University of Delaware
The University of Delaware contingent at the Hotels Bridging Healthcare conference, held earlier this summer in Switzerland

Exploring hospitality

Experts speak on hotels bridging health care concept


2:30 p.m., July 16, 2012--University of Delaware students got the inside scoop on the recent trend concept of hotels bridging health care after attending a global conference earlier this summer. 

Hotels Bridging Healthcare (H2H) brought together experts on hotel, wellness and medical tourism entrepreneurship at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz Wellbeing and Medical Health Center in Switzerland to discuss medical tourism today and the future concept of H2H.

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Organized by co-chairs Ali Poorani and Frederick DeMicco of the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management (HRIM) at UD, the conference explored the dynamics of H2H and how medical tourism will affect connections between hotels, resorts and medical facilities in the future. 

“Medical tourism is a way for medical facilities to differentiate themselves from their competitors,” said DeMicco. “Being able to stay and be pampered at the same place you are curing your ailment is the way many people with medical issues will want to go in the future.”

In addition to DeMicco and Poorani, other experts who presented at the conference included Kathleen Matt, dean, UD College of Health Sciences; Dieter Baumgartner, managing director, LucerneHealth; Timothy Dentry, CEO, Abu Dhabi Hospital (UAE) Johns Hopkins Medicine International; Michael Herzog, partner, KPMG Zurich; Max Koppel, M.D., clinical associate professor at Thomas Jefferson University; Peter P. Tschirky, CEO, Grand Resort Bad Ragaz; Lisa Clarke, division chair of Mayo Clinic; Beat Villiger, chief medical officer, Medical Health Center, Grand Resort Bad Ragaz; Thomas Zeltner, former director of the General Swiss Federal Office of Public Health and vice president of World Health Organization; Patrick Vogler, CFO, Grand Resort Bad Ragaz; and Andrej Reljic, executive manager of Swiss Health. 

During the conference, DeMicco and other experts evaluated different venues and stressed the importance of uniting healthcare with the hospitality industry, returning to the idea that guests need both comfort and support in order to have a positive health and wellness experience that satisfies great customer service.

Much of that guest service, said conference experts, comes from technology and the staff that each industry provides. 

For example, in an effort to incorporate the concept in the United States, facilities like Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore continue to recognize medical agencies and corporations overseas.

Students from the HRIM department who attended the conference shared lessons learned by writing reviews of many of the various conference sessions:

Medical tourism and hospitality: Sustainability of the “Hospitel” 

Article by Mackenzie Bowman and Mia Trasolini

Ali Poorani and Frederick DeMicco of UD’s Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management delivered the opening session of the Hotels Bridging Healthcare conference, held June 16 through June 19, 2012, at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz Wellbeing and Medical Health Center in Switzerland. The conference included panel presentations and discussions on the operational model of Bad Ragaz, the branding of cities and towns for medical tourism, financial investment issues, potential infrastructure and legal issues and the impact on doctor/patience communication.

Balancing the needs of medical tourists and other guests: Grand Resort Bad Ragaz model – The history, the present and future

Article by Lindsay Canell and Jen Turowski

Peter Tschirky, CEO, The Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, operates one of the leading well-being and medical health resorts in Europe. In his presentation, Tschirky stressed the importance of balance between medical tourism, wellness and five-star ambiance.

Operational model of Bad Ragaz: Success and best practices

Article by Paige Michael, Guthrie Lewis and Li Liu

Chief medical officer at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Beat Villiger, stressed the importance of making the institute a medical health center. Villiger discussed the benefits of incorporating this change stating “health is a huge market today, there are many advertisements that promise perfection to people with the use of a health pill.”

Strategic issues: Hotels bridging health care

Article by Sarah Riggert

Lisa Clarke, division chair of Mayo Clinic, discussed efforts of the clinic’s largest community in Rochester, Minn., to incorporate technology into health care.

Wellness perspectives: LucerneHealth model

Article by Sam Dominguez and Lauren Hauser

Managing director of LucerneHealth, Dieter Baumgartner, discussed Lucerne’s reputation as a top medical tourist destination. LucerneHealth, a group of six hotels and a tourism agency, caters to customers looking for advanced technology and better care combined with scenic views and superb service.

Government, entrepreneurs and financial professionals

Article by Michael Stone and Tong Xu

Michael Herzog, partner, KPMG Zurich, presented on Swiss health care. Herzog introduced an overview of the cantons structure of Switzerland and discussed the costs of Swiss healthcare.

Swiss Health model

Article by Meredith Ganzak and Danica Price

Andrej Relic, executive manager of Swiss Health, provided insight on the advantages of Swiss medical practices over competitors in the medical tourism and hospitality industry and spoke about the benefits of the Swiss Health Model.

Integrated Wellness: The University of Delaware model
Article by Stephen Jones and Morgan Lightcap

Kathleen Matt, dean, UD’s College of Health Sciences, proposed an innovative new business model, the Health Sciences Complex. Provisions to the community include nutrition, nursing, kinesiology, physical therapy, behavioral health and medical technology improvements. According to Matt, the complex provides hospitals a more efficient way to connect with clients and the community.

Article by Rachel Howard

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