What is Medical Tourism?

Travel acquired for medical surgeries has formed a lucrative tourism attraction across the world which is termed as medical tourism. It has become a flourished industry, which contributed 9 percent of global GDP and provided 255 million jobs in 2011, as revealed by World Travel & Tourism Council.

Medical tourism is generally defined into three major categories: General, Cosmetic and Dental. Most popular and widely preferred medical travel has been acquired for cosmetic surgery since the advent of medical tourism. Travel to seek General care, such as spinal surgery, ophthalmologic procedures, eye surgery, organ transplant and knee or hip replacement is acquired as second most common medical travel while dental care forms an additional type of cosmetic implants.

The author of “Patients with Passports: Medical Tourism, Law, and Ethics” Law Professor Glenn Cohen of Harvard stated:

“Medical Tourism has made its place with significance since last 2 decades, especially in developing countries. The Revenues generated by this trade are staggering.”

Since 2008, Medical tourism has evolved with $120 billion global industry influencing consumers, medical professionals, suppliers, destinations, government & public sector and third party facilitators. It is a multidisciplinary field of study that represents sectors of tourism, hospitality, medicine, ethics, law, sociology and psychological grounds. The fast progression of budding industry has drawn the attention of global media towards the South Asia medical tourism.


8 Reasons Why Thailand Is Your Best Choice In Medical Tourism:

According to a survey conducted in 2012 by Nikko Asset Management, Asia has topped in gaining medical tourist attraction while Thailand has become world’s biggest medical tourism destination.  Thailand welcomes 3 million medical tourists every year to generate huge revenue of $3.73 billion. There are multiple reasons why patients are attracted to Thailand with such a huge magnitude. Some major advantages to visit Thailand for medical procedures are discussed below.

1.     Affordability


The most basic purpose to acquire medical tourism is the affordability of the procedure. Thailand medical processes and treatments are approx 40-70 percent cheaper than those offered in Australia and US. While the equivalent competency available in medical technology and facilities, the difference is solely because of the cost of labor. The massively affordable range of medical treatments draws huge number of medical tourists to the country. Provided with the growing global awareness on healthcare, this proves that cheaper in price doesn’t necessarily mean poor quality.

For instance, here is a comparison of different procedures on the basis of cost in Australia and Thailand,

  • Knee/hip replacement procedure cost in Australia is $25 thousand while in Thailand, it is charged with only $12 thousand.
  • A visit to dentist for filling in Australia would charge you $200, in Thailand it is done within $30.
  • Facelift is $10 thousand in Australia, which is done in only $4 thousand in Thailand.

These are the ground realities that changed the landscape of medical tourism, which is lured by cheaper costs and no wait list with far better technology and facilities provided.


2.     Regional Hub


Thailand shares the spotlight with Singapore, Malaysia and India to form a regional medical tourism hub. Since the most popular medical travel acquired is for cosmetic surgery, the medical professionals of Thailand’s have provided remarkable cosmetic procedures with affordability. The competition was launched to drive tourist traffic towards the region where Thailand is already considered as the industry leader in the region.

According to International Medical Tourism Journal, Malaysia and South Korea are examples where government level support has provided the industry to stand high while India is going low because the Indian government has demonstrated less interest in this sector. Being the global leader in the industry, Thailand has 30 healthcare organizations accredited by US based Joint Commission International which is the elite evaluator of global healthcare quality and safety.


3.     Highly Trained Doctors and Staff

Asian doctor standing at hospital corridor

The medical technology and training that is provided to medical professionals, surgeons, doctors, physicians and paramedical is adept and globally accepted. With a so high ratio of medical tourism, Thailand offers latest and safe procedures performed by licensed and accredited staff only. Most of the medical professionals are qualified by medical associations of US and/or more than two countries. The professionalism is undertaken by Thailand’s Medical Council, whose standard is a counterpart to the American Medical Association (AMA).


4.   Excellent Service


Amongst the most state of the art selective hospitals Phyathai Hospital and Bangkok Hospital are a major medical tourist attraction. Provided with excellent service, Thailand’s major hospitals caters their patient with 5 star amnesties during the stay.

Located in the largest cities of Thailand, these hospitals treated more than 1.5 million patients during 2013 from which 45 percent of these patients were international medical tourist.

“5-Star Services include”

  • Top of the line studio apartment size rooms for patient with free Wi-Fi, tastefully decorated living room, washroom and kitchen to stay with family or travel partner
  • Lounges that offer alcohol free drinks,
  • Check-in receptions with professional customer service,
  • In-house travel agent to cater visa extensions and
  • Translator services for international patients.

Medical Services offered are:

  • High-end medical equipments with state of the art Machineries, OT and efficiently skilled paramedics with a ratio of 4:1 which hugely differs from Australian nurse to patient ratio i.e. 8:1
  • Researched based and automated medical services for a wide range from cosmetic surgery to general and dental procedures as well as chronically ill patients with life-saving medical treatments
  • Thailand’s most advanced hospitals offer innovative Novalis-shaped Beam Surgery for Cancer treatment, also a less invasive open heart surgery known as OPCAB has successfully treated heart patients.
  • Sports injuries are well-taken care by a whole wing dedicated to this category where top sports celebrities got treatment for their injuries.

All hospitals in Thailand have already accomplished ISO 9001:2000 accreditation. Most hospitals have their personalized healthcare audit facility and own quality assurance departments to maintain the standard of healthcare services.


5.      Holistic & Alternative Treatment


A number of alternative treatments are also offered including holistic and complementary therapies from eastern and western ethnicities. The intention is to promote wellness and harmonious integration after surgery to body, mind and spirit. Some basic modalities include;

Acupuncture: Based on primeval wisdom of Chinese tradition, acupuncture is used for centuries to restore curative revitalization and vitalize energy flow within the body.

Facial Rejuvenation: This therapy tones up and stimulate facial muscles to oxygenate, nourish and wrinkle free rejuvenation.

Cupping: It is a very ancient technique that increases blood circulation and vitalize energy of body organs.

Moxibustion: Balmy herbs are used to enhance healing of chronic injuries as well as general vitality to augment immunity and overall health.

Tui Na Chinese medicated massage: It is performed with deep pressure and periodic techniques to flow vitality in energy pathways and pressure points. It is a form of ancient style physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathic remedy which removes structural imbalances and energy blockage from the body.


6.     Bundling Service


These services are offered with a complete package of specialized treatment in major hospitals of Thailand. The hospitals offer more than 35 specialties and treat 1 million international patients on average per annum.

For instance, dental implants are offered with discounted dental cosmetic treatments with free dental consultation. Similarly, all medical treatments are offered with exciting offers and carried out under expert medical professionals and well-equipped medical facilities. These are the chief reasons of making Thailand a major medical tourism hub of South Asia.


7.     Fewer Procedure in Country Entrance


Thailand’s medical system offers expert procedures than other Asian countries which are sometimes turned out to be totally unmanageable results. Thailand offers its Medical tourists to stay with Visa exemption, which means they can stay up to 30 days without a visa; they just require a passport that is valid for six months. Medical travelers can even apply for a visa upon their arrival. This system has made an easy access to utilize medical treatments in Thailand without any delayed waiting lists.


8.     Tourist Destination


Thailand has multiple tourist attraction which has already drawn tourists from across the world. Its warm weather, effective tourism infrastructure, world famous Thai cuisine and exotic islands and sun-kissed beaches are always a great attraction for tourists from Europe, US and Australia especially. It is also an aviation hub in the south Asian region with all major international destinations aviation on a daily basis.


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