Medical tourism refers to situations where people living in one country travel to another country for dental, surgical or other medical treatments.
Medical tourism is a new niche, which has largely reversed an earlier pattern of wealthy patients traveling to rich world centres for treatments. Globalization and drastic developments in information and technology have changed the healthcare field signficantly. Along with these trends, the direction of flow of people for health care services” have been reversed. People from wealthy countries are now traveling to developing countries for health care services.
Let’s visit a few of the more critical pieces of knowledge you should understand about the recent trend toward medical tourism.
Need for medical Tourism:
- The cost of health care in developed countries is very high.
- Global standards of healthcare and technological advances are rapidly improving all over the world.
- Improved communication opportunities (Telemedicine and Mhealth) where patients can contact with health care providers from their homes.
Process of Medical Tourism:
The process begins when the patient seeking medical treatment contacts a facilitator for healthcare services. They provide all documents related to the treatment and their current health status.
The facilitator will then forward the documents to certified physicians who in turn will advise on the medical treatment or recommend an initial consultation with a specialist.
The approximate cost of treatment, the choice of doctor and hospital, expected duration of stay, and logistical information, such as accommodation, ground transportation and flights are discussed as well. For countries which require a visa, patients will be given recommendation letters to obtain the medical visa. After the patient reaches the designated country for treatment, an executive is assigned to the patient to take care of transportation, accommodation and after-care of the patient.
Benefits of Medical Tourism:
Cost if the key motivator for patients seeking medical tourism options. In many developing countries, one can have major surgery for a small percentage of the cost that they’d incur in the U.S., Canada, Japan, or Western Europe.
Some surgeries, such as hip replacement and dental surgerie,s are not covered as a part of insurance in some countries. Therefore, patients who require those surgeries are choosing developing countries as their destination for medical care due to significantly deceased costs.
The major difference in the cost is due to the “low cost of resources “ in developing countries. In developed countries like the US or the UK, costs to employ qualified professionals are extremely expensive, whereas in developing countries these costs are significantly lower.
The standards and quality of the treatment in developing countries are on par with that of the western countries, so these costs make the decision an easy one for a patient who cannot afford the exorbitant costs exhibited by developed countries.
A sub-benefit of medical tourism is that it provides opportunities to travel to another country. For some medical tourists, especially those seeking dental care, cosmetic care or wellness treatments, the added bonus of being able to enjoy the opportunity to travel overseas in addition to receiving less expensive healthcare is worth the trip alone.
The concept of medical tourism has worldwide appeal due to high quality and affordable healthcare. The medical tourism phenomenon is gaining popularity, and the number of people going abroad for treatment increases rapidly each year.
With many medical tourism benefits, advancements in technology and improvements in healthcare standards within developing countries, it is likely that the advantages of medical tourism will provide a striking economical solution to many healthcare problems.
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