Medical tourism has no clear history but the practice dates back to the olden days when pilgrims often sought medical attention and sailed to the ancient Athens. Then, medical tourism was more of an involuntary action to save a dying relative. Majority of those that undertook such quest did so because the medical service was not available in their home country. Nowadays, medical tourism is a well-planned travel for various reasons and different countries are in a fierce battle to outdo the others in quality of services. The procedure which is most sought is cosmetic surgeries. There are a number of factors that facilitate the boom in medical tourism and they include;
1. Difference in cost for fairly same treatment standard
When citizens of developed countries discovered the gap in price between what they got in their countries and what was obtainable in developing countries, they were willing to opt for the latter owing to the standard medical facilities they have acquired and the professional medical staff (some of who were from American descendent). It was a good idea for them to use the 20 to 60 percent discount they got from their desired medical procedure to plan for leisure travel and tourism. Currently, difference in cost of treatment is the main driving force behind the boom in medical tourism.
2. Favorable health policies
When the government of Thailand (which is the biggest medical tourism destination in Asia) decided to diversify the economy through improved health sector, the first step was to create a policy that allowed the private sector to partner with the government. The collaboration with the private sector helped to fast track the initiative to reality. Medical tourists also got tax incentives and attractive health insurance plans as a bait to keep them coming. The recent plan in Thailand is to combine a five-star hotel with a high-tech medical facility which means patients will feel as if they are in a luxurious hotel while being treated.
3. Certification and JCI accreditation
One of the worries of medical tourists was how to be sure they will get the best in the hospital they are heading. JCI intervened and began to monitor the standards of such acclaimed medical tourist facilities and issue certificates to those who passed the accreditation test.
4. Ease of access to information concerning medical tourism
As more and more people give in to medical tourism and share their success stories, the more readers are drawn to take a dive. Reviews and comments and the ease in which the internet has made it to get directly in touch with the hospital of choice has also Increased the confidence of prospective medical tourists. Another factor that has come to play is the elimination of language barriers through apps and interpreters leading to a better understanding of client requirement.
5. The future of medical tourism
Medical tourism has come to stay and every effort to snuff it out will always meet stiff resistance. With the various investments laid out for medical tourism like the road map and massive investment of Thailand and the multi-million dollar medical facility in Italy, there should be further competitive prices in medical tourist procedures in no distant time.
- How medical tourism evolves.
- What the future of medical tourism holds.
- The force that drives the boom in medical tourism.
- How technology has attracted more tourists to medical tourism.
- The motive of past medical tourism was different from that of today.
- How countries attract medical tourists.
- Policies that favor the spread of medical tourism.
- JCI has a great contribution to medical tourism.
- Why people would prefer to cut cost on medication for travel.
- How a tourist can obtain a JCI certification.
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