Since ancient times people decide to travel to look for better doctors, treatments or better weather, we know this from Greek history or from 18th century history when people from northern Europe moved to southern countries to find sun and hot weather. In the past years medical tourism mainly concerned patients living in so called third world that needed medical therapies not available in their home countries because technology, materials or only education was lacking.
Lately things are overturned. Medical tourism is now a wide spread trend that involves people living in rich countries like Canada, U.S., Australia, western Europe, who, for many reasons, choose to travel abroad and to seek for treatments or therapies in countries where cost of living and of labour is lower and where laws are differents, but where, thanks to globalization, education, technologies and instruments are nearly the same. This kind of tourism is estimated to grow more and more in the future and it is called tourism because many patients can put togheter medical needs with the opportunity of visit a new place.
Medical dental travel. The business.
Reasons to travel are different: first of all money. According to estimates concerning U.S., surgery prices are from 30% to 70% lower in the countries that are promoting medical tourism when compared with U.S.. Other important factors that support medical tourism is long wait time for certain procedures, the availability of inexpensive flights and increase of marketing and online information about abroad medical services.
Very often patients choose to leave because they need particular treatments not allowed in their countries, like fertility therapies, assisted pregnancy or surrogacy, in case of rare genetic disorders or if they need different type of health care including psychiatry, alternative treatments or burial services. Sometimes medical tourism is due to lack of access to some kind of therapy like citoplasmatic transfer or stem cell.
Medical Tourism. Many destinations.
Most common treatments are cosmetic surgery, dentistry, organ transplantation, cardiac and orthopedic surgery. Favourites medical travel destinations are Costa Rica, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, United States; popular destinations for cosmetic surgery are Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Brazil, Thailand, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine.
Doctors focus on medical tourism’s risks, such as infections or other consequences and complications arise after receiving medical care overseas, for patients may be reluctant to report their travel history or documentation about the treatment they received may be inadequate.