The seed that ultimately grew into MedRepublic was planted over 20 years ago.
My father, Dr. Robert Page, had the idea to write a guidebook to help Canadians and Americans living and traveling in Mexico locate qualified, English-speaking doctors in-country. He asked my brother and me to help. At the time, I was living and working in Argentina and my brother had just finished his medical training at Harvard.
Somehow, I naively convinced myself that I would spend two months helping my father develop his idea. Two months turned into a year. A year turned into the last 15 years of my life. Those years have become the basis for MedRepublic.
Two months of helping my father turned into one year of driving around Mexico by myself doing research for this book. During this time, my brother and father met me along the way to interview doctors and inspect hospitals. Ultimately, we drafted an award-winning, 600-page guide to Mexican healthcare.
After successfully publishing our third guidebook, we began to notice an increasing number of patients that would call asking about surgery in Mexico. Initially, we opted to hold off as we were more focused on our book and didn’t feel we had developed the necessary protocols to responsibly offer this service. Little did we know, but the majority of companies offering medical tourism facilitation services were much less qualified than we were. In fact, many were travel agents that thought, “I sell flights and hotels, why not hip replacements?”
With 3 published guidebooks, interviews with nearly 1,000 physicians and a deep knowledge of travel health, we saw a tremendous opportunity staring us in the face. Writing guidebooks had certainly saved and improved lives, but this was an opportunity to do something even more meaningful.
Our First Patients
One of our first patients was a family friend and one of my father’s patients. The patient’s insurance had rejected his claim for total knee replacement and he was facing a $55,000 total cost. Unable to come up with the funds, he asked my father for advice. My father saw that the best option for him given his budget and our experience was to travel to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for surgery. We had met a doctor there years earlier that could perform the surgery, Dr. Max Greig.
Dr. Greig trained in both the US and Germany, spoke native English and at the time was the delegate to both the US and Canadian Consulates.
The total cost of his services was exactly $12,500 (unlike the US system, there were no hidden fees!) and included a FDA-approved prosthetic, the skills of an internationally trained surgeon and outstanding medical facilities. My father sat in on the surgery and reported that the experience was as good as any he’d seen in the US.
Around the same time, my brother had a Canadian friend who was in need of a hysterectomy. She was living in the US at the time, did not have insurance and traveling back to Canada to wait months for service was not an option.
We helped facilitate her surgery in Hermosillo, Mexico for under $5,000 at a Joint Commission-certified hospital. If the research for our guidebooks validated the availability of top-notch medical facilities and doctors, these two experiences confirmed that it was possible to find surgical services comparable to those found in the US. This is not to say that world-class health care is omnipresent in Mexico, but that it is available to those who know how to identify it and are willing to invest the time to do so.
Growing The Business
We understood the task at hand and were confident that our efforts would produce valuable results. We spent the next year flying around Mexico developing protocols and signing contracts with the best Mexican physicians we had met over the years. Initially, we focused our attention on helping our own personal patients from our family practice clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. Eventually, other doctors learned what we were doing and began directing uninsured or underinsured patients they were unable to help to our door.
We had always helped patients access quality healthcare options, and this was just another way for us to do that. We found that demand was increasing quickly. Soon enough, we were helping more than 10 patients per month connect with skilled medical doctors and dentists in both Costa Rica and Mexico. Eventually, we created a formalized new business, which we called MedToGo. The business grew consistently year over year and helped hundreds of patients in need.
From MedToGo to MedRepublic
The flow of patients was steady, but there was a constant reminder that our capacity was limited. We would turn away many patients in search of treatments that were less common, but crucial. Having to say no to people with real needs started to wear on me. It fed my hunger to expand our services to help more people. I, however, wasn’t confident that the concierge medical tourism model we employed at MedToGo could scale to achieve these results.
Each time I wanted to add a new surgeon from a different specialty, I would spend hours understanding the specifics of how each doctor worked, how to prepare patient with unique medical needs, building out an individual website for each doctor and providing educational materials – a very time-consuming process. I would spend hours coordinating via email and phone back and forth with both patients and doctors. I also needed to build patients’ trust.
No matter how much effort we put into finding the best surgeons and operating on hundreds of patients with tremendous results, new patients rarely felt completely comfortable with the idea of traveling abroad for surgery. 25% of my time was spent just trying to convince patients they weren’t going to have their organs removed or be kidnapped for ransom.
I was in need of a vehicle that would allow the doctor and his or her medical team to easily and simply communicate with patients and build the patient’s trust in the doctor. Out of this frustration, the idea for MedRepublic was born.
Today, we are focused on creating a brand that matches our ethos and will validate global healthcare as a solution to the underserved across the planet. We have created a platform with transparent pricing, reliable health metrics and innovative technology. We know that the road ahead will not be easy —but we believe we are well equipped to handle any challenges that come our way.
We are a company built with world-class doctors and hospitals and led by a stellar team of social entrepreneurs determined to serve the global community of underserved patients.
Together, we will make healthcare for everyone, everywhere, a reality.
Please join us in this journey.
Share this article with anyone you know who might be looking for affordable, quality healthcare options — one of our biggest struggles is spreading awareness of alternative healthcare options like MedRepublic.
MedRepublic is not for everyone, but for those that it is a fit for, it can make all the difference. We’ve seen firsthand the lives that have been saved, the smiles on the faces of patients’ families and the joy of patients able to live healthy and happy lives because of our work.
Being able to make that possible on a greater scale is what fuels us.
We’re excited for what the future holds.