Medical Tourism and the Demand for Personalized Healthcare

The epitome suggesting increasing Public Expectation of Individualized Medical Care

Originally published by Illumination Curated on Medium

Photo by Nastya Dulhiier on Unsplash

Healthcare is personal; it has always been and will always stay that way. Human beings will do anything to recover from a disease, and more than ever, is prepared to live healthily and stay young. The desire to stay healthy and youthful is a phenomenon that perpetually thrives on personal expectations. And the advancing science and technology fuels that surge in objectives.

We all are patients by default; thus far, we are willing to find the best options we believe are the most appropriate. Although we often pursue our desires, we still repeatedly fail to get what we want, parallel to what we need at an affordable cost and comparable quality.

Limitations to how we would like to receive medical care are not always financial; neither is it merely about quality. It is continuously about options that are limited by economic, political, and social factors. Furthermore, it is about respecting individual opinions and a healthy doctor-patient relationship. It is even further about personalized medical care, something the population health system has perpetually flunked to offer during the last two centuries.

To fulfill the gap of expectation and limited options, patients even decide to travel. Because options vary from country to country and state to state, a patient may travel from underdeveloped to developed countries to receive quality care. In contrast, a patient living in a developed country may travel to a developing country for lower-cost services.

The Rising Statistics of the Medical Tourism Industry

People use medical tourism by traveling overseas with the primary intention to receive medical treatment that they cannot acquire in their home country for a diversity of reasons. In the past, medical tourism customarily referred to those who traveled from less-developed nations to major medical centers in developed nations for treatment unavailable at home. However, that is not exclusive to the case anymore. As mentioned earlier, millennials use medical tourism for many reasons, from cost to combining vacation and concierge service with the medical care they intend to receive.

Amid increasing consumerist attitudes and demand for options, the medical tourism market size and demand are rising. According to a recent estimate, the global medical tourism market size has been valued at $ 44.8 billion (2019). The expected market growth is estimated at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.1% from 2020 to 2027, at an accelerated pace over that period. Although lack of health coverage is a significant factor in the following trend, increasing demand for procedures such as gender reassignment operations, stem cell treatments, fertility treatment, dental restoration, and cosmetic surgery are typically not covered by insurance. That serves as a significant driving factor for the medical tourism market.

The availability of benefits, including better healthcare, the latest technologies, innovative medicines, modern devices, better hospitality, and personalized care, are market drivers.

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So drivers of the medical tourism market are forecasted by some scholars to be the growing compliance towards international standards of medical procedures, ease and affordability of international travel, Various packages, and discounts offered by the airline and travel companies to patients.

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The favorable exchange rates and economical prices, coupled with better hospitality services provided by the health tourism destination, will add to the affordability, thereby boosting the medical travel industry’s growth. Some of the additional market driving factors include but are not limited to the availability of high medical quality cardiovascular surgery, cosmetic surgery, orthopedic and dental surgery. As more sophisticated and effective quality medical procedures are being offered in developing countries at minimal cost, with significantly shorter waiting times, the demand for medical treatments among patients in foreign countries will increase in the future.