Beauty by Doctors to tap into medical tourism market
Beauty by Doctors Medical Spa, the recently established beauty and wellness medical facility at Fairview Town Center in Montego Bay, St James, is aiming to make inroads into the growing medical tourism market with the introduction of non-invasive, non-surgical, body contouring and anti-aging technologies to the tourism capital.
With a view to cater to both medical tourists and the local population, Dr Germaine Spencer, founder of Beauty by Doctors and cosmetic gynaecologist, shared with Jamaica Observer that the goal was to create a facility run by medical practitioners to minimise complications and ensure patient safety.
“I saw this space being unregulated and when the space becomes unregulated you have a lot of non-medical people jumping in as aestheticians and jumping into that grey area of medicine which can lead to complications, short and medium [term], and the effects of scarring on patients,” Spencer explained. “So I wanted to create a facility that is regulated or controlled by medical practitioners who can lead that charge, pick up things early and limit complications and the effects of them.”
With a comprehensive range of leading technologies such as radio frequency micro-needling and FDA-approved machines that reverse skin aging and improve pigmentation and skin laxity, the operation has established itself as unique facility in Montego Bay.
To cater to the medical tourism market, Beauty by Doctors plans to have its local team of medical professionals joined by two contracted plastic surgeons — one from North America and one from the UK — to provide expertise and attract patients from these regions to Jamaica for various surgeries. The goal is to offer high-quality services, including breast surgery (augmentation and implants), liposuction, tummy tuck, rhinoplasty, and other plastic surgery procedures.
While most of the surgical procedures would take place at a hospital, the medical spa will be responsible for providing post-operative care to the patients, providing all the necessary care and support to ensure a smooth and successful recovery for patients who undergo cosmetic surgeries
In addition to international patients, the medical spa aims to cater to Jamaicans who travel abroad for surgeries.
“There are a lot of Jamaicans who go overseas for surgery — Dom Rep, Costa Rica, Mexico — and they come back,” Spencer revealed. “So we are offering post-operative, [everything needed] for a quick recovery with [less pain] and less complications.”
He believes medical tourism in Montego Bay is still at an early stage and has a lot of potential for growth. At present, most of the medical cases involving tourists in Montego Bay are related to urgent care or medical emergencies such as accidents, fractures, appendicitis, or food poisoning. These cases do not qualify as true medical tourism since they are not planned procedures. True medical tourism, as defined by Spencer, would occur when tourists fly to Montego Bay specifically for medical procedures.
Beauty by Doctors is already seeing some medical tourists such as patients who come for fibroid surgery because they are aware of the facility’s expertise in this area. These patients opt for the surgery in Montego Bay due to its cost-effectiveness compared to having the procedure in the US without insurance.
Spencer believes that medical tourism in Montego Bay can grow significantly as more people become aware of the specialised medical services and cost advantages offered in the region, especially for those without insurance in their home countries.
In the meantime, Physician Director of the Beauty by Doctors Medical Spa Dr Charmaine Thomas is reporting that the facility’s local clientèle is growing through a combination of word of mouth, promotions, Internet presence, and social media marketing.
“We offer things from facials to massages and IV nutrition therapy,” she said. “We offer a weight-loss programme targeting weight loss depending on the area and we also have a general weight loss.”
These weight-loss procedures may involve injections or machines for targeted weight loss and “sculpting”. There is also radio frequency micro-needling to tighten saggy skin and reduce wrinkles on the face and other parts of the body, while a machine called ‘Cervello’ offers laser hair removal suited to various skin types.
“I would say 90 per cent of our customers are from Montego Bay,” Thomas disclosed.
Spencer sees Beauty by Doctors’ planned role in medical tourism as an adjunct that provides support and assistance within the industry. While reiterating that the development of medical tourism in Montego Bay is at an early stage, he pointed out that the medical spa is just one part of the effort to attract medical tourists. The main focus, he believes, should be on attracting specialised medical professionals like orthopaedics to come and perform their cases in Jamaica.
Regarding organised efforts for medical tourism in Jamaica, the cosmetic gynaecologist opined that it currently happens haphazardly and that a more coordinated approach is needed from stakeholders in the medical industry and government.
“It takes money,” Spencer emphasised. “It has to be a consortium, or a government-led initiative, or private sector-based or Jampro-based. Eventually the locals will also benefit [from] the spin-offs.”