These days, a medical trip abroad is no longer confined to the realms of the affluent wanting cosmetic procedures – everyone is doing it – and as a result, the health tourism industry is booming.
Almost 1 million Americans travel abroad for procedures and treatments each year, with the quality of care they receive comparable to back home, thanks to more affordable international travel and improvements in the standard of care in certain countries around the world.
The benefits of going abroad are strong. Opting to head overseas can often mean a saving in costs, wait times or better options for treatment. Almost every type of medical treatment is available abroad – with the most popular ones being heart surgery, cosmetic surgery, fertility treatment and dental treatment.
And as the market grows, countries specializing in treatments become clear. South Korea for oncology, India for cardiology and Israel for fertility treatment are just a few examples of medical tourism hubs.
This growing industry has popped up a new breed of travel agents – medical tourism operators. These agencies help people plan their trips – providing information about hospitals, treatments, prices, as well as hotel and restaurant recommendations. It is also thanks to global connectivity that the industry is booming: patients can now see pictures of the hospitals, or read up on reviews and past patient experiences more readily than ever.
Yet it’s important to consider the potential risks of medial tourism: patient complications and poor post-operative care. Lack of communication can produce legal oversights. As the infographic below points out, before seeking treatment abroad, there are a number of steps people should take to ensure a smooth and safe overseas procedure.
So where to go? Here are a number of medical tourism hubs around the world worth considering, compiled by Paul W Tracey Solicitors.