Medical tourism denotes to the travel of individuals from one nation to another for the intent of receiving medical treatment in the foreign nation. Traditionally, patients would travel from developing nations to prominent health care centres in developed nations.
However, there is a shift in the trend toward travel to developing nations for medical treatments due to cost factor. Again, certain treatments may not be allowed as per law in the home nation, and therefore, individuals would have to travel abroad.
The most accepted medical treatment includes cosmetic surgery, dentistry, heart surgery, orthopaedic surgery, organ transplantation, and eye surgery among others.
Types of Patients
Temporary Visitors Abroad
It consists of individuals on a holiday overseas who use the services locally for a medical emergency (unexpected illness or accident).
Nations having common borders may work together in delivering cross-national finance for health care services.
Patients may be sent overseas by medical agencies through cross-national purchasing agreements. The agreements are steered by the time taken to receive care and non-availability of specialists in the country of residence.
Impact of Globalization
• Changes in the regulatory environment.
• Acceptance of transnational disease forms.
• Increase in patient movement.
• Growth in the health care sector.
Some of the prominent global locations
There is a trend globally for medical tourism. Some nations may have historical agreements. For e.g., patients seeking medical treatment in Hungary are usually from Western Europe.
The regions like Asia (India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand), Africa (South Africa), Latin America (Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba and Mexico), Middle East (Dubai), Western, Scandinavian, Central & Southern Europe, and Mediterranean have established themselves in the global medical tourism map.
Risks of Medical Tourism
• Communication could be an issue. If you don’t speak the local language, it could lead to misunderstandings.
• Hospitals could reuse needles or follow other unsafe practices in some nations.
• Medicine could either be not genuine or of poor quality.
• Antibiotic resistance is an international concern.
• The blood supply in certain nations may not be properly checked.
• Travelling after surgery enhances the probability of blood clots.
Precautions to be taken
• Consult a travel medical practitioner at least one month prior to the trip to seek information on the process of treatment.
• Verify the qualifications of doctors and confirm the credentials of the health care facility.
• Enter into a written contract with the hospital or the organization, scheduling the trip, validating if methods, supplies, and care are included in the overall costs.
• Identify legal action that can be taken if the treatment doesn’t proceed as planned.
• Maintain copies of medical records.
• Formulate copies of prescriptions, a list of medications (brand, generic, companies, and dosages).
• Receive copies of all medical records before travelling back to the home nation.
Medical tourism is not only excellent business for hospitals located abroad but also for a nation’s overall tourism sector. Currently, many nations globally have accepted medical tourism as a vital sector.
It would be appropriate to conclude that medical tourism will have a tremendous prospect in the future as more and more individuals travel abroad for treatment. This would result in quantitative and qualitative achievements for global as well as national clients.
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