What Is Medical Tourism & How Does It Work?
Traveling to another country for medical care is now more popular than ever, with more and more hospitals and clinics expanding their service regions into international waters. Now called medical tourism, traveling abroad for a certain medical procedure is especially common in aesthetic, cosmetic, and dental procedures, as well as radical treatment plans including CyberKnife, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.
Here is everything you need to know about medical tourism, basic medical tourism examples, and the most common medical tourism packages you can choose from if you, too, are looking for international medical options.
What is Medical Tourism?
Before digging into the various countries where medical tourism is especially popular, it is important to know the medical tourism definition and what exactly it entails. Medical tourism refers to people traveling to different countries for various medical care. This may include oncologic procedures such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and bone marrow transplant; various types of hair transplant procedures; cosmetic surgery such as breast lift, tummy tuck, and liposuction; or numerous dental procedures, including teeth whitening and implant surgery. Today, it is possible to obtain inexpensive flight tickets and choose a well-known country in the medical tourism market to receive international healthcare needs.
What are the Advantages of Medical Tourism?
There are many advantages that medical tourism brings to patients who choose to outsource their specific medical treatment. Here are the most common benefits medical tourism provides:
- Medical tourism offers a much affordable way to get certain treatments when compared to the patient’s home country.
- In some cases, patients can receive treatment that otherwise is not available in their country.
- Traveling abroad for optional procedures such as hair transplant or cosmetic surgery can also offer the opportunity for sightseeing and traditional tourism activities the country has to offer.
- Most medical tourism companies help patients with purchasing economic flight tickets, book an inexpensive hotel, and select the best hospital or clinic for a certain procedure, therefore making the process much more affordable than it would be in their homeland.
- Hospitals majoring in medical tourism usually have staff trained exactly for out-country patients; therefore, they can speak fluent English and are able to inform the patient about the procedure accurately from A to Z.
- Most clinics and hospitals that specialize in medical tourism tend to employ doctors, nurses, and medical staff that has worked or trained abroad.
- With these benefits in mind, it is important to remember that qualification, accreditation, hygiene, and experience are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a clinic abroad. It is essential to conduct background research on the selected organization before going through the process of booking a procedure.
How Does Medical Tourism Work?
It is always best to work with a professional medical tourism company when planning your medical treatment abroad. These companies are usually quite experienced when it comes to selecting the right clinic for the procedure of your choice, helping you book a flight and hotel, introducing you to the clinic’s international staff members, and simply adjusting you to the process entirely.
Once the plan is in place, all you need to do as the global patient is to travel to the country your procedure is going to take place, meet with your team of international medical staff, and follow their instructions on how the process is going to be concluded. Most of the major international patient-friendly hospitals prefer to accommodate their foreign visitors in hotels near the hospital and provide regular shuttle service to and from the hospital when needed.
Some Popular Medical Tourism Destinations
While medical tourism represents a billion-dollar industry around the world, it is safe to say that it will keep growing in the foreseeable future and create more and more individual health service patients interested in receiving medical care abroad. More and more countries nowadays choose to benefit from this emerging sector, therefore offering premium medical services at significantly low prices.
The most common treatment plans global patients seek in medical tourism usually consist of elective procedures such as cosmetic surgery and hair transplantation. That being said, there are some very popular and well-known medical tourism destinations that offer a variety of primary medical solutions such as cardiac surgery, organ transplantation, and cancer treatment. Here are the most popular locations in medical tourism by country:
Medical Tourism in India
Estimated to have a medical tourism industry worth 9 billion, India is best known for its cutting-edge technology and superior healthcare systems that have driven millions of international patients from all around the world throughout recent years. While India’s medical tourism industry keeps flourishing visibly, the country is especially a sought-after country in organ transplantation and IVF. Statistics show that patients can save up to 90% on treatment costs when compared to the US.
Medical Tourism in Mexico
Most US citizens choose to travel to Mexico for cheap, convenient, and effective healthcare. Due to the fact that Mexico is one of the United States’ border-on neighbors, patients initially opt for Mexico before looking into other medical tourism options.
Medical Tourism in Turkey
Medical tourism in Turkey has especially risen in the past few decades, with more and more clinics and hospitals establishing exclusive wings dedicated to international patients. Hair transplantation, oncology treatments, and cardiac surgery are the most common types of medical care procedures that are practiced in Turkey’s medical tourism market.
Medical Tourism in Thailand
Thailand is mostly noted for its dental, cosmetic, and dermatological procedures, having the biggest number of hospitals within the Southeast Asia region with global accreditation. When looking for a dental clinic abroad, most resources will lead patients to Thailand and its distinctive dental care foundations. People also choose Thailand for outpatient therapies such as massage, yoga, and other relaxation techniques.
Other popular medical tourism destinations include medical tourism to Canada, Malaysia, Brazil, and Germany. Nowadays, more and more countries are joining the fray with even Eastern European countries investing in more international healthcare solutions. For more information, you can simply choose the type of procedure you are interested in and look for international options various countries have to offer.