Global growths in the medical world have led to new models. An important factor arising from this growth is the increasing international trade in health services. This trade, which covers treatment and other health issues, is called medical tourism or meditourism. Medical tourism has emerged as a result of the following situations:
- Traveling across international borders for the purpose of obtaining some form of medical medicine
- Caring, cosmetic, surgery, plastic surgery and fertility treatment
- Traveling to countries with affordable service fees to access more affordable healthcare
Medical tourism is expressed as a sub-title of health tourism. Technological developments in the world and the increasing age of the world have contributed to the development of this tourism. In addition, the high costs of medical services, the inability of health systems in developed countries to meet the high demand, and the desire to obtain medical products at affordable prices are other factors affecting the emergence of medical tourism.
What is the definition of medical tourism?
It is important to first understand the medical tourism definition. The phenomenon of patients choosing to cross international borders to receive some type of medical treatment that may include all medical services (dentistry, cosmetic surgery, check-up, plastic surgery). Sometimes, the individual’s medical insurance can cover these health services.
What is the meaning of medical tourism?
It is defined as travel for the purpose of obtaining health care. Patients may travel domestically or abroad for a variety of procedures, including new or experimental treatments. They can also travel to developing or developed countries. The result of all these health-related travels is medical tourism.
How did medical tourism began?
The history of medical tourism, which is the main subject of our article, should also be mentioned.
People have been traveling from country to country for treatment for centuries. The beginning of these travels dates back to the Ancient Greeks.
During Georgian and Victorian times, many people traveled abroad to spa towns for spas, baths, and other health treatments.
Back then, spa towns were quite common in places like Hungary, Austria, and Germany. In the United States, many Americans went to natural resources in the southwestern regions in the 18th century.
Mineral resources have already been used in Japan for centuries and medical tourism started in India about 5,000 years ago. The reasons why people turn to treatment abroad have never changed from Ancient Greece to the modern age. The leading causes are cost, duration of treatment, or misdiagnosis of the patient in their own country.
These travels, which have been made for centuries, have also led to the formation of “global medical tourism”. Due to the increase in the aging population in developed countries in the modern world, countries have developed quality and preventive health services. These well-established treatments have made full sense with the increasing demand for some other ethnic treatment and rehabilitation.
When did medical tourism began?
Although there is no clear information about the first start date of global medical tourism; European medical tourism began in the United Kingdom between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The British elite’s belief in the healing power of sea waters led them to resorts on the coast. In America, this tourism started with the travel to the houses built near the mineral springs in the 1600s.
What does medical tourism include?
Medical tourism includes many treatments as it is preferred by people who are not satisfied with their treatment in their own country, find them expensive or are misdiagnosed. The main ones are medical tourism dental, medical tourism plastic surgery.
What are the types of medical tourism?
If we think of it like a chart, medical tourism appears as a sub-title of health tourism. Another sub-title of health tourism, or in other words healthcare tourism, is wellness tourism. Medical tourism is examined under two types:
- Surgery (aesthetic plastic surgery, organ transplants, stomach surgeries)
- Disease treatment (medical tourism, dental implant, rehabilitation, fertility treatment, cancer treatment, cardiological treatment)
What is medical and wellness tourism?
Medical tourism covers the treatments of diseases and aesthetic procedures applied to the human body. Medical tourism services are preferred because of their lower cost. Wellness tourism, on the other hand, is associated with people’s desire to protect their own well-being. For this, methods such as stress reduction and poor lifestyle management are applied.
How does medical tourism work?
First of all, you need to choose the type of medical tourism service you want to receive. For example, you will have stomach surgery. If you do not find this surgery service in your own country expensive and sufficient, it is recommended that you do not act on your own and talk to a medical tourism agency first. In this way, you can get detailed information about the hospitals and services in the best and most suitable countries and you can have your surgery in confidence. In addition, they can offer medical tourism packages tailored to your personal wishes. This package covers everything from your accommodation in your destination country to your transportation.
What are the benefits of medical tourism?
This type of tourism is quite remarkable since medical tourism benefits are quite high. Benefits of medical tourism:
- Affordability (health costs are low in many countries and this is not due to poor quality, but simply to lower staffing costs or exchange rate differences.)
- High quality (countries employ the best doctors in this regard to further increase their tourism activities and support the opening of centers.)
- Travel opportunities (if your process is not too demanding, you can also take time to explore the country after you recover.)
- Immediate action opportunity (while waiting in line for an operation or treatment in your own country, you can have it done faster in another country.)
What are the disadvantages of medical tourism?
Of course, as there are advantages of medical tourism, there are also disadvantages of medical tourism. Although they are few, they are as follows:
- Language barrier
- The difference between the food you eat and the water you drink
- Additional travel expenses that may occur after the trip
- However, these disadvantages are rather minor compared to the advantages.
What are the risks of medical tourism?
There are two risks in this regard:
- Infection (this is a risk not only in medical tourism but also in every hospital)
- Conflict of ethical values (medical practices in some countries may not be the same as in your country.)
What are the two primary reasons for medical tourism?
The two most basic reasons, including those in the benefits section above; low cost of medical tourism and the possibility of rapid treatment. As for the countries; It is a great source of economic gain, because when patients recover, they often travel to the countries where they receive treatment as tourists.
Why medical tourism is drawing patients?
In recent years, many people have been traveling abroad to get affordable and quality health care services. These individuals mostly live in developed countries of the world such as America, Europe, Canada and Japan. According to 2007 data, the total number of patients worldwide who were treated abroad reached 750,000. This shows us that medical tourism is developing rapidly. While the biggest reasons for this growth and increased patient interest are time savings and budget, in some cases, insurance companies have strict limits on certain types of medical treatment. For example, patients seek the appropriate health care they need abroad because their insurance policies do not cover some minor interventions or treatments for certain diseases. This does not mean that you will receive uninsured health care in another country. Medical tourism insurance and travel insurance are available if you want.
What are the practical limits to medical tourism?
Limits arise from laws and different ethical rules that vary from country to country. For example, while euthanasia is not accepted in most countries, it is legal in some. At the same time, since the political stance of the countries affects the travel between the countries, this political situation can put a limit on the medical tourism market. On the other hand, to support the growth of this sector, some developing countries have flexed their visa processes or created a special visa type for patients coming from abroad. Additionally, the policy arrangements of these countries aim to support the medical tourism industry. There are some international accreditation organizations such as Joint Commission International (US based) and Trent Accreditation Scheme (UK-Europe based) to standardize the quality of patient care and their commitment to patient safety. Health centers accredited by these organizations give confidence and comfort to patients from developed countries.
Is medical tourism legal?
Although international medical tourism is possible and legal in the “official” sense, some problems may arise due to border crossing problems and the different laws of each country. This issue is the most important of the medical tourism things to consider, and it definitely requires a professional consultancy.
Why is medical tourism popular?
About medical tourism, there are many details, however, medical tourism is a very popular industry. The main reasons for this are the advantages mentioned above, but at the same time, countries have entered a race to increase their tourism revenues. Its 2019 total global revenue exceeded $37 billion. According to 2016 data, India, Brazil and Turkey lead the way in medical tourism. Especially, medical tourism in Turkey has increased rapidly in recent years.
The reasons for the increase in Turkey are short waiting times, affordable and quality health care provision. Specifically, surgical tourism, radiation therapy for cancer, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery are the leading fields. It is expected to increase significantly in the next 5-10 years. However, annual patient estimates for medical tourism range from 60,000 to 750,000.
Why should I use medical tourism?
It allows you to get the medical treatment you need when you need it and at a more affordable price. With careful planning and preparation, you can start to feel better by getting the treatments you need. You can put your health in the best hands by researching medical opportunities abroad. Medical tourism services put you in control of your own health and brings you to the most skilled doctors in the world’s most medically advanced facilities.
What is the importance of medical tourism?
The importance of medical tourism comes from: it improves access to healthcare in countries where necessary medical facilities are not available or accessible to patients. At the same time, it promotes economic development and improves the quality of health services provided.
In the light of all this information, it can be said that the concept of medical tourism is to have patients treated in the fastest and most cost-effective way. You can get this treatment comfortably and reliably through medical tourism companies. The company you choose offers you more than one medical vacation packages. In this way, you can organize all your treatment and accommodation processes at an affordable price. You can choose wellness tourism not only when you are sick, but also when you want to get away from your own stressful life. Both offer you great conveniences under the name of health tourism.