The global medical tourism market is one of the fastest emerging markets and governments all over the world are actively promoting its expansion. This information has been shared by Fortune Business Insights in its report, titled “Medical Tourism Market Size, Share and Global Trend By Type (Domestic, International), By Treatment (Cosmetology, Dentistry, Cardiology, Orthopaedic surgery, Neurology, Oncology, Other), and Geography Forecast till 2026”. The report highlights the various aspects and advantages of the fledgling global medical tourism sector. Medical tourism can be understood as a form of globalization which involves travel across international borders to avail medical facilities in foreign destinations.
Medical tourism or travel has grabbed the interest of governments and medical professionals alike. Governments view medical exploratory activities as an opportunity to showcase their unique healthcare services; medical professionals seek newer frontiers to research alternative medicines and treatments for prevailing diseases. For example, homeopathy and Ayurveda in India offer effective alternative remedies to western allopathy. In the end, both parties inject the necessary fuel that will propel the global medical tourism market.
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A few of the leading companies Global Medical Tourism Market are,
- Bumrungrad International Hospital
- Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, Singapore
- Bangkok Chain Hospital
- KPJ Healthcare Bhd
- Apollo Research & Innovations (ARI) A Division of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited
- Fortis Healthcare
- Asian Heart Institute and Research Center
- Asklepios Kliniken GmbH and others.
Access to Low Cost Medication a Primary Driver for the Medical Tourism Industry
Developed countries such as the US are notorious for their expensive healthcare delivery systems. For example, in the US, a Harvard study showed that medical care is the US is unaffordable owing to inflated prices of drugs, high salaries of doctors, and high cost of hospital administration. Therefore, patients from such countries desperately search for destinations where healthcare is more affordable and accessible. Developing countries like India and Brazil offer the perfect solution and lay the foundations for the global medical tourism market to flourish. The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared Brazil as having the best healthcare delivery system in Latin America.
In addition to affordable medication, patient waiting time is also a key factor that explains the surge in the global medical tourism market. This boost in demand is mainly seen from patients in developed countries where the average patient waiting time is high as compared to countries like India. Other factors catalyzing the growth of the global medical tourism market include better patient comfort, advanced medical equipment, alternative treatment methods, and customized medical services.
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Slow Response Time Impedes the Growth of This Market
The global medical tourism market is affected by poor quality outcomes and poor and slow response times experienced by medical tourists. A lead analyst at Fortune Business Insights cites a research conducted by the Medical Tourism Association which states that about 44.9% of medical tourists reported of slow response time in hospitals. Furthermore, 14.3% of the tourists complained of poor quality outcomes. This does not bode well for the global medical tourism market as developing nations are likely to exhibit such results. The situation is exacerbated by poor communication and transport infrastructure along with barriers posed by language in these developing countries.
Dynamic Competition Accelerating Growth
Competition to extract the most out of the rapidly advancing global medical tourism market has grown exponentially. Research and development activities are being funded by private companies to maintain their edge in the market. For example, Clearbridge Health announced the building of a massive clinic in Hong Kong that will serve as a work floor for visiting medical specialists. In India, the southern state of Kerala is actively promoting health and medical tourism as an integral part of its tourism industry to attract foreign tourists. Such examples are proof that competition in the global medical tourism market is taking place not just between private players, but also in the public sector.
According to the report by Fortune Global Insights, the major players in the global medical tourism market include Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited and Asian Heart Institute in India, Asklepios Kliniken GmbH in Germany, Bumrungrad International Hospital in Thailand, among others.
The “Third World” Preference
According to a report by the US-based National Centre for Policy Analysis, India and Thailand are two of the most popular medical destinations among medical travellers. In case of India, the main reasons for this are low cost of medical services, easy prior availability of price information and a largely English speaking population. Thailand is equally popular and sometimes even preferred above India due to better infrastructure, despite the prices being not as low as India.
The chief region that will boost the global medical tourism market will be North America in the forecast period owing to growing demand for low cost healthcare and aging population. As seen through the examples of India and Thailand, the Asia-Pacific region holds unbound potential for the global medical tourism market in the coming decade. Germany and Turkey will also see expansion in their respective medical tourism sectors.
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