Health tourism refers to people traveling abroad to obtain medical treatment.
In the past, health tourism usually referred to those who traveled from less-developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for treatment unavailable at home.
In recent years may equally refer to those from developed countries who travel to developing countries for lower-priced medical treatments.
What drives the popularity of health tourism?
Factors that have led to the increasing popularity of health tourism include:
- The high cost of health care
- Long wait times for certain procedures
- The ease and affordability of international travel
- Improvements in both technology and standards of care in many countries.
- The avoidance of waiting times is the leading factor for medical tourism from the UK, whereas, in the US, the main reason is cheaper prices abroad.
- Furthermore, death rates even in the developed countries differ extremely, i.e. UK versus seven other leading countries, including the US.
Advantages of health tourism
It is one of the predominant factors that has made medical tourism a lucrative option for patients from countries with expensive medical care. Some complex medical surgeries such as organ transplants and cardiac surgeries have extremely steep prices. Patients don’t have to break their accounts to furnish their medical expenses when they choose medical tourism.They are able to pay travel, medical treatment and accommodation expenses in emerging medical tourism destinations for a lesser price than how much the treatment alone would cost in home countries, while receiving quality medical care at many health tourism destinations.
Short waiting period
Medical tourism gives patients access to instant medical care with a short to zero waiting period. Medical tourism serves as a timely and effective solution to patients whose health condition requires immediate attention, and who aren’t able to receive such medical care in domestic hospitals.
There are over 600 JCI-accredited medical facilities worldwide. These hospitals give patients access to high standards of medical care which may otherwise not be available in their home countries.
Healthcare facilities that have tied up with medical tourism agencies offer post-op care for visiting medical tourists. Patients receive utmost attention and care at these facilities, helping them recover in a relaxed atmosphere.
Many facilities to choose from – medical travel opens you a door to almost every clinic and hospital in the world. This means that you are no longer stuck with your regional health care units. Feel free to decide if you want to be operated with the same plastic surgeon as a movie star or in the clinic where only modern and innovative methods are used. You can read testimonials, compare prices, choose a country or a region.
Health tourism or a medical vacation gives patients a chance to explore a new destination and a new culture. In fact, health tourism agencies offer well-rounded health vacation packages that let medical tourists receive first-class medical care while sightseeing tourist hotspots or relaxing on the beach in the destination.
Sometimes you just wish not to meet a nosy neighbor in the health centre -next day everyone will chatter about your health problems. We know it ‘s hard to hide a physical disability, but if you are planning a plastic surgery, it will be a great comfort for you to recover in the calm and peaceful clinic with the best care than to let your husband see you with swallowed and bruised face or in bandages. It is also much nicer to hear a statement from a work colleague “Hey, you look good! “ than “oh, was it painful to undergo a facelift?“
Disadvantages of health tourism
Legal paperwork and permits can be tedious and/or serve as a hindrance to patients in medical tourism destinations. Furthermore being unaware of the legalities in a foreign country can also undermine their medical care travel.
The cultural and language barrier puts medical tourists at a disadvantage. Medical tourists may find it tough to communicate with healthcare professionals and locals during their visit. The change can also make some health tourists apprehensive.
Inefficient medical treatment
There have been instances where a patient is promised of high-quality medical care services to receive inefficient medical treatment or has chosen a medical vacation earmarking a preplanned budget only to have hidden costs crop up later on. Any kind of misinformation in the treatment or cost can defeat the whole purpose of a medical vacation.
Source: Mahan Air Co