Medical tourism (aka health tourism) has historically been defined as leaving your country of origin for the specific purpose of receiving healthcare in another country. The origins of this practice are rooted in what were considered countries with poor health care. Individuals would often leave their country in search of higher-quality medical care elsewhere.
What was once considered a journey of necessity has become a form of tourism – where can I receive the medical treatment I want or need while enjoying the sights and sounds of a new place?
This practice has now evolved into a full-fledged segment of the travel industry. People are traveling all over the globe in search of medical care for various reasons – lower costs, better quality, unique treatments, or to incorporate a vacation with their already planned recovery time.
Cost of Treatment
The high cost of healthcare is a primary driver of individuals traveling for medical treatments. This has changed the paradigm of medical tourism, to an extent. What was once a practice of people from underdeveloped countries has now become an option for those from countries known for their quality of care.
Healthcare costs in the United States and other developed countries continue to soar higher. Combined with an increase in the quality of care in other countries, medical tourism has become an opportunity for a niche industry that caters to individuals looking to lower their costs for specific procedures or treatments.
As countries, often those with weaker economies (meaning a lower GDP, not necessarily economic instability), see the influx of medical tourists’ dollars, a rise in intentional marketing to attract said tourists occurs. This is bringing a new income stream to these countries and encouraging further development of this travel market.
Quality of Treatment
The quality of care has two primary considerations – the equipment or technology used and the level of service provided.
This is an understandable barrier to the type of medical tourism discussed above. While cost is often an unfortunate factor in healthcare decisions, quality still rules the day. Improvements are being made in countries once known for their lower standards of medical care to accommodate this new revenue stream.
As countries have leapt into the medical tourism niche, so too have many accrediting bodies and major healthcare systems. These associations provide confidence for individuals traveling to countries who may not have been known for providing high-quality services or facilities in the past.
While cost and quality are significant considerations for those seeking to travel for medical procedures, one burgeoning aspect is the availability of certain treatments. We have all heard stories of people traveling to receive a novel treatment for diseases like cancer that are unavailable in the United States or other countries.
This new trend in seeking out specific, possibly novel healthcare treatments has led to a new form of domestic medical tourism. Individuals are taking journeys inside the United States to places that offer healthcare services unavailable to them near their homes.
For instance, the Boulder Longevity Institute has launched a Visit Us page that caters to those seeking medically managed peptide therapy, regenerative orthopaedic care, and other services that, while available in the United States, are not widely available in every city or state.
Making It a Vacation
Medical tourism has blossomed into a way for individuals to seek out the care they want or need while visiting somewhere that could be seen as a vacation destination.
Companies are offering medical vacation packages to visit locations once only known for their sights, but that now provide high-quality, cost-effective care.
Domestic healthcare providers, like the Boulder Longevity Institute, are curating pages that highlight what their region has to offer while providing innovative, expertly managed therapies and healthcare services not readily available everywhere in the United States.
Whether you are visiting a tropical paradise or friendly, active Boulder, Colorado, maybe your next vacation will have a healthcare-centered theme.