Medical tourism is a direct result of globalization of health care. This health care sector is emerging up in vigorous speed. But this rapid development is the result of interplay of several factors which are not clearly known. There are several questions tagged along with this rapid development, such as – Why do patients travel abroad for medical care? What are the key factors responsible for the development of this industry? Primarily the success of this industry can be attributed to the following five-“A” factors. They are affordability, accessibility, availability, acceptability and additional factors.
Affordability– The healthcare comes at a higher price for millions of uninsured patients, and thus seeking for a better and cheaper options has become extensive. The costs of healthcare are tending towards becoming a discomfort than the whole disease condition itself. This demanded the rapid rise of medical tourism towards provisions of affordability and quality.
Availability– One more reason for patients to travel so far for a medical treatment is the unavailability of a required medical procedure at country. This type of travel is called “need factor travel”, where a person goes in search of his needs for better health care.
Accessibility– Anything available is worth, only when it is accessible to the needy. The high demand for the procedures at developed countries makes a patient be on a wait list for 6-12 months on an average. Inaccessibility of a need often demands for a better option, with quality and economy meeting the criteria. The medical tourism destinations are providing the quality in a cheaper option, making them more accessible.
Acceptability– Travelling abroad is a sensitive issue, if there are religious, social-political and ethical issues surround it. This happens to be a problem to majority of the medical travelers, as defining the correct set of values is difficult. This makes the medical travel difficult than finding an affordable and available care.
Additional factors– It’s quite natural that everybody seeking medical treatment abroad expects the best quality of service. The most important factor of all is receiving additional benefits like better care, latest medicines, modern technology, better hospitality, personalized care. This additional benefit which a patient receives abroad makes his choice of medical tourism very easy.
The above said “A” factors actually encourages and drives people in seeking medical treatments abroad. Similarly, the five key drivers which drive medical tourism to reach its height are
Key Drivers of Medical Tourism
There are factors that have facilitated growth of medical tourism and are responsible for the present popularity of this industry.
Technology-Growth of any industry depends on its technological development. Medical tourism is no exception to this, as a quality and standard medical procedure can be delivered effectively through latest technological developments. This also includes global transportation and communication systems. The quality of service in medical industry is being improved, with the worl coming together with technology..
Cost-The attention of healthcare is more inclined towards the insured patients, and resulting in “cost shifting”. The patients, who are not under the insurance coverage, face problems eventually, as the costs of treatment are extremely high.
Need-The emergency needs of patients which are not available in one’s own country, triggers the search for options, and making to opt for a medical travel.
Change-Change towards progression is always exciting. Based on this concept, the hospital management catering medical tourism has brought about many changes. Adoption of the concept of providing a luxurious and comfortable stay place for the patients, rather than the usual unexciting general wards, is one among them. After treatment, the patients can also make use of the tourism facility, which is certainly a better change for patient. This change of environment and an exciting tour helps in recovering much earlier.
Demographics-Post-World War II, there is a significant population rise, causing a strain on the healthcare system. These demographic drivers also drive patients to seek help in other countries