One of the latest fast-growing and emerging industries globally is tourism. Medical tourism has spearheaded the tourism industry’s growth and development. It has been recorded that the number of US residents traveling to seek medical treatment in other countries has hit billions and it’s continuously increasing each year.
The benefit of sudden growth of the industries has helped in job creation and healthcare system development. Mexico, Canada, and other countries in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America are the common states most United States medical tourists prefer.
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What is Medical Tourism?
The phrase “Medical Tourism” refers to residents traveling to other countries to receive medical treatment. In the past years, it has been common to see people from under-developing countries travel to developed countries to seek medical attention because of the availability of quality medical facilities which are lacking in their countries.
However, on the contrary, in recent years, this has changed; people from developed countries have been seen traveling to developing countries because medical treatments are affordable.
According to research by the non-partisan consumer advocacy group, Families USA; the coronavirus outbreak has led to poverty for millions of Americans and also denied approximately 5.4 million American worker health insurance. Here are reasons why medical travel is popular including:
- Other regions provide affordable, quality, and consistent healthcare.
- International medical care focuses on offering service to a small group of the population with certified experts.
- Quality technical infrastructure and equipment.
- Quality and qualified medical practitioners.
- Availability of high-standard hospital infrastructure including comfortability and good customer relationships with staff.
The International healthcare guidelines recommend foreign country rules and regulations such as effective and efficient medical treatment to be able to treat the following illness like surgical removal of vascular and heart pathologies, therapy of oncological diseases, spinal surgery, fertility treatment, orthopedic surgery treatment of uncommon genetic diseases, neurosurgery and dental treatment.
A great example of an orthopedic treatment that might not be available everywhere would be PRP/Stem cell therapy for joint conditions. Some US states offer it and some do not, a great example of an orthopedic practice that offers this type of medical tourism would be Integrated Orthopedics, which is one of the few that offer the procedure.
Additionally, if you are experiencing rare conditions, you will travel to other countries which provide a high possibility of healing the patient. Generally, if you’re looking for quality healthcare services, they are all available for medical tourism.
Medical Tourism and its Benefits
Medical tourism not only helps a patient to receive treatment in their own country but also serves many individuals who require quality but affordable healthcare and numerous options for both the patients and the country offering healthcare services to medical tourism.
Cost-effectiveness and Affordability
First-world countries like the United Kingdom and the United States of America offer expensive medical treatment and procedures compared to other Medical Tourism locations like Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Turkey, Malaysia, and Brazil. For Instance, if you go to India for medical treatment you may save up to 30 to 70 percent.
In addition, you will save on your accommodation and ticket cost. However, people are skeptical about trying medical tourism quickly because of the low value of medical procedures and surgeries that can be bait by online scammers. Therefore, the reason for the low prices in medical processes and surgery is the availability of cheap labor in these medical tourism spots.
Additionally, the medical tourism destination has well-trained and qualified professional healthcare practitioners; who are familiar with the trends in medical technology enabling them to be patriots of their nation. Finally, if your medical insurance is limited to certain medical treatments, you may be attracted to seek medical tourism as an alternative.
Every patient prefers quality and convenient medical service, for this reason, medical tourism offers you the opportunity to get accessible and fast medical service. However, several first-world countries make the medical process limited and unavailable, making patients wait for a long time to receive healthcare service.
For example, you can find over 50 percent of individuals wait around 4 weeks to book an appointment with a professional medical practitioner. Patients who visit foreign countries for medical treatment are given priority Therefore, medical tourism is beneficial to foreign individuals and native citizens because matters concerning healthcare need immediate attention.
The Healthcare system of a country needs to follow the recent trends in marketing. For instance, much medical tourism involved in developed countries includes professional personnel including locations like India, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia have one of the best surgeons and doctors. Most of them are certified and well-trained in high institutions in the United Kingdom and the United States. Additionally, these medical institutions and centers are accredited by elite international organizations like the Joint Commission International or JCI and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare or JCAHO. Numerous healthcare centers and institutions are members of the National Institutes of Health or NIH.
The role of NIH as a federal agency is to financially assist and lead researchers facilitating health and medical study.
Availability of Certified Medical Practitioners and Advanced Technology
The majority of developing countries have limited medical experts because the ratio of one doctor to patient is high, and the long queue when booking an appointment results in the popularity of medical tourism.
In addition, other countries lack high-standard medical equipment for medical procedures and surgeries. Therefore, many people seek treatment by traveling to different countries like India, and the United States for unique medical equipment and vital medical treatment.
Provide Economic Boost
Medical tourism boosts the economy of developing countries because of the high-end tourist searching for unique medical treatments like traditional healing methods invented. Therefore, it helps in the development of major cities.
Increase Employment Opportunities in Local
Medical tourism’s popularity has stirred business opportunities and job creation for the local people. It created direct employment opportunities like taxi services, hotel industries, and restaurants and indirect opportunities through the provision of consumer goods and services to the medical tourism industry.
Obtain Experimental or Investigational treatments
Medical Tourism is popular because in the United States either experimental or investigational treatments are illegal. In the contemporary days, people are finding ways of increasing life expectancy according to Malida. However, In the US health insurance does not cover such medical treatment because they follow standard rules and regulations approved by the FDA. For example, experimental or investigational medical treatment doesn’t certify the outcome of curing cancer.
Medical Tourism Can Be Risky
Medical Tourism can pose threat and complication depending on the location the patient’s medical procedure and surgery is undertaken. Therefore, whether you are physically fit or mentally stable for the medical procedure, you’re at risk of the following risk including:
Patients under any medical procedure or surgery are exposed to numerous complications. Additionally, medical tourists who seek healthcare services in other nations increase the possibility of contracting bloodstream infections, donor-derived infections like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, and finally, wound infections.
For individuals for whom English is their native language and who visit a country where English is not their national language have challenges like the need to prepare to learn the country’s language to be able to communicate with staff. If you are lucky to find staff speaking your primary language, ensure to speak up and make sure your medical practitioner understands your medical needs.
Research and get a pre-travel consultation
If you are a patient planning to travel to a foreign country for medical attention you need to consult your medical practitioner 4-6 weeks before the trip. Ensure you also discuss your vital medical condition. Learn about the risks available when traveling. You can also get international travel health insurance that covers medical treatment in the United States.
Additionally, research qualified healthcare centers that will provide you with a medical procedure. You need to ensure the medical providers are licensed and joined accredited groups such as DNV GL International Accreditation for Hospitals and Joint Commission International.