Medical Tourism: The Fastest Growing Segment

NeW Bureau

Today medical tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of healthcare throughout the world.  Many countries around the world have started promoting medical tourism to gain from this emerging market. It can be further defined as a balanced mix of destination’s natural and cultural environment with available medical treatments. Various promotional campaigns through internet by the hospitals have boosted the confidence of the foreign patients. For medical tourists it involves a particular medical treatment along with recovery in specific natural and cultural environment. Patients are more educated than ever and are going online to research information and are traveling to where they can get the best quality care at an affordable price.  Internet enabled significant cost savings for both the patients and the hospitals.

Earlier Patients regularly travelled to the West for advanced medical care, but now the trend is shifting in the opposite direction. Many people from Western countries now seek care outside of their country. Due to its speedy growth, medical tourism has developed from a niche market to a global industry. A combination of high costs of treatment procedures and long waiting lists in the west along with growth of the internet, relative affordability of international air travel and favourable exchange rates in the east, has made medical tourism an attractive option for prospective patients

Medical tourism as a progressive economic strategy is a rapidly growing, multibillion dollar global industry, which increases income in the destination countries. Satisfying the customers should be the prime objective for countries promoting medical tourism.  Many medical tourists are not wealthy, but are anyway looking for high quality medical service at affordable prices. To meet the demand, entrepreneurs are building technologically advanced facilities using the foreign and domestic capital. Thus the growth of global medical tourism in the recent years had spurred the interest of many governments to join in the bandwagon, particularly from Asia.

The concept of global outsourcing is escalating far beyond the information technology industry. In this rapidly growing consumer-oriented health industry, quality has become the integral part. Digital Health Knowledge Resources, Electronic Medical Record, Mobile Healthcare, Electronic Health Record, Hospital Information System, PRACTO, Technology-enabled care, telemedicine and Hospital Management Information Systems are some of the technologies gaining wide acceptance in the sector. Applying developmental strategies to this industry, in order to achieve developmental programs is essential.

Without providing quality services, no business can survive. Quality is a very important concern for patients while planning to get treatment. Creating differentiated medical tourism products based on comparative advantage over similar destinations may help to develop proper goals and strategies for medical tourism industry. To withstand the competition regularly the service providers should look for opportunities globally and provide quality service to the end users. Therefore, increased service quality together with better customer services and proper marketing strategies are of vital importance to attract and retain prospective medical tourists

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