An Interview with Global Health Union Chariman, Shahsuvar Hajizada.
Please briefly describe your company and its aim, as well as your role there.
I am the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Global Health Union (GHU), as well as the Director of Rhazes Global – International Medical Tourism and Consulting Company.
The GHU – Global Health Union is the global nonprofit association in the Caucasus region for medical tourism and travel. GHU is the worldwide exchange relationship in the Caucasus district for medical tourism industry. The association works with governments, hospitals, insurers and medical tourism providers in Azerbaijan and Georgia.
GHU aims to function at local, national and international level, to spread the message of healthy living in our community through its strategic alliances and help advance every facet of the medical industry, as wellas to bring the stake holders together to share best practices and case studies for the development of this sector.
RHAZES GLOBAL is International Medical Tourism and Consulting Company that connects patients with the best hospitals, clinics, and doctors. While patients benefit from world-class treatment and a seamless experience, hospitals and clinics are empowered to focus on their core competence of delivering quality healthcare. From finding the right clinic to providing on- site language and logistical support – we guide international patients through the entire process of receiving medical treatment abroad.
My role at both organizations is focused on strategy – to focus on the projects that we need as an organization. As the global leader in medical tourism we always have large opportunities and strategic partnerships and we have to really pick and choose which is best for our company and long term growth of the industry. Additionally, much of my time is spent working with the large buyers of medical tourism, employers, insurance companies, and governments helping them streamline their programs and increase efficiency.
Where do you see your next big move with your organizations?
For the rest of 2019 and 2020, we plan to leverage our relationships with all the partners we have built over the last 5 years to help implement and adopt medical tourism into their plans and programs. The biggest issue facing this industry is that the hospitals and other players are not bringing scalable and turnkey solutions to medical tourism buyers and this slows down the growth of the industry. So, we will start developing and taking solutions to the market that makes it easier for buyers to access the medical tourism marketplace.
How do you foresee the future of medical travel, medical tourism and international patients 5 years from now? 10 years from now?
If people don’t start adapting, evolving, and changing and keep trying to do it how they always have done, they will be left in the past. I think five years from now there will be more technology and integration making it easier for people to access data, information, and to travel for care. Additionally, in the coming years, a large portion of buyers around the world will have offered some form of medical tourism. I think ten years
from now most insurance companies will offer medical tourism, and it may become so standard we won’t call it medical tourism anymore.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received that you would pass along to others just entering the industry?
Medical Tourism and the people in it are great. But, this is not an easy industry. It is a long path to success and it takes time and money, and when one gets into it, you need to add in more time and money than you think you will need to achieve your goal. I would recommend talking to companies that have been in this field a long time to give you advice because some of the most important things you need to know are what not to do and what doesn’t work. A lot of people think that the medical tourism industry is quite easy and you can create a website and launch a business and the patients start coming, or you open your hospital doors and medical tourists start walking in.
It’s a little more complex than that. This is a global industry and you need to develop a great business plan and strategy before diving in. You also need to do a lot of research and get the facts. There are so many inaccurate facts, advice, and research in medical tourism that you can often find information that is completely made up. I have seen a lot of pitch decks or research reports on medical tourism that have no basis in fact; and people actually rely on it. Also, one has to be careful of consultants, as there are some in this industry who actually give improper guidance and advice because they don’t have accurate information. Work with consultants who can really give you great references. There are some great experts in this sphere that have worked for some of the big brand hospitals. Also, people or companies who enter the market need to know that it’s fine to make mistakes, so long one learns from them. And for any new players to this field, I wish you the best of luck.