How Medical Tourism Spread
Medical tourism is now more popular than ever, with over 50 countries named as a hot destination and thousands of tourists flocking new places to visit and get treated. The concept is actually not a new one, since people from the ancient times used to move out of their place of origin to visit well-known healers and places in other countries. Today, you can get the advantages of getting the best medical help, plus a vacation to boot.
About the Concept
The first documented occasion of medical tourism was thousands of years ago when Greek pilgrims moved all throughout the Mediterranean towards Epidauria, a minor territory in the Saronic Gulf. The place was considered as the home of Asklepios, the god of healing. Epidauria was visited by thousands of people each year, for cases like fever, bone problems, heart ailments, skin disease and many more. It was the first travel destination of medical tourism.
Over the years, sanitariums and spa towns were also built and became the early types of medical tourism. Patients visited the spa towns during the 1700s to get mineral water that is believed to boost health and treat problems like bronchitis, gout and liver conditions.
Several factors triggered the vast popularity of medical tourism. Primarily the increasing cost of health care had people asking if there were other places where they can receive the same kind of treatment without the huge expense. The next was the very long waiting periods and several requirements before they can be treated or even diagnosed. Modern medical tourism destinations provide patients only a fraction of the cost they expect to pay at their local hospital.
They can also enjoy other state-of-the-art and quality accommodations, and get their dream vacation at the same time. Some destinations are known for treating patients like royalty, so everything will be taken care of. You will be provided with a complete schedule of activities, so you do not waste your time waiting in line or running everywhere to get the needed documents for the procedure.
Medical tourism continued to spread as the cost of international travel became much cheaper. The technology and care standards in several countries, especially in Asia have improved significantly in the past decade, making the institutions highly competitive against the best in the United States. Medical tourists usually come from the United States, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, because individuals from these places usually have more money to spend when visiting third world countries.
Medical tourism is expected to grow ten times more from 2007 to 2017. In the United States alone, over 750,000 people traveled abroad to get treated in 2007. Experts calculated 1.5 million Americans traveling in 2008 to get treatment abroad. The United Kingdom currently advertises more about medical tourism compared to the United States. Canadians preferred the very fast medical waiting period in other destinations. Some procedures are even more convenient when done outside the United States or Europe.
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