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Medical Tourism is the practice of traveling abroad to avail medical, dental, or surgical care. The demand for offshore treatment is all set to redefine the landscape of medical practice. As the average life span has seen an increase in the affluent societies, individuals have been compelled to resort to alternative methods to take an economic approach. Added to it are combinations of various factors, such as:
· Exorbitant costs of healthcare in industrialized nations
· The ease and affordability of traveling abroad
· Favorable currency exchange rates
· Rapidly improving medical technology and standards of care
· The ever-growing popularity of Internet
All these have led to the growth of the medical tourism market.
The horizons of health tourism are no more limited to traditional holiday destinations such as France and Spain. Eastern Europe has seen a huge increase in people arriving for treatment, particularly Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, while Britons are traveling to places as far-flung as Latin America, South Africa and South East Asia. With patients willing to travel across the globe to get treatment sooner and more cheaply than they could at home, healthcare institutions see a huge market for their services.
However, people traveling to far-off land should take necessary precautionary measures. They need to check out the doctors and hospitals before they part with any money. The Internet is a vast resource carrying information about practitioners’ skills and experience and the amenities available at the various healthcare institutions. Patients should also find out whether language can pose any problems or not. A thorough cost comparison is also an important issue to be put into the agenda. While there are some horror stories and quacks, the data are sparse and the evidence does not support any broad-based significant increase in risk.
India has emerged as one of the forerunners in facilitating medical tourism in the country. Now it is among the well-known nations throughout the world for high quality, low cost health care. Its health care system–with well-equipped modern clinics and hospitals, and medical personnel trained in the finest international teaching centers–provides excellent medical service to patients from abroad. Whether for elective procedures like cosmetic plastic surgery, dental surgery or life saving operations like bypass and heart transplants, the Indian healthcare community is experienced and ready to help.
Health tourism centers/clinics are actively seeking First World ”customers” by increasingly pursuing and adopting American and other international best practices to maintain the quality of services. With a large pool of highly trained doctors and low treatment prices, healthcare aims to replicate the Indian software sector’s success. Healthcare institutions in India are built on huge areas of land often acquired at low rents from ambitious authorities seeking to promote business. These new and sleek medical centers of excellence offer developed world-class treatments at developing world prices.