CANADA: Two new reports study Canadian outbound medical tourism

The outbound medical tourism industry has grown rapidly in recent years in Canada and two new reports throw some light on what is happening and why, but do little to solve the question asking how many Canadians go abroad for healthcare?  
An analysis of 12 phone interviews conducted with 10 Canadian medical agencies to understand Canadian patients' involvement in medical tourism provides a snapshot. Questions in the research for the feature in BMC Public Health focused on the information provided, how medical tourists make decisions and what agencies do for their money.
The ten agencies sent Canadians to 11 different countries. Estimates of the number of clients sent abroad annually varied due to demand factors. Most medical tourists are between 40 and 60, from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Potential customers were put off by fear of the unknown, and antagonism of most Canadian doctors to the concept of medical tourism. The report concludes that medical tourists are not similar to each other and have different reasons for going where they go; while those who consider it and fail to travel, all have different reasons too. The authors speculated that people with a historic family or ethnic link to a country considered as a medical tourism destination may not need an agency. Another conclusion was that the research provided no clues on how public healthcare could help, hinder or mesh with medical tourism.
According to a report from Deloitte Canada - ‘Medical Tourism in Canada – exploring a new frontier in healthcare’, 2% of the adult population travel between countries to receive treatment, and that figure is expected to grow each year. It suggests that 525,000 Canadians travel each year; a figure that is not supported by anecdotal evidence from hospitals and agencies - and previous Deloite estimates of travelling numbers have been much higher than reality.
Over the past five years, Canadian governments have reduced the volume of insured medical services purchased out-of-country, but the costs of these services have more than doubled. At the same time, anecdotal reports suggest that Canadians are privately purchasing cosmetic and elective services at an increasing rate, though little data is available, admits the report.
Many factors are influencing the growth and surrounding regulations of patients travelling for medical care:
•    Evolving medical tourism guidelines and international accreditation.
•    Expanding and increasing sophistication of foreign medical tourism operations.
•    Increasing provincial and local provider interest in supporting medical tourism through legislation and policy.
•    Increasing demand for outpatient surgery and a drive to reduce wait times.
•    Emerging consumer interest in medical tourism options.
•    Economic constraints and changing financial incentives.
Adding to the emerging state of medical tourism in Canada is growing policy and public attention to waiting lists for key services, increasing consumer willingness to travel for health care services, and renewed direct-to-consumer marketing by medical tourism companies and foreign destinations. This growth presents opportunities for increased medical tourism in Canada – both for Canadians seeking care abroad and for establishing Canada as a medical tourism destination – and sets the stage for renewed focus on this health care trend by Canadian governments, providers and consumers.
The Canadian Medical Association argues that there should be no need for a private medical-tourism industry and that policymakers should focus on improving Canada's health-care system, so that there will be no need for a Canadian to go across any border to receive health care. It also argues that timely access and availability of treatments at home would entice Canadians to receive treatment at home rather than abroad.

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Authors: Rory Johnston/Valorie Crooks/Krystyna AdamsJeremy Snyder and Paul Kingsbury
Credits/Source: BMC Public Health 2011

USA: Domestic medical tourism gaining momentum

Medical tourism to foreign countries is not appealing to everyone. Long flights bring the risk of DVT and American doctors are often hesitant to give follow up treatment to somebody who went overseas, for medical liability insurance reasons. As healthcare costs can vary wildly within a state or across the country, people can save 20% to 40% by flying from one state to another.

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Why a medical tourism business should engage in a Customer Service Audit

Medical tourism businesses make substantial investments to attract clients including web sites, brochures, conferences, advertising, direct marketing, and more.  With all that money spent to attract customers, you need to know answers to many questions such as, “Are we offering the services that our patients want?”  “Are we easy to do business with?” Equally important is, “Are customers being treated well so that they will buy our services, come back again, and refer other people?”  If the answer to these questions is “yes”, then you have valuable information that can be used as a benchmark for future performance.  If the answer is “no”, then you can identify and correct problems before negative patient experiences do serious harm to your business.

An American Express Global Business Customer Service Survey found that” 78% of customers have opted to cancel a transaction or did not complete and intended purchase because of a poor customer service experience.” (Source)  Poor customer service carries a large price tag for companies of every size.

What is the cost to your international patient business of even one lost client?  For a dentist or clinic, it may be a few hundred to several thousand dollars.  For a hospital, the average amount spent by an international patient may be thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.  In this competitive environment, your business needs every advantage to succeed.  You have invested a substantial amount to bring clients to your organization, now invest a little more to make sure you are converting leads into clients.  The relatively modest amount invested in a Customer Service Audit pays for itself simply by saving one client.

Original Post: International Medical Travel Journal, June 2011

Doctors Hospital Announces New Members to the Board of Trustees

Sarasota, Florida (June 23, 2011) - - Doctors Hospital is pleased to announce that Richard S. Duckworth, M.D. and Nicholas Gladding, Esq. will serve on the hospital’s Board of Trustees. 

Richard S. Duckworth, M.D. is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and has been practicing in Sarasota for 29 years.  He attended the University of Michigan Medical School where he received his M.D. cum laude in 1975.  Dr. Duckworth went on to complete his Internship and Residency at the University of Michigan in 1978.  In 1994, he became one of the founding members of Intercoastal Medical Group, which has grown to be a successful, 67-member multispecialty group.  Dr. Duckworth currently serves as the chairman of Intercostal’s Quality Improvement Committee and is a member of the American College of Physicians.

Nicholas Gladding, Esq. is an experienced environmental lawyer with the regional law firm of Adams and Reese, LLP.  In 2008, Mr. Gladding was appointed by Governor Charlie Crist to the Florida Energy and Climate Commission which has provided him an opportunity to help create new jobs, help the climate, and enhance National Security.  In July 2009, Governor Crist named Mr. Gladding a volunteer "Point of Light" for his work on energy issues.  He has served as a member of the Steering Committee of the Florida Energy Systems Consortium and as a member of the Policy Board of the Florida Solar Energy Center.

Mr. Gladding received his B.A. from Yale University in 1967, and his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1970. After law school, he served four years in the United States Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps, and for two years he was an instructor of military law and procedure at the United States Naval Justice School.  In the local community, Mr. Gladding serves as Chair and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and was a founding member, member of Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence (SCOPE).  He also chairs the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and serves on the advisory board of Mote Marine Laboratory.

“These new board members reflect the hospital’s commitment to excellence and we look forward to their expertise as we continue to deliver high-quality healthcare,” said Robert Meade, CEO.

The DEAL Design & Economic Acceleration Lab

This is a very exciting project for Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

Make 'Medical Tourism' Part Of System: Report

A billion-dollar industry that helps patients travel abroad for care will only increase in size over the coming years, raising the need for a national dialogue in Canada on how best to use "medical tourism," a new report argues.

The country's aging population, coupled with an increasing willingness to travel abroad for medical care, is driving the need for that conversation, the report says.

"A good point for dialogue... is to figure out what is the right balance to make sure we're taking advantage of what this new emerging opportunity is, but not jeopardizing our Canadian system," said Mark Fam, author of the report from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

"It does have the potential of increasing the strain on the Canadian system if we suddenly see many Canadians going abroad and coming back for the follow-up care here."

Medical tourism is defined as patients travelling between countries to receive treatment, be it a surgery, a cosmetic procedure or care for a chronic condition. Fam said about two per cent of Canadians each year go outside the country for care, but that number is expected to grow in the coming years.

A survey of 2,300 Canadians in 2009 and a follow-up this year, which will soon be released, showed that 60 per cent were willing to travel outside of the country for a range of medical treatments, Fam said. He said avoiding long wait times is a major motivation for people going abroad for medical care. Fam said just how many foreign patients are coming to Canada for care is not clear.

The global medical tourism industry is estimated to be worth $40 billion US, according to the report.

Several medical travel companies operate in Canada to connect patients with doctors and medical facilities abroad, much of which is covered by taxpayer dollars, the report says.

Original Post:  Medical Tourism Magazine, June 14, 2011

Sarasota: Come for the beaches, stay for the facelift?

Sarasota's newest tourism pitch: beaches, the arts, fine dining, hip implants.

For years, "medical tourism" conjured images of bargain facelifts in Thailand or Mexico. Now U.S. health providers — including some in Sarasota — have set their sights on luring affluent baby boomers by touting high-quality care and discounting for cash.

Sarasota-based Florida Medical Retreat recently went live with a website promising "Surgery in Paradise," promoting packaged surgery stays that include everything from post-op therapy to theater tickets.

"Miami — Medical Excellence with a Tropical Flair" is the message on, a collaboration of seven South Florida hospitals.

And "America's Health Center" is the brand that Visit Jacksonville claims for its city, touting the presence of a Mayo Clinic and the University of Florida's Proton Therapy Institute.

Renee-Marie Stephano, editor of Medical Tourism magazine, described Florida's push to attract patients as "small but growing."

U.S. travel restrictions after 9/11 choked the flow of international patients to this country, Stephano explained. U.S. hospitals, after seeing those patients diverted to places like Malaysia or Turkey, are "recognizing medical tourism as a valid industry they need to participate in," she said.

Snowbirds and tourists — especially well-heeled Canadians, whose national health plan dictates a wait of 15 months or more for a hip replacement — have quietly had "work done" in Sarasota for decades. Karin S. Billings, a dual citizen of Germany and the United States, sees an eye doctor every year in her hometown of Hamburg, but opted to have her cataract surgery done by David W. Shoemaker at Sarasota's Center for Sight.

"I wanted the most experienced doctor," said Billings. Her German doctor does a maximum of 10 cataract operations a week, she said, while Shoemaker performs 4,000 a year. And in Germany she was offered a choice between lenses that corrected for near or distance vision, not the combination lens she received at Center for Sight.

"And you come out of the operation room, you get a cookie, a coffee and a video of your own operation," Billings said.

She has already convinced one friend in Germany to come to Sarasota for the same treatment.

Selling Sarasota

Florida Med-Retreat was formed by the leaders of a Sarasota rehabilitation center. They have partnered with two hospitals and 10 surgeons, aiming to turn Sarasota's trickle of health tourists into a tidal wave of picky patients with cash.

"Health care is one of the gems in the Sarasota crown, and the quality of that health care is not fully appreciated," said Shoemaker, one of those surgeons. "Florida Med-Retreat will help expose this asset."

Debra Sandberg, director of the Inn at Sarasota Bay Club, a rehabilitation facility at the bayfront retirement center, took the medical tourism concept to Steven Roskamp, a partner in the company that owns Sarasota Bay Club. he two enlisted orthopedic surgeon Edward Stolarski and Scott B. Elsbree, medical director of the Inn, to decide which doctors would join their exclusive roster.

Stolarski's knee and hip practice draws young, active candidates for a minimally invasive procedure known as anterior supine intermuscular surgery. He said he and other surgeons who take out-of-town patients welcome a chance to have their care coordinated by Med-Retreat.

"Athletes, police and firemen seek me out," he said. "If they're from out of town, I keep them three days in the hospital, and then what? My problem has always been: What do I do with you after surgery?"

Roskamp said Sarasota's two major hospitals are essential to the business model. Doctors Hospital has already carved out a niche with its 44-room "concierge wing" for joint replacement patients. Luxury amenities include in-room refrigerators, movie rentals and gourmet coffee. And Sarasota Memorial Hospital's new nine-story tower, to open in December 2012, will devote its top floor to orthopedic care.

"They have to serve a client that is demanding," Roskamp said.

Finding a web MD

Sandberg said most patients used to rely on referrals from people they knew, but now they search the Internet.

"If you're going to 'go private,' as they call it in Sweden — which means you're going to travel and pay for your surgery — you start looking for the best," she said.

After 10 years of dizzy spells, Tammy Dilbert, a 34-year-old Cayman Islands resident, used the Internet to seek a cure, and found her way to the Ear Research Foundation at Sarasota's Silverstein Institute. Jack J. Wazen, a research fellow at the institute and a Florida Medical Retreat surgeon, is treating her for Meniere's disease, an inner-ear disorder.

"Everything went so smoothly," she said of her visit to Sarasota. "I think it's a really nice place."

Deedee Yoruk, international patient manager at in Istanbul, said Florida Medical Retreat's rates are attractive globally.

"As far as I know, they're one of the first ones to jump on this boat and offer fair prices for quality care," said Yoruk.

She also sees Sarasota as a viable destination for domestic travelers. Since only 37 percent of U.S. citizens have a passport — compared with 71 percent in the United Kingdom — few Americans actually travel abroad for surgery. An estimated 540,000 of them did so in 2010, down slightly from a pre-recession peak.

"I get a lot of people in the U.S. right now that are looking for affordable treatment," Yoruk said. "Maybe between 5 and 10 percent will travel, and the rest will stay in their home country."


Original Post: Sarasota Herald Tribune, June 20, 2011 By: Barbara Peters Smith

Baby Boomers ~ Unprecedented Global Issue

Technically speaking, a Baby Boomer is anyone born within the year span of 1946 to 1964. Generally speaking, they are our parents, our teachers, our CEOs and our politicians. Doctors, bus drivers, novelists or celebrities – there is not one demographic, occupation or personality type that does not include at least one, if not several dozen, Baby Boomer by definition.

“What makes the baby boomers so interesting is that there are 76 million of them,” Columbia University Dean of the School of Social Work Dr. Takamura said, “and the fact is, they all are different.”

According to her, being healthy means something entirely different to each and every individual within the Boomer generation and their healthcare needs will never be met as a whole. Each person is different, each segment of this generation adheres to different concepts and each social class has different needs. Consequently, products cannot be delivered in a one-size fits all for this eighteen year-span generation. “Those who are born in 1946 knew well the music of Mick Jagger, and those who were younger, really don’t consider Mick Jagger their musician.”

The aging process for Baby Boomers will be unlike any other generation before them, according to Dr. Takamura, largely due to rapid globalization, medical advancements, healthcare reformation and the unfortunate presence of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer. And in general, the top five factors affecting all generations where the aging process is concerned include chronic disease, prevention, education, mental health and physical activity.

“Over time we will see aging enriched by multicultural perspectives,” Dr. Takamura said. “As we see a more rapidly aging population, we will also see more cancer and more healthcare costs coming heavily out of pocket.” In the case of medical tourism, costs associated with this phenomenon will be mostly out-of-pocket. Not just for those who want surgical procedures for improvement, such as cosmetic surgeries, but also for those who are born with deformities, who are able to travel to countries that can assist them.

Truly understanding the implications of globalization as the force majeure’s impact on our world is a long path but health tourism, in terms of medical travel, may be a good option for Baby Boomers. While the 21st century will be primarily considered the century of the developing world, Dr. Takamura espoused a number of key concerns over global aging as a whole. More people are living longer, which is often a sign of high quality of care within a country, therefore being older in larger numbers over a longer period of time is another matter.

Approximately two billion persons will be 60 years of age or more by the year 2050. Retirement pensions are shrinking while the full retirement age and the healthcare costs are increasing. Today, governments from all over the world are looking at the Baby Boomer generation with pride, apprehension and perplexity. Pride as long life represents a form of national achievement, apprehension as to the implications for a nation, and perplexity as to how to solve this universal trend.

According to Dr. Takamura, we may tend to think of aging as one broad phenomenon. However, for example, one aspect of aging we do not often pay attention to is the gendered nature of old age and aging. “We ought to remember that women tend to out-survive men, and that about 55% of elderly people globally are women.” From the perspective of a work environment, it is not an advantage for women to look older in the work place, like it can be for men. This unfortunate dynamic which is part of an aging trend, that of living longer and working longer into the sunset years, though, is beginning to creep across gender lines and we are seeing a great number more of older men elect cosmetic surgery procedures as well.

“As we see transformative changes occurring globally, this demographic reality – the longevity revolution that has been emerging over the last several decades will have profound implications for the medical tourism industry,” Dr. Takamura said.

In terms of looking at ageing and potential medical tourism opportunities, according to Dr. Takamura, it is important to gather evidence based information as to what the elderly want. More and more people in a variety of industries will need to work ever more closely with scholars and researchers who are doing groundbreaking research in universities. In both research universities and teaching universities as well, there is value to be gained from examining evidence based information. Because, to thrive in any industry, as in the case of healthcare services, working hand in hand with partners to understand clients’ needs is essential to fully satisfy any target market; boomers or otherwise.

In terms of representing the needs of boomers and the aging population within the hospitality industry; cruise ships are currently doing a better job than airlines today and some hotel chains with a focused eye on their respective target markets are skyrocketing to the top within their industry in terms of quality of services. With respect to senior living communities, in the U.S. or abroad, the more home-like the environment and surroundings, the better this is in attracting and retaining this market segment.

“Those nations with medical tourism professionals who understand the distinctive interests, needs and capabilities of older travelers will be rewarded with their enthusiasm and loyalty,” Dr. Takamura said.

Original Post:  Medical Tourism Magazine Issue 18

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast

Dr. Sforzo of The Orthopaedic Center and partner with  Florida Medical Retreat has been elected to the Board of Trustees with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. A big thank you for all your hard work and efforts in preserving our beautiful land of the Gulf Coast!

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast works with landowners, businesses, and government to protect and preserve the beauty and natural integrity of the bays, beaches, and barrier islands that make the Gulf Coast special. The Foundation purchases natural areas, holds land preservation agreements, and educates for responsible stewardship. The Foundation also serves as the land acquisition agent for Sarasota County’s acclaimed environmentally sensitive lands program, their neighborhood parks program, and is a partner in efforts to preserve Florida’s natural heritage.

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast works to protect the character, natural integrity and biodiversity of Florida's Gulf Coast bays, beaches and barrier islands by:

Holding conservation easements and owning nature preserves
Educating for responsible land stewardship
Collaborating with individuals, organizations and communities

Sarasota selected for prestigious Kennedy Center arts education program

At a time when funding for the arts is on the wane, Sarasota, a community long heralded for its strength in that area, has been selected for a prestigious national program aimed at making its arts education and presence even stronger.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced Wednesday that Sarasota has been chosen as the sixth partner city in its “Any Given Child” initiative. The program matches Kennedy Center staff members with a community’s arts educators and organizations to create and implement a long-range plan for consistent and equitable arts education for children grades K-8.

“We look at the communities that have the greatest assets and the best potential,” said Darrell Ayers, the Kennedy Center’s VP of Education at a press conference announcing the selection at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. “We feel honored that this community decided to apply for this program.”

Ayers said the selection committee was impressed not only with the amount and quality of arts activity in Sarasota, but in the positive attitude of the school system and entire community toward the importance of arts and art education.

Sarasota Mayor Suzanne Atwell, a D.C. resident who lived near the Kennedy Center before moving here 20 years ago, joked that it was “wonderful they’ve followed me to Sarasota.”

“This raises the bar,” Atwell said. “The caché we have now through this connection with the Kennedy Center is extraordinary.”

Sarasota schools have been more successful than most in retaining art classes despite deep budget cuts, but participation in the initiative will make arts instruction a more integrated and uniform part of each child’s education, said Superintendent Lori White.

“I’m a big believer in the power of relationship and collaboration,” White said. “This is an example of how partnering can bring more resources to our community at a time when there are less to be had.”

The program also has the potential to bring economic stimulus to Sarasota. For example, in Sacramento, the first city selected two years ago, local, state and federal arts funding has increased from $1.6 million to $15 million since it began working with the Kennedy Center.

Ayers said funding for “Any Given Child” will not be affected by a bill currently pending in Congress that proposes eliminating federal arts education funding entirely, even though the center does get some money from the federal government.

“We’ll be here three to five years, no matter what happens with federal funding,” he said.

Sarasota beat out seven other applicant cities from Florida and hundreds from around the nation to join the program’s five previously selected partners – Sacramento, California; Springfield, Missouri; Portland, Oregon;, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The initiative currently has funding to support 10 cities; it is offered to the community free of charge.

“Sarasota has been percolating these great ideas for so long and this might be the one thing that really gets us on the map,” said Robert Warren, the Van Wezel’s director of education and community engagement and a former Kennedy Center staffer, who spearheaded Sarasota’s application and filled out its’ 150 pages.

A “Who’s Who” of major philanthropic organizations, corporations and government agencies – from AT&T to the U.S. Department of Education – have endorsed the initiative, Warren said.

“To be selected is like getting the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” Warren added.

The first phase of the program, which will begin here in October, involves an “audit” by Kennedy Center staffers, and local organizations and educators to assess existing resources and deficits and develop a core plan with mutually agreeable priorities. The model is designed to capitalize on the existing resources of the school district, local arts groups and the Washington D.C.-based center. This process takes approximately six to nine months.

During phase two, a Community Arts Leadship Team already assembled by Warren – which includes many of the movers and shakers in Sarasota’s arts, education and political spheres – determines how to increase arts opportunities for students and maximize community gain.

For example, in Sacramento, now in the implementation phase, the community has added artist residencies in select schools and provided consistent performing and arts experiences for all students in its two participating school districts.

During this period, artists and educators can also take advantage of a wealth of Kennedy Center resources, such as supplemental lessons with online interative instruction and videos.

Not only is inclusion in the program likely to bring Sarasota notoriety and potential funding, a successful collaboration here could set the standard for the rest of the nation, Warren said.

“We’re number six and it’s a very elite group,” he added. “If it works, it becomes a model.”

Physician Spotlight - Dr. Thomas Sweeney II, MD, PhD

Tom Sweeney's father is a dermatologist and one of eight siblings in a family that included an OB/GYN, a general surgeon, a pharmacist, a chemist, two nurses and a nun.

Clearly, the instinct for the healing runs in the Sweeney family as surely as Irish blood runs in their veins.

But if you were to assume that those familial influences are what led Tom Sweeney I to become one of southwest Florida's most innovative orthopedic surgeons, you would be surprised to learn that was not the case at all. In fact, Sweeney said, no one in his family ever pressured him to become a physician.

And that let-him-find-his-own-way approach in his upbringing may explain the curious  route Sweeney, 52, took to arrive at his calling as an endoscopic spine surgeon.

"The influence of medicine was always there in my family," Sweeney said. "But my dad wasn't terrible happy in medicine, so in some ways I think I may have (shied away) from it when I was young, " he said. Also, one of his three siblings, Judy, was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at age 2. Two years younger than he, Sweeney said he remembers traveling with her to orthopedists' offices and hospitals and detesting the pain she endured.

As he looks back on those memories now, "I think part of my personal interest in medicine has to do with the facts that she was afflicted with an orthopedic disease" he said.

Dr. Sweeney attended medical school in Charlotsville, VA. He then received his PhD in anatomy and cell biology - simultaneously. Dr. Sweeney moved to Sarasota in 1997 and started his private practice. That was when he realized his talents went beyond surgery. "When I was fixing the problems in someone's spine, I often would do it by putting in screws, rods or plates to stabilize the spine. I become frustrated with the limitations of the spinal implants. I co-developed one. a cervical plates, with a friend and engineer, David Hawks. We did it well and started our own company, Alpine Spine, in 2005.

If you would like to learn more about Dr.Thomas  Sweeney II , please contact

Original Post:  Manatee-Sarasota Medical News; July 2010


Physician Spotlight - Dr. Storlaski

Edward Stolarski, MD is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon with advanced training in minimally invasive hip and knee replacements and complex revisions. Dr. Stolarski's focus on minimally invasive technologies has led him to become an industry leader and developer of new approaches which help patients quickly get back to an active lifestyle.

Dr. Storlarski completed his ACGME accredited Adult Reconstruction Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. He then practiced at the Cleveland Clinic where he played a large role in the development of their joint program. Dr. Stolarski has published various articles and textbook chapters in orthopedic literature and serves as a national and international surgeon educator on the anterior total hip and revision surgery. In 2007, Dr. Stolarski was named the Physician of the Year at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota. Additionally, in 2010, Dr. Stolarski was appointed to a two-year term as a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Adult Reconstruction- Hip Program Subcomittee.

Dr. Stolarski loves spending time with his two sons playing hocky, fishing and boating. He has a great passion for his work, enjoys the complexity of problematic joint replacements, and knows the patients he helps go on to enjoy full, active lives.


Original Post:

Healthy Living in Sarasota. Doctors Hospital of Sarasota


What do our customers expect from us?

Customers expect us to be available when they need us. to provide them with a clear overview of their financial situation, to respond to their queries in a faster and efficient way, to be open and transparent about our products and services, and to provide them with objectives and professional advice.

Products and services should be delivered in the ways our customers want them delivered: with exemplary service and maximum convenience.

Customers not only expect us to offer attractive prices, but also to ensure that the right products and services are provided to the right customers for the right returns and/or the right protection.

Original Post:

Jam Hommen, from the foreword in Reinventing Financial Services published by Prentice Hall, 2010


Doctors restore sight through cataract surgeries

The Center for Sight performed 30 free cataract surgeries May 18 for people without insurance or no means to pay through Mission Cataract USA, a nationwide project involving hundreds of eye surgeons through the U.S. Center for Sight donated more than $120,000 in services for the one-day event, and lenses were donated by Bausch and Lomb.

Original Post: Sarasota Observer Thursday June 9, 2011



Healthy Food Choices on the Move - Part 3

Check out the Local Flavor

Sometimes when we travel we are offered a cornucopia of tastes and flavors never available to us anywhere else.  For example, I had never tasted a Mexican spice, “chile pequin” until la trip to Riveria Maya Mexico.  It was served with an assortment of fresh fruits & vegetables.  When dipped in with some lime, it was a taste explosion.  It certainly made me eat a whole lot more fruits and vegetables and was a healthy alternative to some other choices like chips and guacamole or fried plantains.

The Fast Food Dilemma

We all know it, we have all done it.  While traveling through parts unknown with both sides of the street littered with fast food joints and everything artery clogging for under $2 US, the best suggestion I can give is to give in.  I said it I know.  But, and this is a BIG BUT, make healthier choices when you are there.  When you can, opt for grilled vs. fried, salads vs. french fries, bottled water vs. soda and skip the perks like extra cheese or cheese at all, bacon & sauce.

The truth to healthy travel is to maintain your lifestyle ideals while on the go.  If being well is important to you, then making the preparations while you travel that you already make in your everyday life at home life shouldn’t be too bad.  Be well & safe travel.

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Healthy Food Choices on the Move - Part 2

Cook Much?

When I am on vacation, I hate to cook.  I’m honest with myself.  However, for some other reason entirely, when traveling for business, I do sometimes choose a hotel or motel that has a kitchen.  It allows you to prepare meals on your schedule that fits your healthy eating needs.  Sometimes it actually allows me to cook things I would never have time to at home.  The downside? Knowing ahead of time where to go shopping.  I learned fast.  No point to a kitchen if the nearest grocery store is a 30-minute drive unless you are there for an extended trip.

Pack the Essentials

Only you know your needs.  For me, planning ahead for my well lifestyle means prepackaged protein shakes or bars, fruit bars and vitamin C packets.  OK, I know it’s not five star cuisines, but it does carry me through when there are limited options.  Some other things that travel well are nuts of all kinds, dried fruit, granola bars and depending on whether driving or flying…hard boiled eggs, lemons, limes and seltzer…in a small travel cooler of course.

Original Post:

SNN6: Sarasota Medical Tourism

Healthy Food Choices on the Move - Part 1


Either as a professional or a person who loves to travel, we all remember to research the place we are planning to stay.  We also remember to pack the essentials—clean clothes, toothbrush, cell phone and charger, of course—but what a lot of us forget is to research the food options to allow us to make the best choices available.  Now, of course I am not saying we should choose a destination solely based on its proximity to a smoothie café, but knowing what’s available, what’s close and what’s on the menu can equal what’s healthy while on the trip.

In order to make the best food choices while traveling, there are five suggestions to live—and travel by.

The Know Before You Go

When booking a reservation, always look at the menus of the hotel, bed & breakfast, inn, or in a pinch, a distant relative’s house.  Look for light menus, healthy meal choices and a variety of fresh vegetable and fish choices.  It may make the difference between staying somewhere where a late night menu might mean a cheeseburger and fries or a fresh vegetable and cheese plate.


Original Post:

Magazine names Sarasota, Bradenton among top cities for art

In its latest issue, AmericanStyle magazine ranks Sarasota fifth and Bradenton as number 10 on its list of the Top 25 Small Cities for Art.

Click to enlarge
AmericanStyle magazine puts Bradenton and Sarasota on its list of best small cities for art. Buy photo
AmericanStyle magazine
Asheville, N.C., again got the top honor.

With the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the Ringling Museum of Art, the Sarasota Opera and other venues, Sarasota also claims many cultural amenities that attract residents and tourists.

International Firsts-Groundbreaking Medical Discoveries

Are you afraid to go to the doctor? If you’re scared today, imagine seeing a physician 300 years ago. Now the drill guns and needles don’t seem as frightening, right? The progression of technology and medical discoveries is astounding. When we see a stethoscope or have an eye exam, we tend to forget they took years to develop, as did everything else in the health field. So where were these scientific breakthroughs made?

Doctors, physicists, scientists and engineers across the globe have brought fame to their countries for their contributions to the medical field, whether discovering the vaccine for a disease, creating lifesaving equipment or performing a first-of-its-kind surgery. Let’s explore the achievements in various regions of the world.

The 1930s saw a breakthrough in eye surgery. Dr. Svyatoslav Fyodorov successfully applied the idea of refractive surgery and perfected radial keratotomy, a procedure which corrects nearsightedness. The Russian doctor later developed the surgery for myopia. In 1989, Dr. Ioannis Pallikaris performed the first LASIK surgery in Greece.

The land “down under” is most commonly known for kangaroos, the outback and the Great Barrier Reef. But this home of beach-loving beauties and koala bears is also the site of numerous medical discoveries and inventions. Australia made the history books in 1926 when Dr. Mark Lidwell created the first electronic pacemaker, which was then used to revive a stillborn infant at the Crown Street Women’s Hospital in Sydney.

Australian nurse Elizabeth Kenny stirred controversy in the 1930s after using a radical method to treat children with polio. This method later became internationally acclaimed and is now known as physiotherapy. Later, in 1948, Melbourne psychiatrist John Cade discovered the value of using lithium carbonate (usually just called lithium) to treat bipolar disorder and similar conditions.

The cochlear implant was also developed in Australia. Led by Professor Graeme Clark, a team from the University of Melbourne invented the device, and the first person received the implant in 1978 at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. The “bionic ear” reestablishes a sense of sound to the profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing.

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