Saturday, February 23, 2008

Medical tourism, global medicine - Medical Tourism - For Real?

Is medical tourism – sparked by globalization, the Internet, and consumerism – for real? The jury is still out, but it is a trend worth watching.

I was speaking to a medical school classmate. He has been serving as an inspector for the Joint Commission. He tells me Joint Commission International is busy inspecting and accrediting hospitals abroad. These inspections are sparked by active promotion of medical tourism by travel agencies, “medical journey” companies, the mass media, and even by some U.S. employers, health plans, and consumer groups.

What are generally being promoted are package travel deals for elective procedures, joint replacement (hip/knee), cardiac surgery, dental surgery, and cosmetic surgeries. Favorite destinations include Hongkong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

Among most employers, medical tourism is a relatively new benefit, covered by only 11% of organizations. The differences in lowest U.S. prices and off-shore prices in high quality accredited foreign hospitals are more than 50%, but may be as much as 90%.

The uptake of medical tourism is slower than its promoters initially envisioned. It has a long way to go because of cultural differences, “fear of the unknown,” medical legal concerns, and employer PR fears. These hurdles will have to be overcome before medical tourism goes mainstream.


Wellington III said...

You can review medical tourism resources at

Eurohealth24 said...

As an alternative to third-world destinations offers orthopedic surgery for Americans in German hospitals. Thanks to Germany’s healthcare system, patients are provided with state-of-the-art surgery and extensive rehab. Surgeries such as hip and knee replacements usually cost between US$ 13,000 and US$ 15,000. While third-world destinations may offer similar surgery at lower prices, Americans benefit from Germany’s world-class medical community, legal system, safety and infrastructure while still saving significantly compared to U.S. prices. Last but not least, German hospitals offer an industry-leading rehabilitation period of approximately three weeks before releasing a patient - an important factor to consider before flying back home with a new joint... Sound interesting? Then contact us at