Following financial services and tourism, the emerging field of destination tourism is becoming one of the most important economic sectors in the Cayman Islands.
And aside from the ripple down effects of the finances injected into the community, the health benefits for island residents and visitors are manifold.
Health City Cayman Islands, which opened in East End in 2014, is widely seen as leading the way, but several other facilities are also offering medical tourism services.
These include NovoClinic, Regenexx, and Cayman Fertility Centre.
Aster Cayman Medcity was announced in December 2020 as a new, world-class healthcare facility to be built in the Cayman Islands, at an estimated US$350,000, as a western hub for the Dubai-based Aster DM Healthcare. Medcity was to provide primarily medical tourism services, as well as healthcare for local Cayman residents. However, as Cayman Health went to press in July 2022, there was no update on the progress of the facility.
Health City is a tertiary hospital offering affordable healthcare, treating patients from Cayman as well as around the Caribbean and the Americas. The facility was founded by internationally renowned heart surgeon and humanitarian Dr. Devi Shetty and supported by the Narayana Health Group of Hospitals.
As chairman. Dr. Shetty overseas a network of 32 hospitals across India as well as Health City Cayman Islands, which share the mission of making affordable, high-quality healthcare accessible to all.
It is the largest hospital in the Caribbean to have earned the prestigious Gold Seal of Approval from Joint Commission International, the worldwide leader in accrediting the quality of healthcare.
As a destination for international patients seeking medical procedures and recovery care, Health City has on-site accommodation at Parrot Ridge apartments on its East End site, with 16 units reserved for overseas patients. Different types of apartments cater for solo travellers and families.
A variety of treatment is offered at the campus, with everything from life-saving heart surgery to neurology.
Health City is currently expanding to Camana Bay, where construction of a US$100 million superspecialty hospital is under way.
The new facility will feature a specialised cancer care centre with comprehensive and advanced oncology offerings, a neonatal intensive care unit, an emergency pavilion and critical care unit, and a robust multi-specialty programme which includes robotic surgery.
STEM CELL SPECIALISM
Cayman is also a leader in advanced orthopaedic stem cell treatment. Patients fly in to be treated at Regenexx Cayman, located on the Seven Mile Beach corridor.
Using a patient’s own stem cells or blood platelets, the injectionbased procedures are an alternative to orthopaedic surgery, and are used to treat various injuries and conditions. These include joint arthritis, tendon and ligament tears, cartilage damage and non-healing fractures.
“Regenexx Cayman is the exclusive provider of Regenexx-C, a cultured stem cell treatment which yields up to 100-1,000 times more stem cells than other procedures,” says Phillip Ebanks, company director. “Patients can also cryopreserve (freeze) their cultured cells for future treatments in Regenexx Cayman’s state-of-the art laboratory, the largest cleanroom lab in the Caribbean.”
The clinic has 11 visiting US board-certified physicians, and their patient care team assists with all aspects of treatment, from scheduling appointments and answering questions, to advising on accommodation and travel requirements.
NovoClinic, based at BritCay House in George Town, is also attracting medical tourists for its innovative spine treatments. The facility offers a concierge service to visitors travelling to the island for back care, accommodating patients at apartments on Seven Mile Beach.
The facility hosts CaymanSpine, a speciality clinic for motion surgery in the spine. Advanced, USbased, fellowship-trained spine surgeons are located in Cayman, offering some treatments available only on-island.
The team has a practice philosophy that spinal fusion should be the last resort for the majority of patients. Instead, they focus on noninvasive interventions, minimally invasive surgical decompressions, cervical disc replacement and other surgical solutions.
“Cayman is attractive not only to healthcare providers, but to patients as it’s strictly regulated, it’s beautiful and offers all the advantages of a first world country,” says Don Duff, advanced practice nurse for CaymanSpine at NovoClinic.
Fertility treatment is another area of expertise attracting overseas visitors to Cayman.
Based in East End, Cayman Fertility Clinic positions itself as the only full-service fertility centre in Cayman and the most successful in the Caribbean.
The medical tourism patients come primarily for IVF and donor eggs.
“Our specialty is IVF with pre-implantation genetic testing (genetic testing of embryos before pregnancy), which contributes to our extremely high success rates,” says Dr. Joseph Davis, medical director at the facility. “This is a major reason why patients from abroad seek us out.
“Another reason we are a preferred destination for medical tourism is our cost of care. IVF is typically twice as expensive in the US and more in rural areas of the US and Canada, compared to Cayman Fertility Centre.
“Thirdly, we strive to see patients and get them into treatment as soon as possible so they are not waiting months for care as can happen in the UK and other parts of the world.”