Medical tourism has existed for ages but the coinage ‘medical tourism’ was done by travel agents in an attempt to describe the massive in and outflow of patients seeking medical attention in other countries across their immediate boarders.
Medical tourism is becoming a multibillion dollar industry
The reasons why people engage in medical tourism is diverse. Some go for treatments that are not readily available in their countries or for treatments that law does not allow them to carry out in their home countries for which the destination country’s law is silent upon. The surgeries majorly sought for include hip replacement, dental processes, cosmetic surgeries, cardiac surgeries and so on.
Medical tourism traces its origin to ancient Greece
In ancient times, a horde of travelers made the long stressful journey to the sanctuary of the healing god Asklepios at Epidaurus. In Roman Britain, the practice among the sick was to take the waters at a shrine Bath, a practice that has continued over two thousand years. In Germany, people visited spas and this visit to spas can be considered as the beginning of modern medical tourism.
Reduced cost is the heart of medical tourism
Putting the cost of medical procedures in the US, India and Thailand side by side often reveals a thrilling discount which is the main reason of outbound tourism from the US to the other countries. Gastric bypass which would take thirty five thousand dollars to be done in the US would only require $10,200 in India and $11,500 in Thailand. The same disparity goes with tummy tucks, hip replacement, angioplasty, rhinoplasty, dental implants and so on.
Planning a medical tourism is easy
The first step is for the patient to contact a medical tourism provider who among other things would require the patient to provide a medical report containing a detailed description of ailment. The preferred destination hospital and an estimate of expenditure are discussed followed by signing of agreements. The patient can then obtain a medical visa from the concerned country’s embassy and travel when due.
Developing countries are investing in medical tourism
Country like Thailand has built her medical tourism to an enviable height starting from the early twenty first century when their economy hit a brick wall. India is another classical example that has modern medical equipment and doctors that have trained on different part of the globe, bringing back their experiences. These countries also hire professionals from around the globe in a bid to boost their medical output.
India is aiming to improve her medical tourism through diversification
India is trying to make a place for visitors with cataract and other health problems that are not currently covered in their healthcare scheme. This expansion will also attract more medical tourist to the country since the price of their services is among the lowest globally.
The frustrating experience of medical seekers in Britain force them to travel
In Britain, healthcare seekers are mandated to wait in the line in government hospitals and it is not everybody that has what it takes to visit a private practitioner. This forces them to seek for alternatives in countries where such services are rendered at a reduced rate.
- The term “medical tourism” was formed by travel agents.
- The term was used to differentiate travelers on medical grounds from other travelers.
- There are more than one reason why people embark on medical tourism.
- Medical tourism in the ancient Greece was a form of pilgrimage.
- Modern medical tourism can be traced to spas.
- The cost of surgeries in the US is among the highest in the globe.
- Reducing the cost on fairly the same quality treatment is the major reason for medical tourism.
- The margin of cost of procedures in the US is very high when compared with India and Thailand.
- Medical tourists would first need to see a medical tourism agent.
- More medical tourists are expected in India as they strive to increase their services.
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