Medical Tourism: The Road Ahead
The concept of medical tourism is not new, it is an age-old process of travelling to far away land for health, this was later converted to medical tourism. It is estimated that the medical tourism industry will raise its business to $US 60 million in the year 2012. One of the major achievements in recent times is the giant development noticed in the field of medical tourism. People started loving and accepting the concept of getting treated along with a touch of tourism. The potential of health care sectors and medical tourism was soon realized and the management started improving every aspect of health care treatment. This new area flourishing with advance technology attracted foreign patients and increased the economic status of a country.
The western and the US people find the treatment in many Asian countries to be affordable; therefore they flock to Asian countries for treatment along with tourism. It is estimated that by the end of 2010 around 6 million US residents will travel abroad for treatment. According to a survey, 23 million American travelers are expected to travel to Latin America, Asia and Middle East and will spend around $60 billion, by 2017.This affordable treatment sometimes is accompanied by risks of infection, lack of post-operative care and negligence but this does not happen often as the physicians are well trained and well experienced.
The future of medical tourism is strongly backed by the sophisticated research going on in every field of medicine. The latest development in diagnosis and treatment has taken the medical field to unimaginable heights, building confidence in patients mind and convincing him to travel overseas for a successful treatment. Currently, many hospitals catering to medical tourism has established business connections with the local hotel managements, travel agency, insurance agencies etc to provide accommodation, help in ticket booking and complete legal formalities, if any. Health care centers are also providing patients with all time-attender in the post operative recovery period. All these amenities make medical tourism a convenient and relaxing journey creating a positive outlook towards medical tourism.
Medical tourism will flourish abundantly in the future as it has become one-step-process. A person willing to take up medical tourism should just approach a medical travel facilitator who will arrange from start to end of the trip. This has reduced the burden of a medical tourist and assists him in having the best treatment in a world class hospital.
As people’s hunt for better quality treatment will always be on, medical tourism will never come to a halt. This helps in increasing the economical status of a country. Less developed countries can make use of the revenue from medical tourism in improving the quality of health services and attract more medical tourists. This revenue can also be used for providing the best health care services to the local rural population.
Projects for future
Just talking about the achievements in medical tourism will not help the industry to flourish, it will dormant the further growth, rather the future goals should focus on building a stronger foundation for medical tourism treatments. These goals should aim at
- Quality of health care globally
- Patients safety
- Policy relations
- Collaborative role of global agency
- Global health care policies
The future of global health care service is mainly on the developing more global health care policies allowing patients to travel anywhere in the world for their health needs.
The overall objective of medical tourism should be in taking advantage of the available resources and opportunities and bringing down the negative effects and increase the quality of health care services at an affordable cost, especially to the poor and the vulnerable. The question still remains about medical tourism is – whether the local population is benefited, despite all these advance facilities, global health system and the loads of revenue a country generates. Another major issue is internal brain drain, which creates shortage of trained and experienced physicians thus reducing the access of health care facilities for the local population, this also seem to create inequities in providing health care service to different population. The globalization of health care can have adverse effects on the host country as it can create discrimination between those who can and who cannot afford to pay.
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