Medical tourism implies flow of patients to foreign countries seeking medical treatment. Such treatment is cheaper and of better quality than native countries. A growing number of Western tourists are heading to Thailand, India and Latin America for the sake of a variety of treatments from heart surgery to dental work.
The following are the major reasons for which foreign tourists seek medical treatment abroad:
- Cost: Cheaper treatment and facilities are the top most reasons for medical tourism. For instance, dental work in India is available at one tenth the cost in the U.S. While low costs are a feature of medical tourism in India, costs in its competitors is higher like 20% more in Thailand and 50% and higher in Latin America.
Dental work happens to be the cheapest saver in medical tourism. There are 90%overall savings in dental work in Thailand and India with other cheap facilities. For instance, savings on minor treatment on one of your teeth will cost as much as your plane ticket and on a second tooth will pay for a few days of fun at the beach. Your whole family can afford a holiday because of savings on major surgeries. Medical diagnostics are also being off-shored to India. Many Indian hospitals have world class diagnostic services like MRI and X-ray.
Most Indian or Thai hospitals are also up front about the cost of treatment compared to US hospitals that only provide a rough guesstimate.
Once common misconception is that all medical charges in foreign countries need to be made from the pocket. The fact is that majority of insurers are happy about reimbursing cheaper medical costs incurred abroad as well as to avoid paying domestic prices. Because of the tight competition, many foreign hospitals have close ties with insurers.
- Quality of service: While in Europe and the US, most of tasks of hospitals are performed by errand staff, in medical tourism countries, there happens to be a prolific supply of qualified nurses. In the Western nations, the patient may be asked to arrange for medication or consult another doctor, while the medical tourist is often escorted for these services. Doctors in foreign countries have lighter work schedules, enabling them to pay much more individualized attention to patients. Medical tourists will be treated with extreme courtesy.
Stay in hospitals for medical tourists are very luxurious. At fraction of the cost at home, medical tourists are provided with luxurious accommodation and facilities.
- Quality: It is logical to assume that lower costs may be associated with lower quality of service. But with a well-planned medical tour, you can avail of world class treatment albeit at low cost. Internationally trained doctors are turning more and more to serve their home country as they are able to get far more respect in their home country, enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle and escape the dragnet of litigation in the US. Such internationally trained doctors will speak flawless English. A good medical tour agent will help you get access to the best doctors, specialized in the field that you seek. Medical tourism India is thus about quality treatment.
- Availability: There are no waiting lines for medical treatments for medical tourists. Surgeries can be conducted as soon as you land. Advanced treatments like stem cell therapy are also available.
- Tourism: Medical tourism is much about tourism as much as medicine. Recuperate from your treatment in facilities in exotic locales.
These are some aspects about the growth of medical tourism worldwide.