In order to understand a complex global healthcare market and compare countries in a meaningful and manageable way, we often turn to composite indicators or indices. There is a mix of public, private, national, and international institutions, all providing data toward a constantly evolving marketplace. Most notable are the World Competitiveness Index, Globalization Index, the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index, or the Nation Brand Index, just to mention a few.
An index is a quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-measure assessment, derived from a series of observed facts that can reveal the relative positions of countries for any specific topic. Here, we’ve chosen to analyze the state of medical tourism, but an index could be compiled on any range of topic.
There are at least four reasons to justify the construction and use of indexes. First, the summary statistic can indeed capture the multi-dimensionality of the phenomenon studied. Second, the index is meaningful and easier to interpret than a set of separate, loosely related indicators. Third, it enables benchmark studies and the analysis of progress over time. Fourth, it facilitates communication with other stakeholders or the general public.
These indices can be very useful, as they provide one, singular number for an otherwise complex series of data sets and context points. Simply put, it allows for a relatively objective contrast between two countries.
Writer: Mr. Krishna Pandey, Chairman, Nepal Medical Tourism Organization, www.nemto.org