MedRetreat – Medical Tourism

February 7, 2009

The Emergence of Medical Tourism

The term “medical tourism” is actually misnomer and was fashioned by popular media as more people began traveling to foreign destinations in recent times for cosmetic and dental procedures. However, the concept of traveling great distances for healthcare is an ancient phenomenon. Middle Eastern and Asian civilizations traveled literally thousands of miles in order to receive medical care that didn’t exist in their homelands. In more contemporary times, wealthy people from all over the world have been traveling to the U.S. in order to receive the most advanced medical care at globally renowned hospitals such as Johns Hopkins and Mayo Clinic.

Today, medical tourism is a full-fledged industry that caters to all social-economic classes around the world. As globalization in communications, transportation, and medical technologies rapidly dispersed, the healthcare industries of many developing countries obtained the level of safety that meet the highest quality in international standards for care.

According to a Deloitte market research report in 2008, “more than 750,000 Americans left the country last year for less expensive medical treatments, a number projected to grow to six million by 2010.”

However, in another study conducted in early 2008 by McKinsey & Co, “the number of medical tourists was instead between 60,000 and 85,000.” 

Although there is no precise method of corroborating this quantitative data, the fact remains that medical travel shows great potential for future growth as globalization in communications, technology, and transportation rapidly spreads, while the quality of healthcare delivery overseas advances at the same time.  Whether traveling for exchange rate advantages, specialized treatment options, or the expertise of a particular surgeon, people from all economic backgrounds have options as never before.

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1 Comment »

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