Medical Tourism is the term used for tourist patients who travel to another country for Medical treatment and for sightseeing. This practice has become popular in the last few years and the growth in Medical Tourism is expected to accelerate in the coming years.
Previously rich individuals from third world countries would visit Western hospitals for the best quality healthcare. Now the trend is reversing; patients from developed countries are coming to the developing countries for medical treatment. This trend reversal has happened for 2 primary reasons:
1] Health care services in third world countries that attract Medical Tourist (Thailand, India, Malaysia…) has improved tremendously over the last few years. This is especially true of the private sector hospitals and medical facilities in these countries. The gap between medical treatment in the developed and Medical Tourism attracting developing countries has closed significantly. Many doctors working in such facilities have worked in developed countries; an example of this is the US where 5% of all doctors are of Indian origin.
2] The second key factor is cost. Cost saving in treatment between developed and developing countries can be in the range of 60% to 90%. This has always been the case; but now the cost advantage is coupled with the vast improvement in quality which makes it an interesting proposition for patients.
Some other factors leading to the sharp growth in Medical Tourism are proactive measures taken by governments, long waiting lists for treatment (example: the long waiting period for a hip replacement in UK), steps taken by hospitals to advertise their services, special sections/departments in hospitals for foreign patients (including translators) and expatriate who prefer to get treatment in their country of origin. What to do at sentosa singapore
Natural and genuine doubts that most patients who want to travel for treatment experience are about the quality of healthcare (doctors, diagnosis, tests, hospitalization, surgery, recuperation, etc). One way of allaying these doubts is to get accredited by a globally acknowledged medical services accreditation agency.
WTO has identified accreditation as one of the mechanisms to promote universal acceptance of conformity assessment results. The British Medical Journal defines accreditation as “A self-assessment and external peer assessment process used by health care organizations to accurately assess their level of performance in relation to established standards and to implement ways to continuously improve”.
In addition to diagnosis and treatment, accreditation assessment is also done for training, education of staff members, clinical governance, clinical audit, research, ethical standards, hygiene, etc.
Even though there is no one global accreditation agency, the accreditation granted by US based Joint Commission International (JCI), is an important indicator of a medical service provider’s commitment to high-quality care and patient safety. The JCI is the best known accreditation group in the US. JCI has been inspecting and accrediting hospitals and health care facilities outside of the United States since 1999. UK based QHA Trent Accreditation, is another popular accreditation scheme. International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) ISO 9001:2000 series is a management tool that provides a comprehensive operational framework to achieve control and consistency in all aspects of business, from technical to administrative.