Impact of Medical Tourism on Public Health
Medical tourism is no longer a novelty but has become a global trend. The increasing popularity of medical tourism and its benefits has attracted many people. Medical tourism has brought a major improvement in the quality and management of health care services which has benefited the local population. People are provided the best treatment with latest technologies which were not available before. The chance of getting treated in abroad at an affordable cost is the main reason why medical tourism is flourishing. Medical tourism has both positive and negative impacts on local people’s life.
Benefits and risks of medical tourism on public health
Benefits: Medical tourism increases the annual revenue and foreign exchange earnings of the host country. This helps in introducing new advanced technology and increase the quality of health care service. Medical tourism reduces Brain-drain – the migration of well educated and experienced physicians to foreign country in search of good annual income. It upgrades the health care infra-structure, quality, standard and knowledge. It also benefits the host country when an experienced physician comes to their country. It overcomes the shortage of human and physical resources in specialist areas. Local population are benefited a lots as they receive more advanced and affordable treatment in their home country itself.
Risks: In countries where people opt for going abroad for treatment may create a dual market structure. At times the local population may be the sufferers as the entire attention will be paid to foreign tourists, the management will be concentrating entirely on promoting medical tourism and completely neglecting the local people. Sometimes, there is diversion of the health care resource, which is not used for health care services. Brain drain is the major problem as the host country spends its resources in educating a person, but later he shifts to a foreign country and serves there. Patients who undergo treatment in
foreign country may face difficulty in follow-up procedures once they are at home.