Medical tourism

post by : Morgagni Michael

Horowitz, M. D., Rosensweig, J. A., & Jones, C. A. (2007). Medical tourism: globalization of the healthcare marketplace. Medscape General Medicine9(4), 33.  

In the recent past medical tourism has emerged wherein citizens of highly developed countries travel to less developed areas of the world to receive a wide variety of medical services. A staggering number of patients travel to developing nations for healthcare. It has been estimated that the global medical tourism industry currently generates annual revenues up to $60 billion, with 20% annual growth. Many medical destinations boast modern facilities with advanced technology and appealing accommodations. Medical tourists are presently traveling to faraway countries for:

  • - Cosmetic surgery                                                                           - Dental procedures
  • - Orthopaedic surgery                                                                       - Gender reassignment procedures
  • - Cardiac surgery                                                                               - Ophthalmologic care
  • - Bariatric surgery                                                                              - Organ and cellular transplantation

Popular  medical destinations; Central and south Amercia,  India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Israel and Canada.

The global Healthcare Marketplace: There are two groups of tourist patients: The middle-income patients evading impoverishment by expensive, medically necessary operations and the other group seeking cosmetic surgery, dental reconstruction, fertility treatment, gender reassignment procedures, and other treatments not covered by health insuranceSome patients, particularly those undergoing plastic surgery, sex change procedures, and drug rehabilitation, choose to go to medical tourism destinations because they are more confident that their privacy and confidentiality will be protected. Finally, some patients have medical care abroad for the opportunity to travel to exotic locations and vacation in affordable luxurious surroundings.

The continuing evolution of medical tourism: The medical tourism industry is fuelled and driven by patients who are unsatisfied in terms of health system and want to find the same services outside their country that are affordable, timely or simply available. It is increasingly apparent that medical tourism is changing the healthcare in industrialized and developing countries around the world, and there is every reason to believe that this trend will continue to evolve.