pros and cons of medical tourism
Pros and cons of medical tourism
April 9, 2016
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Definition of medical tourism

medical tourism definition and forms of medical travels

In this post I would like to explain the medical tourism definition. Medical tourism has a long history. People have travelled overseas to  spas, sanatoriums or to obtain medical service for centuries. Nowadays, medical tourism became even more popular because of globalization,  cheap airline tickets and wide access to information via Internet.

Unfortunately there is no agreed definition of medical tourism. Some authors define medical tourism as a combination of treatment with tourism (Prochorowicz, 2008). But of course not every medical tourist wants to visit tourist attractions. Other authors use the term medical tourism as a synonym of health tourism, spa/wellness tourism, sanatorium tourism (Sztorc, 2008). Usually, medical tourism means travelling across international borders to receive some form of medical treatment (Kelley, WHO). Medical tourists plan to undergo a medical procedure (diagnosis, treatment and so on) before leaving the country of residence. Tourists who had an accident or got sick abroad are not considered medical tourists.

From an economic point of view there are two forms of medical tourism:

  1. oriented on quality– for medical tourists from economically underdeveloped countries who are willing to travel to another country where medical services are provided on the highest quality level (or offered treatment is not available/not legal in their home country);
  2. oriented on the cost – for medical tourists from economically developed countires who – because of the lower prices- travel to countries where medical service is cheaper (eg. Czech, Poland, India, Thailand).

See more: If you consider medical travel, read about pros and cons of medical tourism. It will help you make a decision.

1. E. Kelley, WHO Patient Safety Programme, Medical Tourism, WHO 2013,
2. M. Prochorowicz, Turystyka medyczna nową perspektywą dla polskich placówek służby zdrowia, w: Turystyka i rekreacja szansą rozwoju aktywności społecznej, red. R. Grzywacz, WSIiZ, Rzeszów 2008, pp. 133
3. M. Sztorc, Podróże turystyczne obcokrajowców w celach zdrowotnych do Polski, w: Turystyka i sport dla wszystkich w promocji zdrowego stylu życia, red. W.W. Gaworecki, Z. Mroczyński, WSTiH, Gdańsk 2008, pp. 567–579.


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