Institution."This strategy is defined sharply by Andrew Jeon, MD, MBA, HMI's Director of Medical Programs, "HMI provides a laboratory for Harvard Medical School faculty and staff to work with innovative international partners to explore how to deliver high quality and cost effective healthcare in environments that cannot sustain the costly infrastructures typified by some US hospitals."
The continued examination of specific examples of how HMI has implemented this innovative export strategy will be the focus of our subsequent column.
1 See, Your Exports May Never Cross the Dock, The Business Forum Online ®.
Harvard Medical International, Inc.
One Renaissance Park
1135 Tremont Street
9th Floor, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02120
Telephone: (617) 535-6400 -- FAX: (617) 535-6410Elizabeth_Sylvester@hms.harvard.edu
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Thomas A. Faulhaber, Editor
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