Medical tourism isn’t a new thing; people have been doing it for decades. However, a study on the numbers of people going from their home country to another country to receive medical healthcare, including cancer treatment and cosmetic surgery, shows that our patterns of behavior have changed. These changes have, inevitably, changed the world of medical tourism, turning it into a viable commercial industry.
The paper, released by professors at the University of Michigan, explores the rise and changes of medical tourism and the factors that affect cosmetic surgical tourism, as well as the implications (negative and positive) for all of the parties involved. The paper implies that as the medical tourism industry becomes globalized, we are changing our perception of elective procedures and as a result patients are “becoming consumers and these medical services are being viewed as commodities”.
How Times Have Changed For Medical Tourism
Whilst people have been travelling abroad for medical healthcare for decades, historically medical tourists were individuals from poorer countries seeking higher quality medical healthcare in more wealthy countries. This pattern has shifted; travel is relatively low cost, and we have seen a rise in high quality healthcare facilities in the developing world. As a result, more and more people from America and other western countries are travelling to receive outstanding levels of healthcare at a much lower cost than that available in their home country. Elective procedures, such as cosmetic surgery, and alternative procedures like alternative cancer treatment are not covered by insurance. As a result, these elements make up a large proportion of the rapidly growing medical tourism market.
The appearance of state of the art hospitals in developing areas, such as Mexico, mean that patients are able to receive the highest quality healthcare, whilst the lower cost of living in these countries means that the procedure will come with a much lower price tag. In fact, many of the procedures offered at Angeles Health hospitals cost 50% less than the same procedure in America.
As the Mexican Government continues to promote medical tourism and to include it in their tourism policy, we see a rise in outstanding facilities for those seeking to combine a medical procedure with a holiday. Few patients can resist the opportunity to recover from their procedure privately, in a warm, relaxing environment, rather than being thrust back into day to day life too soon.
Can The U.S. Compete?
The rapid growth of the medical tourism market is anticipated to have a massive impact on the U.S. market. Unable to compete on costs, U.S. facilities will need to create their own niche markets or offer procedures that they can viably perform at a low cost. However, the future is not all bad for the American elective surgery industry; it is thought that the rise of people having elective and non-insured procedures abroad will give valuable insights into the effectiveness of different procedures and the ever-changing world that is medicine.
The overriding advice to potential medical tourists is to opt for hospitals and clinics that have a good, long history of providing healthcare. Price isn’t the only consideration; you need a reputable surgeon, a clean environment and state of the art equipment to ensure your safety during and after your surgery.
Angeles Health’s Contribution
Within the 22 Angeles Health Hospitals we specialize in a range of medical areas; from fertility treatment to weight loss surgery, from cosmetic surgery to stem cell therapy and alternative cancer treatment. Many of our physicians are among the most respected in the world for their specialist area. As a result we have a number of partnerships and collaborations. We help to contribute to the investigation and development of some treatments and contribute to setting best practice for the future.
At an Angeles Health hospital you get the best of all worlds; low cost treatment from world class physicians with access to state of the art equipment. What’s more you get to recover in the Mexican sunshine. The question isn’t “why would you go to Mexico for medical healthcare? The question is “why WOULDN’T you?”
Or more information about the range of procedures that we offer, or Contact us today for a chat with one of our US based case managers.