Medical tourism is defined as travelling from a country to receive medical care or travel across international borders to receive some form of medical treatment.
The types of medical tourism vary in location as well as in terms of purpose and are divided in terms of location into:
Local Medical Tourism:
It is intended as a therapeutic possibility within the country itself and this is due to economic and regional prosperity.
Global Medical Tourism:
It is to move from one country to another in search of health care.
Medical tourism is a unique concept in the travel and tourism industry. It plays an important role in the tourism sector, where many people travel for treatment annually. Medical tourism helps develop the economy and living standards of human civilization, as follows:
● Very useful for economic development.
● Creates more healthcare jobs.
● Creates more healthcare facilities.
● Gives access to the latest technology in the medical sector.
● Improved quality of life.
● Participation in global healthcare.
● Increases better global healthcare standards.
● Better exchange of knowledge.
● Generating foreign revenues.
● Social benefits.
● Political benefits.
● Economic benefits.
On the other hand, there are some shortfalls of Medical Tourism:
● The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has recorded many safety concerns about the high rates of bacterial infections and diseases for medical tourists. This can be attributed to less stringent sanitation rules in other countries and rare infectious diseases in the United States. In 2014, American women who travelled to the Dominican Republic for plastic surgery suffered a bacterial infection.
● In addition, transplant tourism has become a highly controversial issue, with medical tourists having access to organs and transplants without waiting in a long queue at a lower cost, but who says organs often come from people at risk. Most countries in the world have banned organ transplant tourism altogether, however, organs can still be purchased on the black market.
● Medical tourism is also a problem for local people who now face more competition for health care in their country, and wealthy outsiders can crowd out indigenous citizens and even raise prices for some measures by increasing demand.
● Healthcare providers can also be asked to change their practices to accommodate and meet their needs; a recent report on health care in developed countries ranked the United States last in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. This is although the United States spends more money on per capita health care than any other country.