Medical Tourism involves traveling to another country for medical purposes. Usually, patients from less developed countries move to the developed to receive treatments that are not available in their homeland. People move from one country to another to receive healthcare services. This shift is due to the availability of low-cost and required treatment, easy availability of information about medical services, and others.
What is driving the popularity of medical tourism?
Medical tourism is set to grow the cost of healthcare in developed nations such as the US, Europe, and many such developed nations. Many employers offer health insurance to their employees because they think it’s a great way to lower costs as they can afford costly facilities at affordable prices. Many countries popular for medical tourism have doctors, nurses, and specialists who have trained and worked abroad. As a result, there are no language barrier problems when international patients come for a check-up.
Types of Medical Tourism
Medical Tourism is an emerging concept in the industry. There are three types of medical tourism, such as:
- Outbound Medical Tourism- In this type of tourism, the person leaves their origin country for another country to get medical help.
- Inbound Medical Tourism- In this type of tourism, a person from another country travels to another person’s origin country to get healthcare services.
- Domestic Medical Tourism- In this Type of tourism, a person moves from one country to another to get treatment in another facility.
In a continuum of care, the medical tourism market is growing owing to various growth factors such as inflation costs of healthcare and long waitlists in developed countries, development of facilities, technology, and skills in destination countries, affordable airfares, and favorable exchange rates. Whereas, intense competition, lack of price transparency, slow prosecution of medical malpractice cases and lack of malpractice framework for cutting edge procedures, pre-and post-operative risks of combining health and holiday, potential crowding out of domestic poor patients, and other adverse equity effects and Natural calamities are some common threats recorded in the global medical tourism market.
Reasons to choose Medical Care Abroad
There are many reasons one travels abroad to seek medical treatment.
- Disappointment with medical treatment in their city
- Lack of access to healthcare products at reasonable time and cost
- Greater mobility
- A wish to get medical services in the abroad country
- Inadequate insurance and income for local healthcare
- No waitlist
- The growing popularity of medical services abroad
- Access to the latest technology in another country
Medical Tourism Issues and Challenges
Medical Tourism is a market combination of tourism and the healthcare sector. As per the research report published by ASTUTE Analytica, the global medical tourism market is growing at an exponential rate of 12% over the forecast period 2021-2027. People travel to foreign countries to access medical facilities but it arises many challenges and issues. Many challenges faced by medical tourism are language barriers, technological, and many others.
Medical tourism creates a problem for the host country and destination population. Although, medical tourism has many advantages as well there are drawbacks too. In ancient times, people move from one country to another to get medical treatments like hot spring baths, medical therapies, and many more. In the current scenario, people travel to another country to get affordable medical care facilities in a developing country. Some of the challenges and issue are:
- Follow-up problems- Follow-up care is difficult in medical tourism. If a person gets any problems or infection during his flight to his/her origin country, then medical tourism is not well established to solve the problem.
- Language Barrier- Language and cultural barriers are the most important barriers in the front of medical tourism. If medical staff is not able to understand one’s language it will be difficult to communicate with patients.
- Lack of Infrastructure- People travel from a developing country to another developing country for their medical treatment. These developing countries do not have not a well-established infrastructure. There are many problems like power supply and proper water, poor hygiene, and poor-quality foods in hospitals.
- Rules and Regulations- One of the main concerns in medical tourism is related to differences in law in different countries. There is no standard law in medical tourism around the globe. There is weak law in medical tourism.
- Organs Trafficking- Most of the countries banned transplant tourism because organs come from vulnerable peoples. However, trafficking can still be continued in the black market.
Services Provide by the Medical care facilitators in medical tourism
Service care facilitators play a major role in medical tourism. They make medical travel comfortable and easy. Some of the services are:
- Customizes treatment packages
- Guidance for end-to-end transportation
- Safe accommodations for the patient’s budget
- Precise money exchange
- Easily doctor appointments
- 24 hours guidance support
- Post-treatment follow-ups
Many other services are like these are provided by the medical care facilitators.
Medical tourism has grown vigorously in recent years due to new emerging technologies in the healthcare industry and with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in the industry.