Why the Medical Tourism Industry is continuing to rise in numbers?
There are some basic problems that a patient is facing and is trying to resolve them by deciding to go away from home to receive the proper medical service.
A high cost of the service at the home-country is on the top of the drivers. For example, a US-patient may not afford the 40,000 $ for a hip replacement in the USA but could afford the 15,000 $ cost in Mexico or Costa Rica, or a Canadian lady may not have 12,000 $ to fulfill her dream of a bigger breast but could make her dream come true in Greece for 5,000 $, travel expenses included.
Better quality service
Another main driver that sends patients abroad searching for certain services is the unavailability or lower quality of the procedure in their home country. It’s not unusual for an Arab woman to look for labiaplasty medical assistance in Europe because of the lack of that service in her home country, or for an Egyptian to have his cardio-vascular surgery in a UK hospital.
No waiting list
The long waiting list is also a driver for patients to earn the benefits of a certain procedure on time either that is for a plastic surgery procedure or an IVF treatment.
Let’s not forget that a driver for medical tourism services’ seek away from home, coming far from the past, is “privacy” that certain people are willing to have. The “no one knows” patient is a trend or a need sometimes. Especially cosmetic surgery procedures like hair transplantation, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, etc. are an everyday case in the medical tourism field globally.
Health and vacation
The combination of medical treatment, usually a minor one, and vacation enjoyment is the perfect “deal”. Dental procedures, cosmetic medicine procedures, IVF treatment, hair transplantation, laser eye surgery, and many other minimally invasive procedures are always a pleasure to be combined with relaxing and joyful staying at a well-known touristic destination.
The globalization that is spreading rapidly during the last couple of decades, is favoring the medical tourism sector. Less crossing border issues, less money transfer barriers, low-cost flights, easy and free web communication options like Skype, Viber, Whatsapp, ToTok, etc., internet searching for worldwide options, and many other “tools” had make step by step more easy the task of finding a reliable health provider in an affordable cost.
In conclusion, money and time saving, privacy and availability are the main drivers for the local patient to become an international one, to be a medical tourist.
Epameinondas Christopoulos, MD, MTEC