Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Medical Tourism: The History

Medical tourism has been around even longer before man has known such medical procedures. This was believed to have been practiced by the Greek pilgrims when they have traveled across the Mediterranean to the territory of the Saronic Gulf known as Epidauria. This was said to be the home of the Greek God for healing, Asklepios. Epidauria was the first ever travel tourism spot for medicinal purposes.

Since then, medical tourism has grown so much that it is now made available by a lot of different countries across all continents.

Some of the factors that contributed a lot to the growth of medical tourism abroad are the long wait times and the affordability of medical procedures in some countries. Statistics show that a liver transplant in the United States could cost around $300,000 USD compared to only $91,000 USD in Taiwan. The countries that offer public medical facilities have often longer wait times for medical care that is considered to be non-urgent.

Medical tourist comes from different countries like the Middle East, Europe, the United States, and Japan. The main factors that people from First World countries that was mentioned are mainly because of high populations, wealth, high cost of health care, and the comfort of being able to travel for such services. These are just some of examples of what led to the birth of medical tourism across the globe.

One of the authorities from the Harvard Business School also noted in the past that medical tourism has been widely promoted in the United Kingdom compared to what it is in the United States. One reason perhaps is that some of them find out that some medical procedures like orthopedic surgery is not even covered by their local health insurance in First World countries.  Medical procedures in some countries can easily be availed of, you just have to have the capability to travel and cover for all your expenses.

The normal process for medical tourism is that the person who seeks medical attention outside of their country gets in touch with a medical tourism company. 

Popular destinations are parts of South America like Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines in South East Asia, and South Africa. The provider will then ask the seeker for medical attention a medical record like the nature of ailment and history, opinion from a local doctor, and the diagnosis.

The medical provider will then lay out a choice of the hospitals to provide such medical services, tourist spots, the amount that might be spent on the entire trip, and the length of stay. 

These medical providers are accredited by some international healthcare associations worldwide. They normally vary based on size, cost, and quality of their marketing services. So, in choosing a travel destination for the medical attention that you need requires a very careful decision you have to make, so choose wisely.

Suggested Reads

  1. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1861919,00.html
  2. http://www.patientsbeyondborders.com/medical-tourism-statistics-facts
  3. http://www.news-medical.net/health/Medical-Tourism-History.aspx


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