Tourism has lately become one of the fastest growing industries worldwide and with medical tourism leading it from the front. Medical tourism has grown wide and far in the four corners or the earth.
The number of individuals that travels another country to receive treatment has reached billions and continues to increase each year. With the fast and sudden growth of medical tourism and its benefits, it also provides several employment opportunities and healthcare development.
What is Medical Tourism?
The term “Medical Tourism” means to travel to another country to receive medical care. In the last few years, this refers to those people from underdeveloped countries that traveled to countries with major medical facilities for treatments that are not available at their country.
However, in the most recent years, it is the opposite where people from developed countries travel to developing countries for a much affordable treatment. In simpler terms, medical tourism is just going abroad for medical care.
Medical Tourism often includes surgeries like cosmetic or heart surgery or other similar treatments. However, people know also travel for fertility and dental treatment. Also, people with certain rare conditions, travel to other countries where they will have a higher chance to be treated or cured.
In general, almost all the types of healthcare are available for medical tourism. That includes convalescent care, alternative medicine, psychiatry, and even burial services.
Brief History of Medical Tourism
A branch of health tourism, medical tourism, has a long-standing history that goes back for thousands of years. Ancient records reveal that a thousand years ago in Greece, patients travel and came to Asklepios, the healing God in Epidauria. Also, in other countries, many people use to travel back and forth to therapeutic spas and gather waters from holy shrines. In more recent times, during the 18th century, health spas became a feature for medical tourism.
Medical Tourism and Its Benefits
Medical tourism seems a bit off when you can have the treatment you want in your own country. However, medical tourism also served as a gateway for many people and patients to receive quality and affordable medical care and provides different opportunities to both the patient and the country they visit.
Medical tourism and its benefits to patients
Cost-effectiveness and Affordability
Developed countries like the United Kingdom and the United States can have a costly medical treatment and procedures when compared to other Medical Tourism spots like India and Malaysia. For example, a patient going to India can save up to 30 to 70percent for medical treatments, including his or her accommodation and cost of tickets.
Despite this, many people are still reluctant to choose medical tourism right away since the low prices for surgeries and medical procedures might look like a scam or a fraud. However, the reason behind this low-cost medical procedure is that costs of labor in these medical tourism destinations are quite low.
In addition, even if the prices are quite low, you do not need to worry because healthcare practitioners that take part in this medical tourism are well trained and knowledgeable on the latest medical technology, in order not to humiliate their country.
Also, there are some medical insurance policies that do not cover the full cost of the medical treatment. This will force the patient to pay a fraction of the cost and sometimes this fraction is unaffordable and so many people turn to medical tourism as an option.
One of the best benefits of medical tourism is that a patient can have easier and faster access to health care services. Numerous developed countries do not have quick access to several medical procedures and keep long waiting lists. For instance, there are over 50% of people that say it took them 4 weeks or more to see a doctor or specialist.
Medical tourism usually offers a chance to people that come from other countries to be put on the priority list. This what mainly attracts many patients to medical tourism destinations since, in the matter of health, waiting is never an option.
While the main aim of medical tourism is to get medical care and treatment and quality healthcare, it also gives people the chance to explore and visit new places. While medical tourists seek to improve their health, they also have the opportunity to relax and see places they have never been before and in return earn memories they will never forget.
Anonymity or Privacy
Many individuals undergo different surgeries and medical treatment that sometimes caught the prying eyes and attention of others. Whether it is breast enlargement or face surgeries, some people do not want their friends and family lurking behind their back asking questions and do not even want to share as to why they did it.
Medical Tourism Destinations like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and India are proud to have top surgeons and doctors who are certified and trained in highly developed countries like the United Kingdom and the United States.
Many medical centers and institutes in these countries also have accreditation from popular international organizations like Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare or JCAHO and Joint Commission International or JCI. In addition, some of these medical institutes and centers are a part of the National Institutes of Health or NIH. It is a federal agency that provides financial support and leadership to researchers in the field of health and medicine. Therefore, you do not need to worry about their healthcare services and medical procedures.
Availability of Medical Experts and Advanced Medical Equipments
In some countries, it is hard to meet medical experts due to the long lines of patients while other countries do not have the necessary equipment to perform certain medical treatments and surgeries. For such reason, many people turn to travel to a different country to receive the needed medical treatment and access the necessary medical equipment.
Medical tourism and its benefits to the country
Provides Economic Boost
Medical tourism draws high-end tourist from developed countries to developing nations and in turn, gives the country an economic boost not only to the major cities but also to smaller regions that are rich in traditional healing methods when discovered.
Helps Increase Local Employment
With the fast growth of medical tourism, it helps provides business opportunities and employment to local people. It helps in generating direct employment that includes jobs like hotel, taxi services, and restaurants and indirect employment through the delivery of different local goods and other services that is required by the medical tourism industry.
Development of the Country
Most governments in the world do not think twice when investing for the development of local infrastructure to lure in and attract more medical tourists that come from more developed countries. They are willing to produce proper water and sewage systems, public transport system, and better roads to further accommodate the foreign travelers. With better infrastructure, it will result in more effective tourism and improves the standards of the local residents’ life.
Improve Tourism Activity
When a country provides not only the best medical treatment but also accommodates its foreign tourist well, it will encourage them to return, visit again, or permanently become a local resident. Better yet, they could tell about their experience in that certain country and encourages others to visit that particular country.
Top Medical Tourism Destinations in the World
India becomes a popular medical tourism destination because of its cheap and low price but well-performed and quality operations. For spine treatment and heart bypass operation, India is a good choice to travel. India also offers to solve orthopedic issues, oncology, fertility problems, and complicated surgeries like organ transplantation. In addition, entering India is a lot easier since it does not require a visa from locals in different countries and almost all people from India are fluent in English.
This country is most popular for medical tourism when it comes to well-equipped hospitals. Moreover, a great number of doctors and specialist from Turkey are educated in America and Europe. For people looking for eye treatment, Turkey is the best country to travel to. Aside from eye care, Turkey also provides cancer treatment, orthopedic and heart care.
Malaysia is recently renowned for its highly developed healthcare and quality medical facilities. There are hospitals in Malaysia that feature incredible treatment for burn victims and in-vitro fertilization. In addition, they also offer oncology treatment, blood work, and general surgeries. Malaysia is acknowledged by medical tourist from Australia, United Kingdom, and Asia because of their advanced medical equipment that comes with a reasonable price.
Singapore’ medicine is named as one of the best in Asia by the World Health Organization. It is the country for general treatment like oncology and cardiology and cancer treatments. The medical procedures here are quite efficient and less expensive.
Famous for its widespread and cheap plastic surgery, Brazil has a great number of impressive cosmetic surgeons that allows any kind of procedure. Although English is not the main language here, there is no need to worry about communication barrier since most of their clinics involves a translator.
Medical Tourism and its benefits are too many to count. One example would be for people who would love to save valuable fortune by not spending too much on quality healthcare. Not only does medical tourism helps you receive the best treatment in a foreign land with a fraction of a cost to a developed country, it also provides an opportunity for the other country’s economic recovery and growth so basically it’s a win-win situation to all.
Will you travel to a different country to seek medical treatments? Why and why not?