International Medical Tourism

International Medical Tourism

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International Medical Tourism

Medical tourism can be broadly described as the process of obtaining various health care facilities through travel. The process is fast becoming a worldwide, multibillion-dollar industry and it is alternatively referred to as health tourism, medical travel or global healthcare.

Factors behind Medical tourism
The reasons patients travel for treatment vary and there has been a steep rise in the number of patients going for medical tourism.  Let’s look at some of the reasons for this growing trend: Healthcare and medical facilities in advanced countries is very expensive in comparison to Asian countries. Moreover the public healthcare system in some of the countries takes much more time than anticipated.

The long waiting time, high costs direct many people to consider medical tourism as a lucrative option.

Other factors such as ease and affordability of international travel, rapid improvement in technology and high standards of medical care in the developing countries has all contributed development of medical tourism, which has proved to be cost effective. Medical care in Asian countries cost just one-tenth of the costs in U.S.A.  For example- The Cost of Heart Surgery in India is $6,000 compared with $30,000 in the United States.  Angioplasty cost $11,000 in India, 13,000 in Thailand but the same procedure will cost $57,000 in US. There is a huge difference, yet the cost of the treatment still remains to be just a fraction of the cost in the U.S and the cost includes the airfare, stay and a small vacation package.

When it comes to health care, safety is the prime concern among patients. Several of the hospitals in countries such as India, Thailand, Singapore, etc. possess state-of-the-art facilities, skilled medical professionals and medical care on par with western countries. Apart from offering world class treatments, they offer various services that make medical tourists’ stay hassle free.  Many hospitals have international accreditations that certify the quality of health care service with minimum waiting time. These hospital offer treatments such as Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Urology, Dental surgery, Oncology, Orthopedic surgery, Pediatrics, General Medicines and General Surgery.

Of all the Asian countries, Singapore is first to work towards increasing its 200,000 tourists a year to a million by 2012. Thailand has recorded at least 6000,000 new patient arrivals a year.  Malaysia is next which has treated more than 100,000 tourist patients in 2005.  Apart from these countries India is the next most sought after destinations for medical tourism. Medical tourism in India has been growing at the rate of 20% per annum. The year 2004, saw some 150,000 medical tourists from UK, US, Middle East and other foreign countries visiting Indian hospitals seeking medical care.