According to Medical Tourism Research Guide (MTRG) medical tourism in general is on the rise and is expected to grow at a rate of 30% annually.
For those new to this term, medical tourism is a term coined to describe the practice of patients travelling across international borders to seek medical care. The services sought by travelers include both elective medical procedures and complex & specialized surgeries such as:
- Cardiac Surgery
- Hip/Knee Joint Replacement
- Dentistry (restorative, general and cosmetic)
- Cardiac Surgery
- Cosmetic Surgery
Factors contributing to the Growing Trend of Medical Tourism in General
A survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting Services in the year 2009 estimated that around 750,000 Americans traveled abroad in 2007 for health care services. This clearly shows that even people living in the developed countries are actively seeking medical tourism.
Research studies show that there are several different factors behind the growing trend of medical tourism. However, some of the most common factors are:
- High cost of health care in their native country
- Availability of certified and trained medical staff
- Proper healthcare infrastructure
- Successful adoption of best practices and cutting edge medical technology
The combination of quality health care services at low cost is the major driving force. Many surgical procedures performed in medical tourism destinations cost only a fraction of the price that the patients have to pay in the US or UK.
According to the Medical and Tourism Statistics and Facts, the following showcase how much patients can save if they opt for medical tourism destinations for healthcare services, using US costs for healthcare services as a benchmark:
- Brazil: 25-40%
- Korea: 30-45%
- Mexico: 40-65%
- Taiwan: 40-55%
Medical Tourism in General The Process
To travel to a desired destination for medical treatment, the patient needs to apply for a medical visa. Here’s how it goes:
First the patient contacts a medical tourism provider and provides the medical tourism provider his/her medical reports including information of the nature of ailment, local doctor’s opinion and the patient’s medical history.
Certified doctors then recommend a medical treatment after thoroughly going through the patient’s medical report. This includes approximate estimate of the expenditure you are likely to incur, tourist destination preferable for the treatment etc. The consent bonds and agreements are signed and recommendation letters for medical visa is provided to the patient. This can be procured easily from the concerned embassy.
Once the patient receives his/her medical visa, then he/she can easily fly to the destination country. This is where the medical tourism provider assigns the patient a case executive who takes full care of the patient throughout the visit. This includes accommodation and treatment. Once the treatment is done, the patient can return back home. Many travelers on medical tourism also plan vacations around their procedures.
Top Destinations for Different Healthcare Specialties
- Mexico- It is a top medical tourist destination for cost-effective weight loss and cosmetic surgeries
- South Korea- for spinal treatments
- Costa Rica- For quality dentistry
- Barbados- For effective and result driven fertility treatments