Creating a consistent healthcare system across national borders
Provision of healthcare is often highly localised, yet the way we live our lives is increasingly international. How can we rethink global health insurance and care systems to support a more mobile, international citizen?
Many people live lives that are international – whether that’s communing with friends and colleagues in different time zones or travelling on holiday or for work – but the physical infrastructure we rely on to keep us healthy is often highly localised and ill-equipped for people who travel through it.
What defines ‘healthy’ is inherently specific to each nation, and access to drugs and other treatment often depends on the politics of the country you’re in. For example, ADHD is seen as a cognitive or environmental disorder in the UK – in stark contrast to the US where it is considered to be chemically treatable – meaning access to drug treatments like Ritalin can be hard to find.
People living as ex-pats often struggle to adapt to these new moral values and rely on informal networks of care or frequent trips back to their home country to get access to the treatment they need, meaning that life abroad can become difficult for older people and those with chronic illnesses.
I conducted an in-depth study of both the formal and informal healthcare ecosystem in Dubai – a country with a majority ex-pat population – and developed a strategy and roadmap for a system of international healthcare that would allow any citizen access to the care they need, wherever they are in the world.