Are you considering medical travel? Here is a short overview of medical tourism statistics and facts. I hope you will find this information helpful!
The number of tourists travelling overseas for medical treatment has been growing in the recent years. A survey conducted in USA in 2008 showed that 39% of patients would consider going abroad for an elective procedure if that procedure was min. 50% cheaper than in the USA and quality was on the same or better level (Franzblau 2013). The rise in popularity of medical tourism has been mostly the result of greater access to information, greater communication via internet and cheaper flights. Little is known about the number and motivation of medical tourists. Unfortunately information about the quality of healthcare, safety, risks and effects of medical travels is also limited (Franzblau 2013, Noree 2014).
According to Medical Tourism Association cosmetic and dental procedures are the most demanded by patients. Global leaders in the medical tourism industry are countries like: Thailand, Indie, Singapore (Crooks 2010, Masoud 2013). The most popular cosmetic surgery tourism destinations for Americans include: Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Hungary, RPA, Gulf States, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore (Franzblau 2013). Media reports claim that each year about 15000 Australian women travel overseas to undergo plastic surgeries (Livingston 2015). The authors emphasize that statistics regarding medical tourism are often unreliable (Noree 2014; Rab- Przybyłowicz 2014). Analyze of the study on UK medical tourists in Thailand showed there is a discrepancy in the number of medical tourists in official statistics and medical records in Thailand clinics. According to National Statistic’s International Passenger Survey (IPS) only 500 UK citizens travelled do Thailand in 2010 to get treatment, but medical records show that 4000 UK citizens travelled to five biggest clinics in Thailand in 2010 (Noree 2014).
Based on studies on medical tourists experiences abroad the most frequent factor that drove patients away from care at their home country was the cost. Other factors related to costs like lack of insurance or being underinsured were also important. Among others, impact on the decision on travel overseas to get treatment had: waiting time for the procedure, technology and quality of treatment, language (ability to communicate in patient’s language), religion, cultural and political situation (Crooks 2010, Masoud 2013). It is also suggested that patients travelling far from their home country for cosmetic surgeries enjoy anonymity (Hanefeld 2014).
Given the high cost of dental treatment in UK many medical tourists travel to get it in lower prices in Eastern Europe. Individuals from the United Kingdom and other Western Europe countries obtain dental procedures in Bulgaria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Romania (Turner 2008). Dental clinics in Western Hungary and Budapest conducted a survey and it result showed that UK citizens were the largest group (20%) of patients in Budapest, followed by Austrians (17.4%), Germans (11.8%) and customers from Switzerland (11.8%). Majority of those travelling to Western Hungary were Austrians (83.6%), patients from Switzerland (8.7%) and Germany (6.2%). The survey showed that motivation for travel was lower cost, better service and friendly environment (Osterle 2009).
See more: Why is it so cheap abroad? Cheap cosmetic surgery or dental work- click here
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