Medical tourism booms globally
17 March, 2017
Medical tourism which is already worth billions of dollars is set to grow at up to 25% annually over the coming decade, according to a study by Visa and Oxford Economics cited by DW. Moreover, it has already grown into a healthy travel sector as people travel abroad for almost everything from dental care to plastic surgery.
Thanks to the internet, a growing middle class, mainly from countries without high-quality healthcare, understands that there are treatments out there for them, according to Julie Munro, president of the Medical Travel Quality Alliance, which produces a ranking of the 10 best hospitals for medical tourists.
But medical tourism is not limited to a few countries, nor to people from wealthier nations travelling to less pricey ones. Countries like the US, Turkey, Thailand, Singapore, Spain and Germany see both inward and outward flows, as patients dodge waiting lists or hunt for care that is either unavailable or too expensive in their own country.
Medical tourism offers range from dental care to plastic surgery, reproductive medicine, cancer or heart treatments, rehabilitation and preventive examinations. But Munro warns of a growing problem that patients travelling abroad are particularly at risk of “over-diagnosis” aimed at swelling hospitals’ bills.