"Medical tourism" refers to traveling to another country for medical care. It's estimated that millions of patients travel abroad for care each year. Many factors influence the decision to seek medical care overseas.
Some people travel for care because treatment is cheaper in another country. Other medical tourists may be immigrants to the United States who prefer to return to their home country for health care. Still others may travel to receive a procedure or therapy not available in the United States. The most common procedures that people undergo on medical tourism trips include cosmetic surgery, dentistry, and heart surgery.
Medical travel is projected to expand globally in the next decade. Citizens in the United States of America, for instance, already receive significant volumes of services abroad, both for urgent and elective procedures. The growth in medical travel is largely due to improved availability of health technology, decreasing costs for travel and advertising by companies wishing to attract patients.
This treatment may span the full range of medical services, but most commonly includes dental care, cosmetic surgery, elective surgery and fertility treatment.The potential benefits of travelling across national borders to obtain medical treatment include improved care, decreased costs and reduced waiting times (Bull World Health Organ).
What is the Market Size?
A new report published by Allied Market Research titled, "World Medical Tourism Market - Opportunities and Forecasts, 2014 - 2022", projects that the world medical tourism market would reach $143.8 billion by 2022, with a CAGR of 15.7% from 2015 to 2022. North America and Asia-Pacific are estimated to remain principal revenue-generating regions and collectively accounted for more than 60% of the global medical tourism market in 2015, in terms of revenue.
The major factors that boost the market growth include, affordability, availability, and accessibility of superior quality healthcare services with healthy support and assistance from tourism departments & local governments. In addition, increasing incidence of cancer and other serious ailments is anticipated to drive the demand for healthcare services, which in turn is expected to drive the world medical tourism market (disabled-world).
Reasons for Going Abroad for Surgery
Main drivers of medical tourism
Price? For Sure, but Not Only
This is the main reason most people initially cite for their decision to go overseas for medical treatment, but the situation is actually even better than the bare numbers suggest.
Using the US costs across a variety of specialties and procedures as a benchmark, average range of savings for the most-traveled destinations:
• Brazil: 20-30%
• Costa Rica: 45-65%
• India: 65-90%
• Malaysia: 65-80%
• Mexico: 40-65%
• Singapore: 25-40%
• South Korea: 30-45%
• Taiwan: 40-55%
• Thailand: 50-75%
• Turkey: 50-65%
Service, Not to Be Neglected by Clinics
US doctors are often harried with too many appointments and rush in and out, whereas doctors in major tourist hospitals have much easier work schedules and emphasis is placed on spending time on each patient, medical tourists are treated courteously, sometimes reverentially to the point of embarrassment depending on the country, and billing is often performed with less hassle and bureaucracy than in the US.
A properly selected doctor for your medical tour will have been trained in the US or Western Europe and, after years of college, med school and residency abroad, they will speak flawless English (many patients prefer a charming English accent, finding it comforting, luxurious or both).
Medical tourists also have greater access to different treatment types than those who choose not to travel. Stem cell-based therapies are the most common treatments that are not available to Americans, often because of restrictive government regulations.
Another factor is not only the availability of cutting edge treatments but also the availability of common surgeries. In state-run health programs like those in Canada or the UK, waiting lists can extend to more than a year for essential surgery and past three for non-essential surgery. With a well-planned tour, most surgeries can be conducted within days of landing and consultation in any of the medical tourism hubs.
Reduced Waiting Time
Another benefit of having surgery abroad is that you will usually experience much shorter waiting time. International medical facilities have shorter waiting times because they largely operate on patients from abroad.
Greater Range of Procedure
One can have greater range of procedure abroad which is not available in domestic country like gender reassignment operation. People prefer countries such as Thailand, where such surgeries are performed quite frequently, can have better skilled surgeons than those found in western countries where such operations are relatively rare in comparison.
A great way to be discrete about your surgery is to have surgery abroad, you can tell people that you are gone on vacation while you have procedure and recover from it.
Find out also why some consider "low-cost" clinics compared to your home town.
Last update 29th of September 2018