Seattle hospital pursues Asian patients

Here's an attempt to reverse the growing outflow of medical tourists. Seattle-based Swedish Medical Center has begun creating relationships with Japanese and Chinese hospitals and doctors, hoping to draw more Asian patients needing the hospitals' specialized services.  They're hoping to attract patients who might otherwise have headed to hospitals in New York or leading institutions like the Mayo Clinic. Both Swedish and its regional competitors treat foreign patients, but observers say they're unaware of any hospital forging relationships with Asian hospitals and physicians on this scale.

Swedish is beginning its program by signing Dalian Medical University in China. It will train a Chinese epilepsy surgeon who wants to start an epilepsy center in the Dalian Province of China. Swedish is also working with execs from Japanese hospital Ken iku Kai, who are working with hospital leaders to pick up helpful management methods and tools from Swedish's management team. Swedish covered its expenses for both projects, but really will only be successful if such work helps to get the hospital referrals from such programs.

To learn more about Swedish's marketing efforts:
- read this Puget Sound Business Journal article

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