Medical tourism (also called medical travel or health tourism) is a expression originally coined by travel agencies and the mass media to illustrate to the fast-growing practice of traveling abroad to find health care.
Such services normally consist of elective procedures as well as specific surgeries such as heart surgery, joint replacement (knee/hip), dental surgery, and cosmetic surgeries. The client and provider use informal ways of contact-relationship-contract, with not as much of regulatory or legal supervision to guarantee quality and less formal recourse to compensation or redress, if needed.
Spare time aspects typically associated with tourism and travel could be included on such medical travel trips.
For many medical tourists, the actual appeal is price. The cost of surgery in India, Brazil, South Africa or Thailand can be ten times less of what it is in the United States or Europe. A heart-valve replacement costs more then $200,000 in the U.S., In India costs $10,000 including round-trip plane ticket and a short vacation package. Likewise, a metal-free dental bridge worth $5,500 in the U.S. costs $500 in India, a knee replacement in India with one week of physical therapy costs five times less of what it would in the US.
Lasik eye surgery is available in India and many other countries for only $730 and it costs $3,700 in the U.S. Cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery savings are even higher. A complete facelift runs about $1,250 in South Africa. And that would cost $20,000 in the United States.
The savings look very interesting, but a nice new hip and a beautiful new face don’t look like the type of things someone would want to bargain with. How does the balance of risk x savings pay off in terms of success rates?
Mediocre medical care is not worth it to have at any price, and some skeptics say that 3 World surgery can’t be as good as that available in the US. Actually, exist cases of failed plastic surgery, particularly from clinics in Mexico in the days before anyone figured out what a amazing cheap, high-quality care could be for the developing countries.
So far, the clinics and hospitals that provide the tourist market often are between the best in the world, and many have physicians educated at major medical centers in the US and Europe.
Escorts Heart Institute and Research Center in Delhi and Faridabad, India, performs nearly 15,000 heart operations annually, and the death rate among patients during surgery is only 0.8 percent--less than half that of most important hospitals in the US. Bangkok’s Bumrundgrad hospital has more than 200 surgeons who are board-certified in the United States, and one of Singapore’s major hospitals is a division of the prominent Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
Clinics are backed by modern research infrastructures as well in some countries. India is one of the world’s top countries for biotechnology research, while both India and South Korea are pushing ahead with stem cell studies at a level reached only in Britain. Lot of foreign clinics, the doctors have more registered nurses per patient than in any Western clinic, and some clinics offer single-patient rooms that look like suites in 4 star hotels, with a nurse designated to each patient full time.
Also some clinics assign patients a personal assistant for the post hospital recuperation time and include a vacation incentive as well, and the deal gets even more attractive. In addition, many Asian airline companies offer frequent-flyer miles to ease the cost of returning for follow-up visits.