When looking at medical tourism, globalization of the healthcare marketplace is the first thing that comes to mind. Medical tourism is the travelling of patients from one country to another to receive medical care. Most of the time, the patient in question comes from a less developed country where the medical services they are searching for are not as advanced as those in the country they are travelling to.
The phenomenon has attracted the attention of medical service providers, the media as well as the governments of countries which receive medical tourists. The practice not only brings with it benefits but also challenges.
The main characteristic and advantage which comes with travelling to another country for medical services is that you can engage in tourist activities. If you travel to France for a cosmetic surgery, for instance, you can decide to tour Paris and other cities while you recuperate. Some patients even stay on after their medical procedures.
If you want to kill two birds with one stone, you can schedule your vacation around the time you intend to go for your medical procedure or vice versa. All you have to do is make arrangements for accommodation and transportation.
Countries that have embraced medical tourism reap the benefits that come with it. However, there are certain logistics which need consideration. For a country to effectively explore the medical tourism, it has to ensure that its hospitals offer high quality services.
Hospitals which are preferred by medical tourists are reputable and well-equipped. It would not make sense for a patient to leave their country and go to a low quality hospital in another country.
Patients also go in search of the latest medical technologies, therefore the hospital in question has to provide hi-tech medical treatment options. Above all, the hospital has to get the relevant international accreditation to provide medical services across the globe.
The decision to take part in medical tourism is normally influenced by the type of treatments offered by a medical facility. Treatment options may vary from traditional medical care to alternative ones. The most common procedures include dentistry, cosmetic surgery and organ transplant.
There is also the increase of reproductive tourism which is the travelling of patients from one country to another to go through procedures such as surrogacy and vitro fertilization. The procedures may take long and engaging in tourist activities can be a good way of passing time.
For a country that engages in medical tourism, globalization of the healthcare marketplace is not the only benefit. The country also gets economic gain, not only from the healthcare sector but also from the tourism sector.
Some countries which have realized these gains over the years include the United States of America, Canada, India, Belgium and Thailand. While patients always go for affordable medical services they also take into account the richness of the tourism sector of the country they are travelling to.
This has also led to the expansion of the global village as more and more patients explore this option.