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The global medical tourism market is growing significantly due to high cost of healthcare expenditure in developed countries. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 750,000 U.S. people travel out of the country for medical care each year. In addition, rise in aging population, reduced cost of procedure in developing countries, and high standards of medical care at a reasonable price are expected to support the medical tourism market to grow in the coming years. Aging increases the risk of diseases, such as heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases and lifestyle associated diseases. According to the World Health Organization, the population of 60 years and above is expected to rise to 15% in 2050.
Moreover, government is taking various initiates to improve healthcare infrastructure and improve healthcare services in developing countries. So, government support and health insurance portability is further expected to support the medical tourism market to grow in the coming years. In addition, trusted international accreditation of clinics and hospitals are also supporting the growth of the global medical tourism market.
Medical tourism refers to travelling to another country for medical treatment. Patients may go for medical care to another country for a range of reason, such as decreased cost, or to receive a procedure or therapy not available in their country. Services ranging from essential treatment to different kind of alternative treatments are provided through medical tourism. Cosmetic surgery, orthopedic surgery, weight loss surgery, heart surgery, oncologic care, reproductive treatment and dental treatment are some of the common procedures that people undergo on medical tourism.
On the basis of treatment, the medical tourism market can be categorized as dental treatment, orthopedic treatment, cosmetic treatment, cardiovascular treatment, fertility treatment, and general treatment. Cosmetic treatment leads the medical tourism market by treatment type, as cosmetic surgery is costly and is not covered under the health insurance. The oncologic care segment is expected to grow with the highest rate in the coming years, due to rising incidence of cancer cases all over the world.
Some of the factors driving the growth of medical tourism market are long waiting time for the specialist appointment, geographic proximity, cultural similarities, and wider treatment options available in developing countries. However, medical mal-practice, problem in transfer of medical records and follow up care are some of the factors restraining the growth of the medical tourism market to some extent.
Medical tourism is promoted in countries such as Taiwan, Malaysia, Brazil, India, Singapore, Turkey, South Korea, and Mexico. India and Malaysia are expected to grow with the highest rate in the coming years, due to improving healthcare infrastructure, high healthcare standards with low cost, highly skilled professionals, cost effective treatment for several diseases, increasing government initiatives to improve medical services and availability of technologically advanced solutions for various conditions. Thailand is the most preferred destination among the Western European tourists for cosmetic surgery, and Singapore is specialized in complex procedures. Moreover, medical tourism in Malaysia is also emerging due to increasing government initiatives to improve medical services.
Some of the hospitals operating in the medical tourism market are Apollo Hospital Enterprise Limited, Asian Heart Institute, Bumrungrad International Hospital, Min-Sheng General Hospital, Min-Sheng General Hospital, KPJ Healthcare Berhad, Bangkok Hospital Medical Center, Fortis Health Ltd., Prince Court Medical Center, Samitivej Sukhumvit, and Raffles Medical Group.