Medical tourism is one of the most dynamically growing industries today. Considered to be the direct impact of globalisation of healthcare, medical tourism certainly exhibits strong growth potential globally. However, based on FMI’s research, the market of medical tourism is expected to concentrate within most of the emerging economies of the world.
As developing nations are increasingly heading toward technological advancement and quality services in the medical and healthcare sector, the global medical tourism market is anticipated to witness robust growth over 2014-2020, predominantly in Asian countries.
The top treatments people travel abroad for, include cancer therapy, cardiovascular surgeries, orthopaedic treatments, dentistry, cosmetic surgeries, reproductive treatments, weight loss therapies, health screenings, and medical tests and scans. In severe cases, a sizeable patient population also seeks second opinion from specialist doctors out of their countries.
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High treatment costs and lengthy waiting times for medical procedures, being the two major factors in driving medical tourism, are also supported by easier and cheaper international travel. While the U.K.’s population prefers to travel abroad for bypassing long waits, patients from the U.S. travel outside for availing of treatments at cheaper costs.
Medical excellence along with international accreditation are the key factors fuelling a majority of international patient flow, eventually boosting international medical tourism. Currently, over 600 medical departments and hospitals all over the globe are accredited by the U.S. Joint Commission International (JCI). The number of accredited facilities is projected to increase almost by 20% each year. This is another important driver associated with the market growth.
Developing countries, with ever-evolving innovation and demonstrable achievements in medical researchare estimated to accelerate the approaching medical tourist flow over the forecast period. Growing healthcare investments by various government and private sectors are also anticipated to further bolster the market growth.
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However, medical tourists are highly prone to a wide variety of health risks after they return. The conditions may include TB, paratyphoid, amoebic dysentery, deep vein thrombosis, and more; usually caused due to poor post-operative care and inadequate rest. This could affect the market to some extent.
Stringent documentation processes, issues related to visa approval, and limited insurance coverage are reportedly some of the most deterring factors for the global market.