Medical Tourism Facilities
Medical Tourism as an industry and as a concept is gaining in popularity and acceptance among the general public of developed nations. One of the key obstacles to deeper acceptance is the issue of medical tourism facilities and how prospective patients and travelers will get comfortable with the quality aspect of medical tourism. Since we are dealing with an issue that is near and dear to the heart of the public, there is no skirting of the issue of quality of care. The most important aspect of quality care is the standards of the individual medical tourism facilities as well as the standard and training of the medical specialists.
Over the past decade, significant strides have been made in providing transparency to potential medical tourists with regard to these medical tourism facilities. These facilities may be clinics, hospitals, dental surgery facilities specializing in medical tourism, wellness facilities incorporating alternative healing approaches with more traditional medical care and cosmetic surgery facilities catering specifically to the medical tourist.
In all of these cases, the significant issue is credibility and acceptance of the quality of care of these medical tourism facilities.
There are several approaches to answering the quality questions:
Since the 1990s numerous global medical accreditation associations have made the investment in examining these medical tourism facilities and certifying them as to cleanliness, quality of care, certification of the doctors and numerous other criteria. The most respected of these organizations are either USA or European based and are also certifying hospitals in the United States and Western Europe. These organizations have achieved a high degree of respect and credibility over the years for an objective analysis and review of the quality of these medical tourism facilities. If a medical tourism facility in Thailand has the same high rating as an inbound medical tourism facility in the United States, we can gain a measure of comfort that the quality will be of a similar standard. In fact, anecdotal accounts of overseas medical tourism facilities tend to proclaim the excellence of care, the cleanliness of the facilities and the abundance of round the clock nursing care associated with these medical tourism facilities abroad.
Other reasons patients travel abroad for medical care is cost, immediate availability of treatment, treatments that are not readily available in the patients home country, new and experimental procedures and availability of donors for organ transplant patients.
Regardless of the reason patients are willing to visit medical tourism facilities, they must satisfy themselves that the quality is high, the cost is low and the actual performing surgeon has been duly certified by a reputable agency – in many cases, the doctors are US board certified and this obviously goes a great way towards increasing the comfort level of the patient.
In addition to the above solutions regarding increasing the comfort level of prospective medical tourists, there are a growing number of highly regarded US, UK, and other European hospital groups that are affiliated with as well as opening their own medical tourism facilities in foreign countries for the obvious benefits of cheap land, labor, services and the abundant supply of nursing which has become a significant problem for many western nations.
One of many examples of this kind of medical tourism facility is the Anadou Medical Center in Turkey has an affiliation relationship with Johns Hopkins whereby Medical second opinion, joint conferences, telemedicine and observership programs are utilized to bring Johns Hopkins know how to Anadolu.
Many other hospital groups have affiliations or hospitals abroad catering to medical tourists as well as local patients. These include: The Cleveland Clinic which owns facilities in Canada, Abu Dahbi and Vienna; Wockhardt India is affiliated with Harvard Medical School; Hospital Punta Pacifica in Panama City is also an affiliate of Johns Hopkins International; and the International Medical Center in Singapore is another affiliated hospital of Johns Hopkins. Dallas based International Hospital Corp. is building and operating hospitals in Mexico that meet American standards.
All of these groups are building relationships and institutions abroad designed to be medical tourism facilities and capitalize on the growing trend of increased medical tourism as well as the upwardly mobile spending power of developing countries.
It is clear that the credibility and quality of these medical tourism facilities continues to increase as well as the comfort level of patients willing to travel to these facilities. Once full acceptance of the medical tourism facilities becomes an established fact in the public perception as well as in the media, we can expect to see an explosive level of growth and visits to these medical tourism facilities.