Medical tourism is defined as traveling abroad to get medical treatments. In the past, the main reason for medical tourism was availability of services, thus driving patients from less developed countries to travel to major medical hubs in developed countries to receive treatments that were not available in their home country.
In recent years, medical tourism has been a growing industry. According to the Market Data Forecast, the global medical tourism size is forecasted to be 78.15 billion by 2027 from USD 33.03 billion in 2022, growing at a CAGR of 18% between 2022 and 2027.
Benefits of Medical Tourism
Cost saving: Generally, patients can make a cost saving of about 25-80% when going abroad, depending on the procedure they get and the country they travel to. This is mainly because the labor cost is much lower in those countries compared to some of the countries in Western Europe, Scandinavia or the US.
Availability of services: Some patients may want to travel abroad because certain treatments may be not available in their home country.
Procedures not covered by insurance: While a lot of people may have their health insurance, it may not cover the required procedures such as dental, plastic surgery, IVF etc.
Expats traveling for medical services to their country of origin: Many people leaving abroad prefer to go back to their home country to receive medical treatments. The reasons for that can be language, family and friends support, culture and better understanding of healthcare services.
Waiting list: In some cases, time can be critical and patients have to travel abroad to avoid waiting list in their home country.
Quality of services: Quality services are no longer a prerogative for developed countries. Rapid development in technology and drug advancements, as well as advanced education opportunities, enabled provision of quality medical services across the globe, providing more health option for patients to choose from.
Is Medical Tourism safe?
First and foremost, all medical interventions, surgeries in particular, carry a risk to your health regardless of whether you are undertaking medical procedures in your home country or abroad. However, due to technological advancements in medicine and pharmacology, severe complications are rare as long as you undertake medical procedures from recognised medical establishments and highly-qualified medical specialists. You should always consult with your doctor and research the quality of care and professional qualifications in the country you are going to, as well as understanding what is involved in your procedure.
What you should consider when planning to go abroad for medical treatments:
● Varying medical standards: There could be varying standards with regards to hospitals and physicians, licensing and different certification protocols. It is advised to research what is involved in your procedure and get a pre-consultation, which can be online or over the phone, with your doctor before traveling to discuss your treatment plan options, procedures and after-care.
● Flying before and after the surgery: Traveling long distances after surgery can pose a risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots. However, the risk can be reduced by using simple preventive measures such as:
○ Avoiding long flights after surgery. It is generally advised to wait at least one or two weeks for patients to recover.
○ Wear compression stockings
○ Drink plenty of water
○ Move your legs and walk every 2-3 hours
● Aftercare and medications: You should always consider aftercare when returning back home after undertaking medical procedures abroad. Also, it is important to discuss medication with you doctor, to ensure you have access to required drugs in your home country.
How to plan your medical holiday?
Medical tourism can be stressful and overwhelming for patients to plan and organise their health treatments abroad. GoMed Travel can take all this hustle off your shoulders and help you find the right specialists, clinics or medical treatments. We are an independent medical tourism facilitator in the Baltic states, helping our internal patients to plan and organise their medical trip. We are working with top medical professionals and leading clinics in the Baltic states, accredited within international medical community.
Consider taking comprehensive medical insurance to cover your medical expenses during your stay. It is advised to research and understand what is involved and covered as part of your insurance. Always have a copy of your insurance and contact details during your stay.
Consultation with your doctor ahead of travel
It is advised to meet with your doctor, which can be online or over the phone, to discuss your treatment plan and learn more about medical procedures, after-care and clear all your doubts before the travel. It is also sometimes possible to arrange for examinations prior to your travel, which can help and get you ready for the treatment.
Recovery and aftercare
Aftercare is an important part of your treatment and should be considered seriously. It is advised to discuss your aftercare plan with your doctor and put necessary arrangements prior to your travel. Depending on the procedure taken, some patients may need to undergo a longer recovery for a few weeks or months. It is essential to understand what is involved in your after-care and ensure you have the required support during your stay.