Medical tourism is a term initially coined by travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly-growing practice of traveling to another country to obtain health care. More recently, the phrases global healthcare and medical journeys have emerged as synonyms.
Such services typically include elective procedures as well as complex specialized surgeries such as joint replacement (knee/hip), cardiac surgery, dental surgery, and cosmetic surgeries. The provider and customer use informal channels of communication-connection-contract, with less regulatory or legal oversight to assure quality and less formal recourse to reimbursement or redress, if needed. Leisure aspects typically associated with travel and tourism may be included on such medical travel trips.
A specialized subset of medical tourism is reproductive tourism, which is the practice of traveling abroad to undergo in-vitro fertilization and other assisted reproductive technology treatments.
The concept of medical tourism is not a new one. The first recorded instance of medical tourism dates back thousands of years to when Greek pilgrims traveled from all over the Mediterranean to the small territory in the Saronic Gulf called Epidauria. This territory was the sanctuary of the healing god Asklepios. Epidauria became the original travel destination for medical tourism.
Spa towns and sanitariums may be considered an early form of medical tourism. In eighteenth century England, for example, medtrotters visited spas because they were places with supposedly health-giving mineral waters, treating diseases from gout to liver disorders and bronchitis.
The cost of surgery in Bolivia, Argentina, Cuba, India, Thailand, Colombia, Philippines or South Africa can be one-tenth of what it is in the United States or Western Europe, and sometimes even less. A heart-valve replacement that would cost US$200,000 or more in the U.S., for example, goes for $10,000 in the Philippines and India-and that includes round-trip airfare and a brief vacation package. Similarly, a metal-free dental bridge worth $5,500 in the U.S. costs $500 in India or Bolivia and only $200 in the Philippines, a knee replacement in Thailand with six days of physical therapy costs about one-fifth of what it would in the States, and Lasik eye surgery worth $3,700 in the U.S. is available in many other countries for only $730. Cosmetic surgery savings are even greater: A full facelift that would cost $20,000 in the U.S. runs about $3,000 in Cuba, $2,700 in the Philippines or $2,500 in South Africa or $ 2,300 in Bolivia."
Easy Destination World City Travel Guide brings to you the most popular medical destination from around the world. These places are recommended by famous doctors and Health Departments of various countries on being less expansive with world standards medical facilities and specif field these countries are specialized in.