Medical tourism means when a person goes from one country to another country to undergo certain treatment. It can be due to various reasons, from cost of the treatment to the quality of treatment provided.
The spectacular growth of the medical tourism sector has proved that the sector is providing the necessary benefits to the patients.
The first and most important benefit of medical tourism is the savings on the cost of the treatment. At a cost that is 30-40% lesser than the cost of the same operation in their home country, patients make a huge killing in savings. The most prominent example of this is western patients coming to India for surgeries. Even with the cost of plane tickets, hotel costs, and other allowances, it is still cheaper for an American to opt for the Indian surgery. Moreover, low cost does not necessarily translate into lower quality. The only precaution to be kept in mind here for the patient is to make sure that the hospital they are approaching for the treatment is favorably accredited by JCI (Joint Commission International), healthcare industry's official accreditation institution on quality.
Due to the over loaded health care facilities in some western countries, there are long waiting queues for certain operations. Sometimes, patients have to wait more than a year for a surgery. But medical tourism sector offers the benefit of speedy completion of a surgery. Once a patient flies into India or Singapore, he can hope for almost an immediate surgery. The time gap between the diagnosis of a disease and a corrective surgery is a vital factor in a patient's health. Sometimes, it is a matter of life and death for the patient. Medical tourism provides the critical help in that aspect. The treatment is fitted around the patient's need and his window for the operation.
One more benefit that medical tourism is according patients across the globe is the facilitation of the latest in healthcare. Patients, from medically backward countries, avail of the medical tourism services because their own country does not provide certain treatments. Some of the poorer country cannot afford the latest equipments and facilities for certain critical surgeries. And without the latest equipment and the expertise of the doctor in the same, the safety of the patient undergoing the operation is highly negated. Patients from such a country go to a medically advanced country for the particular treatment. Safety of the patient is thus guaranteed through the services offered by medical tourism.
In some countries, some surgeries are banned by the Government. But there are always few countries that keep on experimenting in medical sciences, and allow new inventions to be applied in the health care field. A patient suffering from rare or new ailment may be forced to go to a foreign country where such treatment is allowed.
In western countries, certain treatments are not covered by health insurance. And without the insurance cover, some treatments are way too costly for an individual. So, they travel to a cheaper health care country to undergo the same treatment.
Many Asian countries offer various traditional healing systems, which are found to be quite effective in certain ailments. For instance, there is the Chinese acupuncture, Indian Ayurveda, Unani etc. In cases of stress related ailments, pains, bone troubles, there have been found to be more effective than modern medicines. This is certainly a benefit to the western patient, who does not have to suffer from any form of side effects while curing his ailment.
Western countries are mostly suffering from a scarcity of well trained nursing professionals. It is one prominent reason for the breaking down of the health care system in such countries. The after operative care is vital for an operated upon patient. There is just a simple and cursory nursing provided to the patient. But most prominent medical tourism countries offer a thorough and long after surgery care. And with the well trained nursing staff, it supports the patient in getting back to his feet. And the nursing comes bundled along with the surgery. There is no extra cost for it
Moreover, a medical tourist can reap the benefits of both a vacation and a treatment. Beside a visit to the hospital, they also visit a different country; enjoy its scenery, etc. They get an opportunity to relax in a different social milieu. They get an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.
There are instances of companies in USA, who are self insured, offering its employees a hefty bonus, extra sick-leave time, and the cost of airfare, if its employees agree to have non-emergency surgeries done in another country offering a cheaper treatment option.
Coming away from the patient, and if the patient is covered under insurance, the insurance company too saves a bundle of money. Even after covering all the expenses, air fare, hotel expenses etc.
Medical tourism offers many benefits besides the obvious cost benefit.
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