Vietnam: An Emerging Global Leader in Dental Tourism
Vietnam draws tourists from around the world to its amazing natural attractions including the beautiful beaches of Con Dao Islands, the Marble Mountains, and the Temple of Literature in Hanoi. Now, more and more people are traveling to Vietnam for something completely different – dental care. Enter Vietnam’s burgeoning dental tourism industry.
Vietnam is joining its Asian peers including Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea as one of the destinations of choice for medical travel. With a threefold increase in the number of foreign tourists into Vietnam between 2010 and 2018 (from 5 million to 15 million), the Vietnamese government seeks to leverage this growth to create a robust health travel business, with the main focus being dental care.
Vietnam revamped its dental care services to world-class standards in the last decade, attracting patients from Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. Today, more than 100,000 tourists from these countries visit Vietnam for cutting-edge dental procedures, contributing more than $150million to the country’s dental industry.
Tourist experts in the country project that with this trend, the number of medical tourists from these countries coming to Vietnam every year is expected to reach 250,000.
This rapid growth in dental care is largely attributed to the Vietnam Dental Tourism, a platform launched in 2018 to boost the patient experience for medical tourists. Cofounded by a group of dental specialists and tourism experts, Vietnam Dental Tourism connects international patients to a network of 26 dental clinics across all provinces, facilitating a seamless process from arrival to departure.
Until now, people who sought advanced dental clinics or dentists in Vietnam either relied on unconfirmed anecdotes or spurious claims on the internet. Vietnam Dental Tourism provides prospective patients with detailed information about every specialist and clinic in their network. With just a push of a button, patients can schedule an appointment with a dentist from wherever they are in the world.
The Vietnam Dental Tourism leverages three key drivers of health travel to attract these patients and develop a comparative advantage over the other Asian key players. These drivers include affordability, high quality, and seamless logistics.
For many patients, having to undergo a dental procedure at a much cheaper cost without compromising quality is one reason they choose Vietnam over other Asian choice destinations.
Vietnam prides itself as having one of the lowest costs of dental care in the world, with rates less than half of what’s offered in other Asian destinations and less than a quarter of what patients pay in developed countries.
For instance, a dental implant insertion that would cost $1500 in Thailand and $4,000 in the Unites States costs only $1,000 in Vietnam. Similarly, a dental crown procedure in Vietnam costs half the price in Malaysia and less than 15% of the cost in the United States. Likewise, a root canal surgery, which costs about $1,400 in the United States, can be done for as low as $280 in Vietnam.
What’s more, medical tourists interested in accessing dental care in Vietnam can rest assured of the quality of care and professionals in the country. Vietnam Dental Tourism requires all dental professionals to have training and qualifications from dental institutions in developed countries such as the United States and the UK, making them among the best experts in the field.
Furthermore, all dental clinics within the network are screened with quality indicators in regular assessments. Clinics that adhere to international standards of quality are issued the “Dentour Awards” for quality, which are displayed on their website pages.
The medical tourism agency also requires that partner clinics purchase and use standard, state-of-the-art equipment, benchmarking quality and safety of dental procedures against global best practices. The country is also home to cutting edge technologies such as the 3D scanners that expedite diagnostic and treatment procedures. This provides the capacity for more than 1,000 implant surgeries done in Vietnam every year.
“We have everything that’s available in the market in Switzerland. Our dentists are willing to spend and invest a lot in technology. But dentist must also be very skilled and experienced,” said Sollie Le, the project director for Vietnam Dental Tourism. “it’s common to find dental clinics here open seven days a week for 12 hours, whereas in the US or Australia, their operation hours are not as long.”
Vietnam Dental Tourism also places a high priority on patient data security. Patient health information, records, and even receipts are stored and encrypted in a highly-secure storage system on its website, making it accessible to patients and their medical providers. The platform gives each patient a unique digital code with which they can access their data, review their bills, and monitor treatment progress in a single digital location.
Furthermore, the agency creates a portal through which patient data and treatment plans can be shared with other clinics in any part of the world. Vietnam Dental Tourism keeps these data in downloadable formats, so patients can download them if they need to use them at other clinics outside Vietnam.
Vietnam Dental Tourism also offers international patients a global warranty that ensures selected clinics complete treatment plans as scheduled and all conflicts between patients and care providers are resolved. This warranty also covers post-surgery check-ups and pre-work activities in one’s home country.
In addition to top-notch dental care, Vietnam is remodelling other specialties to cater to international patients, especially in the fields of cardiology, oncology, and eye surgery. With world-class hospitals such as the Franco-Vietnamese Hospital (FV Hospital), Cao Thang International Eye Hospital, and Vinmec International Hospital, which has exceptional an outstanding reputation in oncology and organ transplantation, Vietnam hopes to expand its niche in medical travel beyond dental care in the coming years.
For now, the government continues to invest heavily in dental care, with Vietnam Dental Tourism hoping to expand its network to include more than 200 clinics by 2020. By leveraging the core drivers of health travel, especially affordability and first-rate dental care, Vietnam hopes to achieve its vision of being the dental tourism hub of the world.