Medical tourism is a rapidly growing global industry that combines travel and obtaining health care into one practical and convenient journey. In other words, it involves the undertaking of a trip for the purpose of receiving medical treatment or procedures that would otherwise be inaccessible or unavailable. Much of this growth has been fueled by medical tourists from countries with mature economies such as UK, Middle East, Japan and United States. With their health care system trying to cope with large populations and high expectations of healthcare services, many medical treatments or procedures incur high costs and long waiting periods.
When one considers the ease and convenience of overseas travel in the modern world, and the advancement of technology and facilities in developing and emerging economies around the world, medical tourism presents an affordable and suitable alternative. It is also not uncommon (and logical) to incorporate leisure or tourist activities as part of the journey, usually during the period of waiting for admission or recuperation to help pass the time or speed up the recovery process.
The agencies specializing in medical tourism utilize less formal channels to provide arrangements and agreements to provide these services, and there are varying degrees of regulatory and legal issues depending on the locality. The medical tourism businesses and service providers offer a range of services including: liaising with the travel agency and health care provider, supplying case managers to deal with any pre- or post-travel medical issues and providing resources for follow-up care on return.
Where Can Medical Tourism Take You?
As medical tourism destinations, Central and South America feature just about all of the benefits that people seeking alternative healthcare look for and more. Argentina, Brazil and Costa Rica are three of the top destinations in these regions, with very advanced and well established health care systems for people looking for all types of medical procedures, in particular cosmetic surgeries. Of course, there is no shortage of sites and attractions in these fabulous countries, and you can take your adventure into world famous landscapes spanning stretches of pristine beaches, exotic expanses of rainforest, as well as majestic mountains. There are plenty of reasons for you to consider going to Central or South America, and even more reasons for you to stay just a little bit longer. Medical tourism gives you two of the best reasons (in your health and relaxation), but the rest is for you to discover.
There are so many well-established medical tourism centers in Asia that first-time medical tourists can find themselves bewildered with the choices and options available. Most well known medical tourism in India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand all make no secret of their highly successful and efficient healthcare systems. The continent of Asia spans a vast and diverse geographical region, and offers the medical tourist a range of options from the exciting and bustling cities to the calm and serene seaside locations. You will find the same friendly and dedicated services from the medical centers to the tourist resorts, yet every journey brings different excitement and experience.
The beauty of Africa has always been known to the outside world, but it is only in recent times that people are rediscovering the continent for the benefits of a world-class healthcare system. It is a continent that has begun to emerge from the legacy of past turmoil to make its mark on the international stage. Medical tourism has a largely untapped potential in South Africa, and it is little wonder that people are beginning to flock to the exciting opportunity of ‘medical safaris’ that combine two of the most well-organized industries in the country. But there is still so much more to discover in Africa, and for Africa to share with the rest of the world.
Five Reasons to Say YES
Finance. While most people like to think that ‘you get what you paid for’, the main reason why medical tourism is much more affordable has to do with legal and economic factors in overseas countries, and not a reduction in service and standards. However, you must do the research and seek necessary advice to make sure it isn’t ‘too good to be true’.
Time. For non-elective procedures this is not an issue, but there are often cases where time is a factor in improving the probability of success and recovery following surgery. There is also unnecessary stress and trauma associated with waiting that medical tourism can help to alleviate.
Quality of care. The surprising thing for most people is that medical tourist destinations run very efficient and high-class services which they stake their reputation on. Governments and businesses are also always looking for ways to improve or enhance the service to attract more visitors and patients. Quality of care is therefore always improving to meet the needs of patients.
Options. More often than not it is better to have options when it comes to important decisions. It gives patients an opportunity to weigh up the pros and cons of each choice and consider their circumstances more closely. Patients that make informed choices are those that get peace of mind and comfort. Medical tourism gives you those extra options should you need it.
Experience. Circumstances in life will push you to make choices and face unfamiliar situations. In most cases this will benefit you in more ways than you can imagine. Maybe you’ve been looking for an opportunity to experience something different in your life, but you’ve been waiting for something to make it happen. You have an opportunity to do something for your health, as well as broaden your life experience in medical tourism.
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