Being the slimmest destination in Central America and officially called the Republic of Panama, this Latin-American nation is home to the most famous world canal, and one that represents a significant portion of its GDP while communicating the Pacific Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean and vice versa. It has a fully dollarized free market economy with a history of low inflation and based on the service industry, which accounts for 80% of its GDP. With a population of 4 Million people, Panama’s economy has been one of the fastest growing and best managed in Latina America, making it bet on a large expansion of its high revenue canal and boosting tourism numbers thanks to governmental economic incentives towards visitors and expats.
Similar to many Latin American destinations, both, a Public and Private sector form Panama’s healthcare system. Both, the Ministry of Health and the social security system fund the public healthcare sector. Typically, the private sector works to cover the flaws of the public one, and also takes care of international patients seeking medical procedures. The problem with the Public healthcare system is that it has a shortage of facilities in the destinationside, making the capital city the only one with enough beds. This causes a problem with tourism, as they tend to settle or visit the beaches outside of the capital city, giving an opportunity to private clinics that cater to the increasing ex-pat population. The main private facilities are located in Panama City, where there is more economic opportunity.
Panama has earned the title as the "Hong Kong" or "Dubai" of the Americas. This has mainly been due to its significantly lower cost of living and fully "Americanized" culture. Panama is slowly becoming one of the top medical tourism destinations. The reasons for this are: excellent healthcare services, US trained and certified medical staff and its attractive natural beauty.
Panama's long association with the United States has left a distinct American footprint in its culture, giving it more than a hundred years advantage over other countries in providing healthcare to American patients using US standards of quality and service. This can be seen in the similarities in facilities, medical procedures and practices, as well as the abundance of US trained and board certified doctors and medical staff.
There are currently two hospitals in Panama that are fully certified by the Joint Commissions International. However, all of the other top hospitals, most of which are privately owned, are fully certified by local medical accreditation bodies set by the Panamanian government as well as other non-government accreditation bodies.
In addition, most of the top hospitals have affiliations and are duly recognized by international medical organizations such as the Johns Hopkins International, Baptist Health International of Miami, Cleveland Clinic, Tulane Health Science Center, Miami Children's Hospital, University of Nebraska Medical Center, the Harvard Medical Faculty, the Kendall Medical Center and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center among others.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities in Panama offer a wide array of procedures and services for medical travelers, which include but are not limited to the following:
- Cosmetic/Plastic Surgery: Face, Breast, Body Contouring
- Dental Services (surgeries, teeth whitening, dental implants, etc)
- Orthopedic Surgery (hip and knee replacements, etc)
- Fertility Treatments
- Bariatric/Obesity Surgeries
- Cancer treatment and Oncology
- Eye / Ophthalmology (LASIK, Cataract Surgeries, Vitreo Retinal Surgery, etc)
- Stem Cell Therapy