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Understanding Medical Tourism and Affecting Factors

What is Medical Tourism?

The process by which people of one country or region travel to a different country or region for better medical care and treatment is called medical tourism. In our country, generally, it happens from rural to urban areas. It means that people in small cities and villages move to large cities in order to get their diseases treated.

But this isn’t always the case. Many people from developed nations like the US and Britain travel to less developed countries like India, China and Brazil for cheaper healthcare services.

Why “Tourism” and not “Trip”?

In recent times, medical tourism has developed so big and rapidly that many companies and insurance firms are seeing very high profits in this business.

One reason why we call it tourism and not trip is that people travelling to a different country or region for the medical purpose also get the advantage of visiting important places in that country as normal tourists. This way, the traditional tourism industry also flourishes.

Factors Affecting Medical Tourism

Following are the main reasons why people chose medical tourism instead of getting treatment in their own country:

a. Cost: The cost of medical care varies all over the world, and mostly, it depends on the economic status, per capita income, and cost of living in a particular country.

In the US and Britain, cost of healthcare services is so high as compared to developing countries like India, China and Brazil. This is why organizations which give healthcare facilities to their employees and health insurance companies are promoting medical tourism because it will help them in cutting the costs. Other than this, individuals suffering from chronic and severe diseases are also attracted to low costs oversees and prefer medical tourism over getting treated in their own countries.

b. Quality: Low costs alone cannot persuade people to travel abroad for medical treatment. A country which wants to attract foreigners to come for treatment also has to ensure the best facilities and high-quality services so that the patients can feel that they are really going to be cured.

One way to ensure adequate quality and win the trust of patients is to get accreditation from internationally recognized organizations. It’s true that this is not an easy task, but it’s best for both patients and the industry.

c. Treatment Types: Types of treatment available in a country also determine the types of tourists who’d be willing to come.

In India, there are mainly two types of treatment. The first one is the category of major and chronic diseases such as surgery, transplantation of organs, cancer treatment, plastic surgery etc.

The other category represents the array of reproductive requirements such as surrogacy, IVF, in vitro fertilization etc. However, these services are subject to laws and regulations and are highly guarded.

Medical tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry all over the world and is playing a significant part in the economics of developing countries. It has also become a way of promoting the tour and travels along with Medical Science.