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Colina initiative to drive medical tourism

Insurance group Colina is helping to promote medical tourism in The Bahamas through a new initiative with the University of Miami. The initiative will pave the way for increased technology and information exchange. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011

Florida’s highest ranked medical school the International Medicine Institute of the University of Miami, has signed a knowledge and technology transfer agreement with Colina Insurance Ltd enabling Bahamian physicians to train in the United States and use cutting-edge technology to improve patient care.

“This is a landmark initiative by Colina,” said the group’s executive vice chairman Emanuel Alexiou. “We recognize knowledge transfer as one of the most important steps in the evolution of medicine and healthcare. We hope that this partnership will breathe new life into the local healthcare environment.

“Through funding from Colina, Bahamian healthcare providers and administrators will have cutting-edge research links directly into the University of Miami. We hope that by creating these opportunities for medical practitioners we will help our customers reap the rewards of improved health and longevity.”

Under the agreement, new technology will be made available in The Bahamas, such as Telehealth and CoreValve. Telehealth uses video conferencing to deliver long-distance consultations, referrals and educational materials. It is designed to particularly benefit patients in more isolated areas such as the Family Islands.

CoreValve is a new procedure that uses non invasive techniques to replace heart valves. Currently unavailable in the US, the CoreValve technology is expected to deliver a significant boost to Bahamian medical tourism.

Director of finance and operations at the International Medicine Institute, Dr Jose Quesada, explained that CoreValve procedures have been used in Colombia, to the benefit of the local community, and highlighted its potential for opening up opportunities within medical tourism in The Bahamas. “We are very excited to bring that technology here,” he said.

In addition to the new equipment, Bahamian medical professionals will be able to spend up to three months in Miami, training with Institute staff. “Since we are such close neighbours, we have a number of common patients,” said Dr Eduardo de Marchena, chairman of the University of Miami Medical Group. “We are always very impressed at the quality of the physicians here in The Bahamas, but medicine is constantly changing and, as a teaching institution, we are always pushing ahead and finding new ways to treat conditions.”

According to international analysts the Tourism Researching and Marketing (TRAM) group, the global medical tourism market comprised of over 19 million trips in 2005 with a total value of $20 billion.

US carrier has announced it will add another flight to its services to The Bahamas. It will now fly three times a day between Fort Lauderdale and Nassau.

The National Accounts Section of the Department of Statistics has announced the release of the 2010 preliminary estimates along with the historically revised estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) for the period 1997 to 2009.

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