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Why Patients Are Turning to Medical Tourism

Statistics, Benefits, and Risks

Planning Ahead

Frequently asked questions.

Medical tourism is a term that refers to traveling to another country to get a medical or dental procedure. In some instances, medical tourists travel abroad seeking alternative treatments that are not approved in the United States.

Medical tourism is successful for millions of people each year, and it is on the rise for a variety of reasons, including increasing healthcare costs in the United States, lack of health insurance, specialist-driven procedures, high-quality facilities, and the opportunity to travel before or after a medical procedure.

According to a New York Times article from January 2021, pent-up demand for nonessential surgeries, as well as the fact that many Americans lost their health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic led to a surge in medical tourism once other countries re-opened.

However, there are specific risks that come with traveling overseas for surgery. If you're thinking of pursuing a medical procedure in another country, here's what to know about the benefits and the risks.

Medical Tourism Benefits

The most common procedures Americans go abroad for include dental care, cosmetic procedures , fertility treatments, organ transplants , and cancer treatment.

This is not to be confused with having an unplanned procedure in a foreign country due to an unexpected illness or injury.

Among the reasons a person might choose to go abroad for a medical procedure are:

Lower Costs

Medical tourists can save anywhere from 25% to 90% in medical bills, depending on the procedure they get and the country they travel to. There are several factors that play into this:

  • The cost of diagnostic testing and medications is particularly expensive in the United States.
  • The cost of pre- and post-procedure labor is often dramatically lower overseas. This includes labor costs for nurses , aides, surgeons , pharmacists, physical therapists , and more.
  • High cost of malpractice insurance—the insurance that protects medical professionals against lawsuits—in the United States.
  • Hospital stays cost far less in many overseas countries compared to the United States. In other words, quality care, hospital meals, and rehabilitation are far more affordable abroad for many people.

For someone who doesn't have insurance , or someone having a procedure that is not covered by insurance , the difference can be enormous.

Popular Countries for Medical Tourism

Dominican Republic

South Korea

Culture and Language

Many immigrants prefer to have treatments and procedures done in their country of origin—a sensible decision, considering just how much language barriers alone can affect the quality of their care.

Furthermore, at least 25% of immigrants and noncitizen residents in the United States are uninsured, compared to 9% of American citizens. Children with at least one noncitizen parent are also more likely to be uninsured.

Practicalities aside, many people choose to have their procedure done in their country of origin simply because it allows them to be close to family, friends, and caretakers who can assist them through their recovery .

Insurance Incentives

Some insurance companies have started promoting medical tourism. The reason behind this is simple: savings for the insured means savings for the insurance provider and vice versa.

Several insurance providers, including Aetna have programs specifically geared at promoting safe medical tourism. Some insurance providers even offer financial incentives for medical tourism, like discounts on medical bills .

That said, many insurance companies will not pay for surgery performed outside of the country unless it is an emergency.

Luxury and Privacy

Medical tourism is a lucrative business for many countries, and much of the money brought in by medical tourists is reinvested into the local economy and health infrastructure.

The effect of this is apparent in the spa-like luxury that some foreign hospitals offer, providing medical tourists the opportunity to be pampered during their stay for a fraction of the cost they would pay at home.

Some facilities offer hospital rooms that are more like a hotel suite than a traditional hospital room. Other hospitals offer one-on-one private nursing care, which is far more generous and attentive than the staffing ratios that most hospitals allow.

Medical tourists who seek that added layer of privacy can find it abroad. Many can return home from their "vacation" without anyone knowing they had a procedure at all.

Vacation in a Foreign Country

Medical tourists often take advantage of their stay in a foreign country to travel for pleasure by scheduling a vacation before or after their procedure.

This is an especially inexpensive way to travel to a foreign country, especially if their insurance provider is paying for the flight and the cost of staying is low. 

While it seems logical to recover on a beach or in a chalet by the mountains, keep in mind that it's important not to jeopardize your recovery.

Swimming isn't recommended until your incisions are completely closed. You may not feel up to doing much more than napping in the days following your procedure, either.

Don't let your vacation disrupt your recovery. Any time you have a procedure done, especially a surgery, it's important to listen to your body, take your medications as directed, and follow your doctor's recommendations closely.

Bypassing Rules and Regulations

Some travelers seek surgery abroad to bypass rules that are set in place by their own government, insurance company , or hospital. These rules are typically in place to protect the patient from harm, so getting around them isn't always the best idea.

For example, a patient may be told that their weight is too low to qualify for weight loss surgery . A surgeon in a foreign country may have a different standard for who qualifies for weight loss surgery, so the patient may qualify overseas for the procedure they want.

Talented Surgeons

Surgeons in certain countries are known for their talent in a specific area of surgery. For example, Brazilian surgeons are often touted for their strong plastic surgery skills .

Whereas in the United States, insurance companies might only cover cosmetic procedures if it is medically necessary, cosmetic surgery is often free or low-cost in Brazil's public hospitals—giving cosmetic surgeons there ample practice.

Thailand is reported to be the primary medical tourism destination for individuals seeking gender reassignment . It is often easier to qualify for surgery and the cost is significantly reduced. Surgeons are performing the procedures frequently, and as a result, many have become quite specialized in them.

It is often surprising to many medical tourists that their physician was trained in the United States. Not all physicians are, of course, but a surprisingly high percentage of them working in surgery abroad are trained in English-speaking medical schools and residency programs and then return to their home country. These physicians often speak multiple languages and may be board certified in their home country and a foreign country, such as the United States.

Medical tourism isn’t limited to countries outside of the United States, either. Many people travel to the United States for medical care due to the country's cutting-edge technology, prescription medication supply, and the general safety of healthcare.

Medical Tourism Risks

The financial and practical benefits of medical tourism are well known, and you may even know someone who had a great experience. Nonetheless, the downsides of medical tourism can be just as great if not greater. Sometimes, they can even be deadly.

If you are considering a trip abroad for your procedure, you should know that medical tourism isn't entirely without obstacle and risks. These include:

Poorly Trained Surgeons

In any country—the United States included—there will be good surgeons and bad. And just as there are great surgeons abroad, there are also some surgeons who are less talented, less trained, and less experienced.

Regardless of what procedure you are getting or where, you should always do some preliminary research into the surgeon or physician who will be treating you as well as the hospital you will be treated at.

In the United States, it is fairly easy to obtain information about malpractice lawsuits , sanctions by medical boards, and other disciplinary actions against a physician.

Performing this research from afar can be challenging, especially if you don't speak the local language. Yet countless people take the risk anyway, without knowing whether the physicians who will treat them are reputable.

A physician should be trained in the specific area of medicine that is appropriate for your procedure. For example, you should not be having plastic surgery from a surgeon who was trained to be a heart doctor. It isn’t good enough to be a physician, the physician must be trained in the specialty .

Prior to agreeing to surgery, you should also know your surgeon’s credentials : where they studied, where they trained, and in what specialty(s) they are board-certified. Do not rely on testimonials from previous patients; these are easily made up for a website and even if they are correct, one good surgery doesn’t mean they will all be successful.

Quality of Staff

Nurses are a very important part of healthcare, and the care they provide can mean the difference between a great outcome and a terrible one.

A well-trained nurse can identify a potential problem and fix it before it truly becomes an issue. A poorly trained nurse may not identify a problem until it is too late. The quality of the nursing staff will have a direct impact on your care.

Once again, it's important to research the hospital staff where you will be having your procedure done. Read the reviews but don't trust them blindly. If you can, seek out a recommendation from someone who can vouch for the medical staff where you will be going.

Quality of the Facility

While researching healthcare facilities for your procedure, you want to learn not just about the quality of the facilities themselves, but about the country's healthcare system as a whole.

In some countries, there is a marked distinction between public hospitals and private hospitals. In Turkey, for example, private hospitals are considered on-par with hospitals in the states, while many locals will advise you to steer clear of public hospitals if you can.

You will also want to seek out facilities that are internationally accredited. In the United States, the Joint Commission evaluates hospitals and certifies those that provide safe, quality care. The international division does the same for hospitals outside the United States.

Once you have a few options for potential facilities, you can start to investigate specifics. For one, you should find as many pictures and reviews of the facility as you can. Ask yourself whether the facility is state of the art or whether it seems dirty and outdated.

You will also need to find out if the facility has ICU level care available, in case something goes wrong. If not, there should be a major hospital nearby so that you can be transferred quickly.

To learn more about a healthcare facility, consider joining expat groups on social media for the city or country you will be traveling to. Ask the group for recommendations, or inquire about any positive or negative experiences they may have had at a particular facility.

Flying Home After Surgery

Any surgery comes with risks, including infection and blood clots . Flying home increases the risk of blood clots, especially on long-haul flights that are longer than four hours.

Try to avoid flying home in the days immediately after surgery; waiting a week will decrease the chances of developing a blood clot or another serious complication during the flight.

For longer flights, plan on getting up and walking up and down the aisles each hour to improve blood flow in your legs. You might also benefit from wearing compression socks with your doctor's approval.

If you are taking blood thinners or are at-risk of blood clots , be sure to talk to your doctor about how you can reduce your risk of blood clots after your procedure and while traveling.

Furthermore, you should know the symptoms of blood clots and stay alert.

Unplanned Illness

Any time you travel abroad, you run the risk of catching an illness that you have never been exposed to or that your body is not prepared to fight off. This is especially a concern when spending time in a foreign hospital.

If you have a sensitive stomach, you may also want to think long and hard about having surgery abroad. The food is often very different in foreign hospitals, and in some areas, there is a risk that even the water will be upsetting to your body.

Having diarrhea or postoperative nausea and vomiting makes for a miserable recovery experience, especially if you do not have a friend or family member nearby who can help you through it.

Before you travel abroad, check with your doctor to see if you need any vaccines to travel to your destination or if there are any foreign illnesses you should be aware of. Picking up an illness abroad, particularly after your surgery, can potentially be life-threatening.

Language Barriers

If you are having surgery in a country where English is not the primary language, you will need to make preparations in order to be able to communicate with the staff.

You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the staff speaks your primary language well. If not, then you will need to consider how you will make your wishes and needs known to the surgeon, the staff, and others you will meet.

Whether you are at home or abroad, remember to speak up and advocate for yourself to make sure your needs are met. If you don't speak the local language, download a language translation app on your smartphone and don't hesitate to use it to communicate your needs. Hiring a translator is another option.

A Word About Transplant Tourism

Transplant tourism is one area of medical tourism that is strongly discouraged by organ and tissue transplant professionals in multiple countries. Most international transplants are considered “black market” surgeries that are not only poor in quality, but ethically and morally wrong.

China, for example, the country that is believed to perform more international kidney transplants than any other country, is widely believed to take organs from political prisoners after their execution.

In India, living donors are often promised large sums of money for their kidney donation, only to find out they have been scammed and never receive payment. Selling an organ in India is illegal, as it is in most areas of the world, so there is little recourse for the donor.

Then there is the final outcome: how well the organ works after the surgery is complete. With black market transplants, less care is often taken with matching the donor and recipient, which leads to high levels of rejection and a greater risk of death. Furthermore, the new organ may not have been screened for diseases such as cytomegalovirus , tuberculosis , hepatitis B , and hepatitis C . It is often the new disease that leads to death, rather than the organ rejection itself.

Finally, transplant surgeons are often reluctant to care for a patient who intentionally circumvented the donor process in the United States and received their transplant from an unknown physician.

It is important to arrange your follow-up care prior to leaving your home country.

Many physicians and surgeons are hesitant to take care of a patient who received care outside the country, as they are often unfamiliar with medical tourism and have concerns about the quality of care overseas.

Arranging for follow-up care before you leave will make it easier to transition to care at home without the stress of trying to find a physician after surgery .

Just be sure to inform your follow-up care physician where you are having your procedure done. After you return, they will also want to know what prescription medications you were given, if any.

What are popular countries for medical tourism? 

Mexico, India, Costa Rica, Turkey, Singapore, Canada, and Thailand are among the many countries that are popular for medical tourism.

How safe is medical tourism?

Medical tourism is generally considered safe, but it's critical to research the quality of care, physician training, and surgical specialties of each country. There are several medical tourism organizations that specialize in evaluating popular destinations for this purpose.

What countries have free healthcare? 

Countries with free healthcare include England, Canada, Thailand, Mexico, India, Sweden, South Korea, Israel, and many others.

A Word From Verywell

If you are considering medical tourism, discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor, and consider working with your insurance provider to arrange a trip that balances financial savings with safety. (Also, before you embark on a trip overseas for your procedure, make sure you are financially prepared for unexpected events and emergencies. Don't go abroad if you don't have enough money to get yourself home in a crisis.)

A medical tourism organization such as Patients Without Borders can help you evaluate the quality and trustworthiness of healthcare in various countries. Making sure a high level of care is readily available will lead to a safer, more relaxing experience.

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Medical Tourism: Getting medical care in another country . Updated October 23, 2017.

University of the Incarnate Word. Center for Medical Tourism Research .

Patients Beyond Borders. Facts and figures .

Kaiser Family Foundation. Health coverage of immigrants . Published July 2021.

Paul DP 3rd, Barker T, Watts AL, Messinger A, Coustasse A. Insurance companies adapting to trends by adopting medical tourism . Health Care Manag (Frederick). 2017 Oct/Dec;36(4):326-333. doi: 10.1097/HCM.0000000000000179

Batista BN. State of plastic surgery in Brazil .  Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open . 2017 Dec;5(12):1627. doi:10.1097/GOX.0000000000001627

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health - Global Health Now. Brazilians' risky right to beauty . Published May 2018.

Chokrungvaranont P, Selvaggi G, Jindarak S, et al. The development of sex reassignment surgery in Thailand: a social perspective .  Sci World J . 2014 Mar;2014(1):1-5. doi:10.1155/2014/182981

The Joint Commission. For consumers .

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Blood clots and travel: what you need to know . Reviewed February 2021.

Hurley R. China harvested organs from political prisoners on substantial scale, says tribunal . BMJ . 2018 Dec;363(1):5250. doi:10.1136/bmj.k5250

Ambagtsheer F, Van Balen L. I'm not Sherlock Holmes: suspicions, secrecy, and silence of transplant professionals in the human organ trade . Euro J Criminol . 2019 Jan;17(6):764-783. doi:10.1177/1477370818825331

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Transplant Surgery. Key facts . Reviewed January 2019.

By Jennifer Whitlock, RN, MSN, FN Jennifer Whitlock, RN, MSN, FNP-C, is a board-certified family nurse practitioner. She has experience in primary care and hospital medicine.

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  • Section 6 - Perspectives : Avoiding Poorly Regulated Medicines & Medical Products During Travel
  • Section 7 - Pregnant Travelers

Medical Tourism

Cdc yellow book 2024.

Author(s): Matthew Crist, Grace Appiah, Laura Leidel, Rhett Stoney

  • Categories Of Medical Tourism

The Pretravel Consultation

Risks & complications, risk mitigation, additional guidance for us health care providers.

Medical tourism is the term commonly used to describe international travel for the purpose of receiving medical care. Medical tourists pursue medical care abroad for a variety of reasons, including decreased cost, recommendations from friends or family, the opportunity to combine medical care with a vacation destination, a preference to receive care from a culturally similar provider, or a desire to receive a procedure or therapy not available in their country of residence.

Medical tourism is a worldwide, multibillion-dollar market that continues to grow with the rising globalization of health care. Surveillance data indicate that millions of US residents travel internationally for medical care each year. Medical tourism destinations for US residents include Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Singapore, and Thailand. Categories of procedures that US medical tourists pursue include cancer treatment, dental care, fertility treatments, organ and tissue transplantation, and various forms of surgery, including bariatric, cosmetic, and non-cosmetic (e.g., orthopedic).

Most medical tourists pay for their care at time of service and often rely on private companies or medical concierge services to identify foreign health care facilities. Some US health insurance companies and large employers have alliances with health care facilities outside the United States to control costs.

Categories of Medical Tourism

Cosmetic tourism.

Cosmetic tourism, or travel abroad for aesthetic surgery, has become increasingly popular. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reports that most cosmetic surgery patients are women 40–54 years old. The most common procedures sought by cosmetic tourists include abdominoplasty, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, liposuction, and rhinoplasty. Popular destinations often are marketed to prospective medical tourists as low cost, all-inclusive cosmetic surgery vacations for elective procedures not typically covered by insurance. Complications, including infections and surgical revisions for unsatisfactory results, can compound initial costs.

Non-Cosmetic Medical Tourism

Cancer treatment.

Oncology, or cancer treatment, tourism often is pursued by people looking for alternative treatment options, better access to care, second opinions, or a combination of these. Oncology tourists are a vulnerable patient population because the fear caused by a cancer diagnosis can lead them to try potentially risky treatments or procedures. Often, the treatments or procedures used abroad have no established benefit, placing the oncology tourist at risk for harm due to complications (e.g., bleeding, infection) or by forgoing or delaying approved therapies in the United States.

Dental Care

Dental care is the most common form of medical tourism among US residents, in part due to the rising cost of dental care in the United States; a substantial proportion of people in the United States do not have dental insurance or are underinsured. Dentists in destination countries might not be subject to the same licensure oversight as their US counterparts, however. In addition, practitioners abroad might not adhere to standard infection-control practices used in the United States, placing dental tourists at a potential risk for infection due to bloodborne or waterborne pathogens.

Fertility Treatments

Fertility tourists are people who seek reproductive treatments in another country. Some do so to avoid associated barriers in their home country, including high costs, long waiting lists, and restrictive policies. Others believe they will receive higher quality care abroad. People traveling to other countries for fertility treatments often are in search of assisted reproductive technologies (e.g., artificial insemination by a donor, in vitro fertilization). Fertility tourists should be aware, however, that practices can vary in their level of clinical expertise, hygiene, and technique.

Physician-Assisted Suicide

The practice of a physician facilitating a patient’s desire to end their own life by providing either the information or the means (e.g., medications) for suicide is illegal in most countries. Some people consider physician-assisted suicide (PAS) tourism, also known as suicide travel or suicide tourism, as a possible option. Most PAS tourists have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or suffer from painful or debilitating medical conditions. PAS is legal in Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and New Zealand, making these the destinations selected by PAS travelers.

Rehab Tourism for Substance Use Disorders

Rehab tourism involves travel to another country for substance use disorder treatment and rehabilitation care. Travelers exploring this option might be seeking a greater range of treatment options at less expense than what is available domestically (see Sec. 3, Ch. 5, Substance Use & Substance Use Disorders , and Box 3-10 for pros and cons of rehab tourism).

Transplant Procedures

Transplant tourism refers to travel for receiving an organ, tissue, or stem cell transplant from an unrelated human donor. The practice can be motivated by reduced cost abroad or an effort to reduce the waiting time for organs. Xenotransplantation refers to receiving other biomaterial (e.g., cells, tissues) from nonhuman species, and xenotransplantation regulations vary from country to country. Many procedures involving injection of human or nonhuman cells have no scientific evidence to support a therapeutic benefit, and adverse events have been reported.

Depending on the location, organ or tissue donors might not be screened as thoroughly as they are in the United States; furthermore, organs and other tissues might be obtained using unethical means. In 2009, the World Health Organization released the revised Guiding Principles on Human Cell, Tissue, and Organ Transplantation, emphasizing that cells, tissues, and organs should be donated freely, in the absence of any form of financial incentive.

Studies have shown that transplant tourists can be at risk of receiving care that varies from practice standards in the United States. For instance, patients might receive fewer immunosuppressive drugs, increasing their risk for rejection, or they might not receive antimicrobial prophylaxis, increasing their risk for infection. Traveling after a procedure poses an additional risk for infection in someone who is immunocompromised.

Ideally, medical tourists will consult a travel medicine specialist for travel advice tailored to their specific health needs 4–6 weeks before travel. During the pretravel consultation, make certain travelers are up to date on all routine vaccinations, that they receive additional vaccines based on destination, and especially encourage hepatitis B virus immunization for unvaccinated travelers (see Sec. 2, Ch. 3, Vaccination & Immunoprophylaxis & General Principles , and Sec. 5, Part 2, Ch. 8, Hepatitis B ). Counsel medical tourists that participating in typical vacation activities (e.g., consuming alcohol, participating in strenuous activity or exercise, sunbathing, swimming, taking long tours) during the postoperative period can delay or impede healing.

Advise medical tourists to also meet with their primary care provider to discuss their plan to seek medical care outside the United States, to address any concerns they or their provider might have, to ensure current medical conditions are well controlled, and to ensure they have a sufficient supply of all regular medications to last the duration of their trip. In addition, medical tourists should be aware of instances in which US medical professionals have elected not to treat medical tourists presenting with complications resulting from recent surgery, treatment, or procedures received abroad. Thus, encourage medical tourists to work with their primary care provider to identify physicians in their home communities who are willing and available to provide follow-up or emergency care upon their return.

Remind medical tourists to request copies of their overseas medical records in English and to provide this information to any health care providers they see subsequently for follow-up. Encourage medical tourists to disclose their entire travel history, medical history, and information about all surgeries or medical treatments received during their trip.

All medical and surgical procedures carry some risk, and complications can occur regardless of where treatment is received. Advise medical tourists not to delay seeking medical care if they suspect any complication during travel or after returning home. Obtaining immediate care can lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment and a better outcome.

Among medical tourists, the most common complications are infection related. Inadequate infection-control practices place people at increased risk for bloodborne infections, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV; bloodstream infections; donor-derived infections; and wound infections. Moreover, the risk of acquiring antibiotic-resistant infections might be greater in certain countries or regions; some highly resistant bacterial (e.g., carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales [CRE]) and fungal (e.g., Candida auris ) pathogens appear to be more common in some countries where US residents travel for medical tourism (see Sec. 11, Ch. 5, Antimicrobial Resistance ).

Several infectious disease outbreaks have been documented among medical tourists, including CRE infections in patients undergoing invasive medical procedures in Mexico, surgical site infections caused by nontuberculous mycobacteria in patients who underwent cosmetic surgery in the Dominican Republic, and Q fever in patients who received fetal sheep cell injections in Germany.

Noninfectious Complications

Medical tourists have the same risks for noninfectious complications as patients receiving medical care in the United States. Noninfectious complications include blood clots, contour abnormalities after cosmetic surgery, and surgical wound dehiscence.

Travel-Associated Risks

Traveling during the post-operative or post-procedure recovery period or when being treated for a medical condition could pose additional risks for patients. Air travel and surgery independently increase the risk for blood clots, including deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary emboli (see Sec. 8, Ch. 3, Deep Vein Thrombosis & Pulmonary Embolism ). Travel after surgery further increases the risk of developing blood clots because travel can require medical tourists to remain seated for long periods while in a hypercoagulable state.

Commercial aircraft cabin pressures are roughly equivalent to the outside air pressure at 6,000–8,000 feet above sea level. Medical tourists should not fly for 10 days after chest or abdominal surgery to avoid risks associated with changes in atmospheric pressure. ASPS recommends that patients undergoing laser treatments or cosmetic procedures to the face, eyelids, or nose, wait 7–10 days after the procedure before flying. The Aerospace Medical Association published medical guidelines for air travel that provide useful information on the risks for travel with certain medical conditions.

Professional organizations have developed guidance, including template questions, that medical tourists can use when discussing what to expect with the facility providing the care, with the group facilitating the trip, and with their own domestic health care provider. For instance, the American Medical Association developed guiding principles on medical tourism for employers, insurance companies, and other entities that facilitate or incentivize medical care outside the United States ( Box 6-07 ). The American College of Surgeons (ACS) issued a similar statement on medical and surgical tourism, with the additional recommendation that travelers obtain a complete set of medical records before returning home to ensure that details of their care are available to providers in the United States, which can facilitate continuity of care and proper follow-up, if needed.

Box 6-07 American Medical Association’s guiding principles on medical tourism 1

  • Employers, insurance companies, and other entities that facilitate or incentivize medical care outside the United States should adhere to the following principles:
  • Receiving medical care outside the United States must be voluntary.
  • Financial incentives to travel outside the United States for medical care should not inappropriately limit the diagnostic and therapeutic alternatives that are offered to patients or restrict treatment or referral options.
  • Patients should only be referred for medical care to institutions that have been accredited by recognized international accrediting bodies (e.g., the Joint Commission International or the International Society for Quality in Health Care).
  • Prior to travel, local follow-up care should be coordinated, and financing should be arranged to ensure continuity of care when patients return from medical care outside the United States.
  • Coverage for travel outside the United States for medical care should include the costs of necessary follow-up care upon return to the United States.
  • Patients should be informed of their rights and legal recourse before agreeing to travel outside the United States for medical care.
  • Access to physician licensing and outcome data, as well as facility accreditation and outcomes data, should be arranged for patients seeking medical care outside the United States.
  • The transfer of patient medical records to and from facilities outside the United States should be consistent with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Action (HIPAA) guidelines.
  • Patients choosing to travel outside the United States for medical care should be provided with information about the potential risks of combining surgical procedures with long flights and vacation activities.

1 American Medical Association (AMA). New AMA Guidelines on Medical Tourism . Chicago: AMA; 2008.

Reviewing the Risks

Multiple resources are available for providers and medical tourists assessing medical tourism–related risks (see Table 6-02 ). When reviewing the risks associated with seeking health care abroad, encourage medical tourists to consider several factors besides the procedure; these include the destination, the facility or facilities where the procedure and recovery will take place, and the treating provider.

Make patients aware that medical tourism websites marketing directly to travelers might not include (or make available) comprehensive details on the accreditations, certifications, or qualifications of advertised facilities or providers. Local standards for facility accreditation and provider certification vary, and might not be the same as those in the United States; some facilities and providers abroad might lack accreditation or certification. In some locations, tracking patient outcome data or maintaining formal medical record privacy or security policies are not standard practices.

Medical tourists also should be aware that the drugs and medical products and devices used in other countries might not be subject to the same regulatory scrutiny and oversight as in the United States. In addition, some drugs could be counterfeit or otherwise ineffective because the medication expired, is contaminated, or was improperly stored (for more details, see the previous chapter in this section, . . . perspectives: Avoiding Poorly Regulated Medicines & Medical Products During Travel ).

Table 6-02 Online medical tourism resources

Checking credentials.

ACS recommends that medical tourists use internationally accredited facilities and seek care from providers certified in their specialties through a process equivalent to that established by the member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties. Advise medical tourists to do as much advance research as possible on the facility and health care provider they are considering using. Also, inform medical tourists that accreditation does not guarantee a good outcome.

Accrediting organizations (e.g., The Joint Commission International, Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care) maintain listings of accredited facilities outside of the United States. Encourage prospective medical tourists to review these sources before committing to having a procedure or receiving medical care abroad.

ACS, ASPS, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery all accredit physicians abroad. Medical tourists should check the credentials of health care providers with search tools provided by relevant professional organizations.

Travel Health Insurance

Before travel, medical tourists should check their domestic health insurance plan carefully to understand what services, if any, are covered outside the United States. Additionally, travelers might need to purchase supplemental medical insurance coverage, including medical evacuation insurance; this is particularly important for travelers going to remote destinations or places lacking medical facilities that meet the standards found in high-income countries (see Sec. 6, Ch. 1, Travel Insurance, Travel Health Insurance & Medical Evacuation Insurance ). Medical tourists also should be aware that if complications develop, they might not have the same legal recourse as they would if they received their care in the United States.

Planning for Follow-Up Care

Medical tourists and their domestic physicians should plan for follow-up care. Patients and clinicians should establish what care will be provided abroad, and what the patient will need upon return. Medical tourists should make sure they understand what services are included as part of the cost for their procedures; some overseas facilities and providers charge substantial fees for follow-up care in addition to the base cost. Travelers also should know whether follow-up care is scheduled to occur at the same facility as the procedure.

Health care facilities in the United States should have systems in place to assess patients at admission to determine whether they have received medical care in other countries. Clinicians should obtain an explicit travel history from patients, including any medical care received abroad. Patients who have had an overnight stay in a health care facility outside the United States within 6 months of presentation should be screened for CRE. Admission screening is available free of charge through the Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network .

Notify state and local public health as soon as medical tourism–associated infections are identified. Returning patients often present to hospitals close to their home, and communication with public health authorities can help facilitate outbreak recognition. Health care facilities should follow all disease reporting requirements for their jurisdiction. Health care facilities also should report suspected or confirmed cases of unusual antibiotic resistance (e.g., carbapenem-resistant organisms, C. auris ) to public health authorities to facilitate testing and infection-control measures to prevent further transmission. In addition to notifying the state or local health department, contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at [email protected] to report complications related to medical tourism.

The following authors contributed to the previous version of this chapter: Isaac Benowitz, Joanna Gaines


Adabi K, Stern C, Weichman K, Garfein ES, Pothula A, Draper L, et al. Population health implications of medical tourism. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017;140(1):66–74.

Al-Shamsi, H, Al-Hajelli, M, Alrawi, S. Chasing the cure around the globe: medical tourism for cancer care from developing countries. J Glob Onc. 2018;4:1–3.

Kracalik I, Ham C, Smith AR, Vowles M, Kauber K, Zambrano M, et al. (2019). Notes from the field: Verona integron-encoded metallo-β-lactamase–producing carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in U.S. residents associated with invasive medical procedures in Mexico, 2015–2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019;68(20):463–4.

Pavli A, Maltezou HC. Infectious complications related to medical tourism. J Travel Med. 2021;28(1):taaa210.

Pereira RT, Malone CM, Flaherty GT. Aesthetic journeys: a review of cosmetic surgery tourism. J Travel Med. 2018;25(1):tay042.

Robyn MP, Newman AP, Amato M, Walawander M, Kothe C, Nerone JD, et al. Q fever outbreak among travelers to Germany who received live cell therapy & United States and Canada, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015;64(38):1071–3.

Salama M, Isachenko V, Isachenko E, Rahimi G, Mallmann P, Westphal LM, et al. Cross border reproductive care (CBRC): a growing global phenomenon with multidimensional implications (a systematic and critical review). J Assist Reprod Genet. 2018;35(7):1277–88.

Schnabel D, Esposito DH, Gaines J, Ridpath A, Barry MA, Feldman KA, et al. Multistate US outbreak of rapidly growing mycobacterial infections associated with medical tourism to the Dominican Republic, 2013–2014. Emerg Infect Dis. 2016;22(8):1340–7.

Stoney RJ, Kozarsky PE, Walker AT, Gaines JL. Population-based surveillance of medical tourism among US residents from 11 states and territories: findings from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2022;43(7):870–5.

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The Medical Tourism Association, in collaboration with the International Healthcare Research Center, has gathered critical insights into why patients are increasingly choosing to travel for medical care. This comprehensive 31-page report sheds light on the decision-making process, motivations, and concerns of medical tourists, focusing on aspects like the search for superior medical expertise, trust in healthcare providers, cost-effectiveness, and the appeal of innovative treatments. These findings are crucial for healthcare providers looking to tailor their services to meet the evolving needs and expectations of patients globally, ensuring not only the highest standards of care but also building the essential trust and confidence that underpins the decision to seek medical treatment abroad.

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MedicalTourism.com is a free, confidential, independent resource for patients and industry providers. Our mission is to provide a central portal where patients, medical tourism providers, hospitals, clinics, employers, and insurance companies can all find the information they need. Our site focuses on patients looking for specific knowledge in the fields of medical tourism, dental tourism, and health tourism.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Your particular lifestyle, the medical tourism destination, and the type of medical tourism procedure you will be undergoing will dictate, to a large degree, how much money you will be spending. In general, the farther away your medical tourism destination the more you will pay for airfare. So, for example, expect to pay more if you are flying from Dallas to Bangkok, Thailand, than you would for a flight to Monterey, Mexico. At the same time, you also need to take into account that some medical tourism destinations are more expensive than others. So even if a particular country is cheaper to travel to, you will need to factor in the relative cost of “living,” in comparison to another medical tourism destination.

What about your lifestyle preferences? Do you plan to stay at a five-star hotel or are you comfortable “roughing” it at a local bed and breakfast? Some adventurous souls prefer to immerse themselves in the local culture and will literally live on a shoestring budget. Most everyone else though will tend to fall somewhere between the Holiday Inn and Club Med. The type of medical tourism procedure or medical tourism treatment you are undergoing will also play a large part in your decision of where to stay and what you will do. A medical tourism patient undergoing open heart surgery or a knee replacement will require extra care and very comfortable conditions after leaving the hospital. Not the case for someone coming for a dental bridge or an eyelid lift. Wherever you decide to stay, make sure it serves your needs as a medical tourism patient.

Many of the expenses of a medical tourism trip will be the same as those of a “normal” trip or vacation. At the very minimum you will need to budget for airfare, hotel accommodations, transportation requirements and meals. Sightseeing tours and souvenirs are also a real possibility, particularly if you are traveling with a companion.

Although there are many benefits associated with medical tourism, there are also certain risks that must be weighed before making a final decision to travel abroad.

Varying standards and Medical Tourism

Varying standards with regards to hospitals and physicians can be a problem if you are searching for options within multiple countries with dozens of hospitals. Each country will have its own licensing and certification protocols which may vary significantly from your own country. As you have no way of actually visiting the hospital or meeting the physician prior to your trip, you will have to do research to make sure hospitals are accredited and surgeons are licensed. MedicalTourism.com offers a wealth of information and tools that will make this job much easier.

Travel after surgery

Traveling long distances after surgery also poses certain risks such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism. DVT may be defined as a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. If the blood clot breaks off and travels through the blood stream to the lungs, a pulmonary embolism may occur which is potentially fatal. Using simple preventive measures, however, medical tourism patients can reduce the chance of blood clotting and increase their likelihood of surgical success.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:

• Getting up and walking around every 2 to 3 hours.

• Exercise your legs while you’re sitting

• Drink plenty of water, and avoid drinking anything with alcohol or caffeine in it.

Additionally, medical compression stockings and anti-clotting medications such as Warfarin and Heparin, may be prescribed by physicians for high risk medical tourism patients.

Minimal legal recourse in case something goes wrong

It is important to remember that if you do have a serious complication, other countries' malpractice and liability recourses may be different from those in your own country. Also keep in mind that some hospitals may require a medical tourism patient to sign a legal waiver stating that if they do file a lawsuit over the surgery, the lawsuit must be adjudicated in the country where the medical procedure was performed.  

Coordinating appropriate aftercare once you come home

This is one the biggest concerns for medical tourism patients considering traveling abroad for surgery. What happens if I have a complication once I return home? Who will I turn to? Will my doctor even see me? These are valid questions that must be addressed by the hospital you are seeking care at.

Make sure to inform your primary physician that you will be going overseas and try to get him or her involved in the process. You may also want to try and schedule a call between your primary physician and your international doctor to discuss your case.  This is wise not only at a medical level (you want your international physician to know as much as possible about your case history), but also has the potential to establish trust between both parties, making your physician empathetic toward your situation and wanting to be an active participant in the success of your procedure.

Presently, and in order to minimize potential complications, many international hospitals and physicians do maintain close contact with their medical tourism patients once they have returned home. Therefore, you should not feel shy about contacting them if you feel something is wrong. At the very least your overseas physician can offer recommendations about what medications to take, who to see, or possibly even explain details of your condition to another doctor.

In medical tourism, a Familiarization Tour or Fam Trip is a trip organized by a public or private entity seeking to showcase the healthcare and tourism assets in a certain region, country or city, in order to attract new business (usually in the form of patients). Fam trips are often organized by the tourism board, medical tourism cluster, or by a Destination Management Organization (DMO) representing a destination. Participants in the Fam trip are typically buyers of medical tourism services such as foreign governments, insurance companies, employers and medical tourism facilitators. They are vetted in advance and usually have all their travel, accommodation and maintenance fees covered during the trip.

Sometimes referred to as medical tourism agencies, or a medical travel facilitator, these are companies that, as their name suggests, act as facilitators or intermediaries for patients seeking treatments in other countries or regions.

Medical Tourism Facilitators have played an important role in promoting the growth of medical tourism, and for many medical tourism patients, represent their first face to face contact with the concept of medical tourism.

Over the last 10-15 years, thousands of these companies have popped up, most sporting names synonymous with health and travel. They function much like a travel agency, requesting and obtaining passports, booking flights, and arranging a medical tourism patient’s lodging, transportation and tours. The key difference, of course, is that they also serve as the liaison or mediator between you and the international hospital and doctor. In effect, it is the facilitator’s job to repackage the medical provider’s service offering, make it more appealing, and then guide you along the medical tourism process.

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Medical tourism has emerged as a global phenomenon, offering individuals the opportunity to seek healthcare services beyond their home countries. It has gained immense popularity in recent years, with an increasing number of people traveling abroad for medical treatments and procedures. This article aims to shed light on the concept of medical tourism, its reasons for growth, popular destinations, available treatments, benefits, and potential risks.

Understanding Medical Tourism Medical tourism refers to the practice of individuals traveling to other countries to receive medical treatments or procedures. It offers a range of advantages that attract patients from around the world. People choose medical tourism for various reasons, including cost considerations, access to specialized treatments not available locally, reduced waiting times, desire for privacy and confidentiality, and the availability of advanced medical technology.

Popular Medical Tourism Destinations

Numerous countries and regions have emerged as popular medical tourism destinations. In Asia, countries like Thailand, India, and Singapore have gained recognition for their world-class healthcare facilities and affordable treatments. Europe, particularly countries such as Germany, Turkey, and Poland, offers a blend of high-quality care and cultural experiences. The Americas, including Mexico, Brazil, and Costa Rica, have become preferred choices for individuals seeking affordable yet excellent medical services. The Middle East, with nations like the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, has also made significant strides in medical tourism. Factors influencing destination choices include the reputation of healthcare providers, affordability, visa and travel requirements, and cultural and language considerations.

Top countries and regions for medical tourism

Asia Asia has emerged as a leading destination for medical tourism due to its combination of high-quality healthcare facilities and affordable treatments. Countries such as Thailand, renowned for its expertise in cosmetic and plastic surgery, attract patients seeking aesthetic procedures. India has become a hub for various treatments, including cardiac surgeries, orthopedic procedures, and fertility treatments. Singapore, with its world-class hospitals and medical expertise, is known for its advanced healthcare services in specialties like oncology and neurology.

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Europe Europe offers a blend of top-notch healthcare and cultural experiences, making it an attractive medical tourism destination. Germany is renowned for its advanced technology and expertise in fields such as cancer treatment and organ transplantation. Turkey has gained popularity for its affordable yet high-quality treatments, particularly in the fields of cosmetic surgery and hair transplantation. Poland is recognized for its dental tourism, providing quality dental care at competitive prices.

Americas The Americas offer a range of medical tourism options, attracting patients from North, Central, and South America. Mexico has become a popular choice, providing affordable healthcare solutions, particularly for dental treatments and bariatric surgeries. Brazil offers a wide range of cosmetic and plastic surgeries, leveraging its reputation for aesthetic procedures. Costa Rica is known for its high-quality healthcare and wellness retreats, offering opportunities for medical treatments and post-treatment recovery in a serene environment.

Middle East The Middle East has witnessed significant growth in medical tourism, offering state-of-the-art healthcare facilities and specialized treatments. The United Arab Emirates, particularly Dubai, has become a hub for medical tourism, providing a wide range of procedures, including cosmetic surgeries, orthopedic treatments, and wellness programs. Jordan is renowned for its expertise in medical tourism, with hospitals and clinics that specialize in areas such as cardiac care, fertility treatments, and cosmetic surgeries.

Factors influencing destination choices of patients

The reputation of healthcare providers The reputation and track record of healthcare providers play a vital role in destination choices. Patients seek out countries and clinics with renowned specialists and hospitals that have a history of successful outcomes and positive patient experiences.

Affordability and cost-effectiveness Affordability is a key consideration for many medical tourists. Countries that offer high-quality treatments at lower costs, including medical procedures, accommodations, and travel expenses, are often preferred choices.

Visa and travel requirements Visa policies and travel requirements can significantly impact destination choices for medical tourism. Patients consider countries that have streamlined visa processes and favorable travel regulations, making it easier for them to access healthcare services.

Cultural and language considerations Cultural and language factors can influence a patient’s comfort and overall experience. Language barriers, cultural familiarity, and the availability of translation services are essential aspects that patients take into account when choosing a medical tourism destination.

Medical Procedures and Treatments Offered

Medical tourism covers a wide range of treatments and procedures. Cosmetic and plastic surgery, such as breast augmentation, facelifts, and liposuction, are popular choices among medical tourists. Dental procedures like implants, veneers, and teeth whitening also attract individuals seeking cost-effective options. Orthopedic surgeries, including joint replacements and spine surgeries, draw patients looking for specialized care. Cardiac procedures like bypass surgeries and angioplasty are sought after for their affordability and expertise. Additionally, fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), are frequently pursued by couples struggling with infertility. Medical tourism also provides access to specialized and niche treatments that may not be available or affordable in patients’ home countries.

Cosmetic and plastic surgery Cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures are among the most sought-after treatments in medical tourism. Patients travel abroad for treatments such as breast augmentation, facelifts, tummy tucks, rhinoplasty (nose reshaping), and liposuction. These procedures are popular due to their potential to enhance appearance and boost self-confidence.

Dental procedures Dental tourism has become increasingly popular as patients seek affordable dental care without compromising quality. Common dental procedures sought by medical tourists include dental implants, veneers, dental crowns, teeth whitening, and oral surgeries. Many countries offer comprehensive dental care packages that combine treatments with vacation-like experiences.

Orthopedic surgeries Orthopedic surgeries, focusing on the musculoskeletal system, are frequently sought by medical tourists. Patients travel abroad for procedures such as joint replacements (e.g., knee or hip replacement), spinal surgeries, arthroscopy, and sports medicine treatments. These surgeries aim to alleviate pain, restore mobility, and improve overall quality of life.

Cardiac procedures Cardiac procedures attract medical tourists seeking specialized cardiac care at affordable prices. Common treatments sought include coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), angioplasty, heart valve replacements, and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) placements. These procedures address various cardiac conditions and aim to improve heart health and longevity.

Fertility treatments Fertility tourism appeals to individuals and couples seeking assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to overcome infertility challenges. Popular fertility treatments sought include in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), egg donation, surrogacy, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). Patients often travel to countries with advanced fertility clinics and favorable legal frameworks for these treatments.

Medical tourism also offers access to specialized and niche treatments that may not be widely available or affordable in patients’ home countries. These treatments cater to specific medical conditions and include advanced therapies, experimental treatments, and alternative medicine options. Specialized treatments can range from stem cell therapies and regenerative medicine to cancer treatments, neurological surgeries, and genetic testing.

Benefits and Risks of Medical Tourism

One of the key advantages of medical tourism is the potential for significant cost savings. Many countries offer medical treatments at a fraction of the price compared to developed nations. Moreover, medical tourists often have access to state-of-the-art healthcare facilities and world-renowned specialists, ensuring high-quality care. Combining treatment with travel allows individuals to explore new destinations and experience different cultures. However, medical tourism also comes with potential risks and considerations. Language and communication barriers may pose challenges in understanding diagnoses, treatment plans, and post-operative care instructions. Quality and safety standards can vary across countries, necessitating thorough research and careful selection of healthcare providers. Additionally, post-operative care and follow-up may be complicated if patients return to their home countries immediately after treatment. Legal and ethical concerns should also be taken into account when considering medical tourism options.

Planning and Preparation for Medical Tourism

To embark on a medical tourism journey, thorough planning and preparation are essential. Researching healthcare providers is crucial to ensure their credibility, expertise, and adherence to international standards. Obtaining medical records and seeking online or in-person consultations will help patients make informed decisions. Travel arrangements, including flights, accommodation, and transportation, should be carefully organized to ensure a smooth experience. Budgeting and insurance considerations play a vital role in financial planning, and patients should explore suitable options to protect themselves during their medical journey. Finally, preparing for post-treatment care and recovery is essential. Coordinating with local healthcare professionals for follow-up appointments and arranging for necessary support upon returning home will contribute to successful outcomes.

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Medical tourism has revolutionized the way people access healthcare, offering a range of benefits and opportunities for patients worldwide. By understanding the concept, exploring popular destinations, considering available treatments, and weighing the benefits against potential risks, individuals can make informed decisions about medical tourism. As this industry continues to evolve, responsible exploration of medical tourism options will ensure optimal outcomes and contribute to the overall advancement of global healthcare.


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Revolutionizing Medical Tourism with Mastercard and MTA

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Medical Tourism Patient Survey

The Medical Tourism Association, in collaboration with the International Healthcare Research Center, has gathered critical insights into why patients are increasingly choosing to travel for medical care. This comprehensive 31-page report sheds light on the decision-making process, motivations, and concerns of medical tourists, focusing on aspects like the search for superior medical expertise, trust in healthcare providers, cost-effectiveness, and the appeal of innovative treatments. These findings are crucial for healthcare providers looking to tailor their services to meet the evolving needs and expectations of patients globally, ensuring not only the highest standards of care but also building the essential trust and confidence that underpins the decision to seek medical treatment abroad.

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Health Care

The 4 kidnapped americans are part of a large wave of u.s. medical tourism in mexico.

Bill Chappell

tourism for healthcare

A Red Cross worker closes the door of an ambulance carrying two Americans found alive after they were abducted in Matamoros, Mexico, last week. Two of four Americans have been found dead, after they were caught in a cartel shootout, officials said Tuesday. AP hide caption

A Red Cross worker closes the door of an ambulance carrying two Americans found alive after they were abducted in Matamoros, Mexico, last week. Two of four Americans have been found dead, after they were caught in a cartel shootout, officials said Tuesday.

The four Americans who were shot at and abducted in Mexico were reportedly visiting for medical tourism — making them part of a booming industry that is vital to Mexico's economy.

"Pre-pandemic, some 1.2 million American citizens traveled to Mexico for elective medical treatment," Josef Woodman, CEO of Patients Beyond Borders , told NPR. His firm publishes a guide to international medical travel.

2 surviving Americans who were kidnapped in Mexico are back in the U.S.

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2 surviving americans who were kidnapped in mexico are back in the u.s..

Here's an update on medical tourism, and the recent tragedy:

U.S. medical travel is rising sharply

"Today, the market is recovering rapidly in Mexico, nearly back to its pre-pandemic levels," Woodman said.

Nearly 780,000 people were projected to leave the U.S. for health care in 2022, according to Healthcare.com , citing data from the medical travel website Medical Departures.

Medical tourism in Mexico isn't new, but the recent tragedy put it in the spotlight

Medical tourism in mexico isn't new, but the recent tragedy put it in the spotlight.

That outburst of activity got a big boost in late 2021, when the U.S. relaxed key border restrictions with Mexico.

Costa Rica is the second-most popular destination for U.S. visitors seeking medical care elsewhere, Woodman said. It's a particular draw, he added, for people in the Northeast and Southeast.

Most people travel for dental and cosmetic work

Cosmetic surgeries are just one of the procedures that are far cheaper in Mexico — for years, people have been visiting from the U.S. to get elaborate dental work or cosmetic treatments done, or to pick up antibiotics and other medicines at favorable prices.

A Reason To Smile: Mexican Town Is A Destination For Dental Tourism

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A reason to smile: mexican town is a destination for dental tourism.

Many people also travel to get orthopedic work done, replacing knees or hips for less than half the cost of such procedures in the U.S.

"North American patients travel to Mexico for care primarily to save 50-70% over what they would pay in the United States for an elective treatment," according to Woodman.

Medical tourism does bring risks, experts say

While an element of risk is inherent in many procedures no matter where they're performed, medical tourism can heighten complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Potential problems range from the dangers of flying in a pressurized plane cabin too soon after a surgery to the complications of getting follow-up care for a procedure done in another country.

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Medical tourism numbers are on the rise in Mexico, after the practice was curtailed by COVID-19 restrictions. Here, foreign patients are seen at the hospital Oasis of Hope in Tijuana in, 2019, in Mexico's Baja California state. Guillermo Arias/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

Medical tourism numbers are on the rise in Mexico, after the practice was curtailed by COVID-19 restrictions. Here, foreign patients are seen at the hospital Oasis of Hope in Tijuana in, 2019, in Mexico's Baja California state.

Some of the most serious warnings from the CDC are for infections, from wound and blood infections to pathogens that might be more common or resistant in the host country than in the U.S.

"Recent examples include surgical site infections caused by nontuberculous mycobacteria in patients who underwent cosmetic surgery in the Dominican Republic," the CDC says, "and Q fever in patients who received fetal sheep cell injections in Germany."

U.S. medical tourists rate Mexico highly

A 2020 research paper that surveyed some 427 Americans crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in California for medical services found that most of the respondents "felt that Mexican health care services are of the same or better quality compared with those in the United States, for a lower cost."

People had come from 29 states across the U.S. to get care in Mexico, with the vast majority driven by cost concerns, according to the paper, published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association .

Hit with $7,146 for two hospital bills, a family sought health care in Mexico

Hit with $7,146 for two hospital bills, a family sought health care in Mexico

The researchers also collected data about the medical tourists themselves, reporting an average age of 64.5 years. Their most common yearly income range was reported to be between $25,001 and $50,000 — but that reflects less than a quarter of the respondents.

More than 400 of the survey's 427 participants said they would undertake more medical tourism in the future, the paper said.

Most of Mexico's hospitals follow U.S. standards

Mexico has worked for years to promote medical tourism to draw patients across the U.S. border. That includes improving its health system and following international standards.

"About 10 years ago, the Mexican federal government licensed the Joint Commission accreditation standards, which are used to accredit U.S. hospitals," as David Vequist, who runs the Center of Medical Tourism Research at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, told NPR's All Things Considered .

"So most Mexican hospitals are now basically using the same standards we use in hospitals in the United States," Vequist added.

Details of the recent violence are still emerging

At least one of the U.S. citizens who were caught up in the recent tragedy was reportedly going to Mexico for a tummy tuck operation. But the group's vehicle came under fire hours after entering the border city of Matamoros, Mexico, from Brownsville, Texas.

Two of the four died; all are reported to be natives of Lake City, S.C. Their identities have not been released, but relatives have been speaking to NPR and other outlets .

Mexican officials say they believe the four were caught in the middle of a conflict between drug cartels in the state of Tamaulipas — an area that is under a do-not-travel advisory from the U.S. State Department.

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Why Medical Tourism Is Drawing Patients, Even in a Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated medical tourism, but pent-up demand remains for affordable treatment in foreign lands.

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By Ceylan Yeginsu

On a cold February morning last year, as she lay curled up in a fetal position on her kitchen floor, Melissa Jackson called her manager at a New Jersey beauty salon to ask for some unpaid time off.

It was the sixth consecutive week that the 39-year-old beauty technician was unable to work full time because of the debilitating pain in her pelvis caused by endometriosis, a chronic condition triggered by the growth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus.

As her symptoms worsened, she started exploring options to get less costly medical care abroad.

In recent years, while still on her ex- husband’s health insurance policy, she had received hormonal treatments to ease the pain so she could go about her daily life. But since her divorce last year and the coronavirus restrictions placed on the beauty industry in March, those treatment costs have become prohibitive, especially with no insurance.

“There is no real cure for endometriosis, but if I want to free myself from this pain then I need to get a hysterectomy,” Ms. Jackson said, her voice shaking as she described the procedure to remove her uterus. “As if the surgery isn’t bad enough, I need to find 20,000 bucks to pay for it, which is just crazy so I’m going to have to find a way to go to Mexico.”

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed millions of Americans into poverty and stripped more than 5.4 million American workers of their health insurance, according to a study by the nonpartisan consumer advocacy group, Families USA. Many people like Ms. Jackson have experienced a significant deterioration in their health because they have delayed medical procedures. The fear of large medical bills has outweighed fear of contagion for some, giving rise to an increased number of patients seeking medical treatment in a foreign country.

“We are seeing a pent-up demand for medical tourism during the pandemic, particularly in the U.S. where a fast-growing number of Americans are traveling across the land border with Mexico for health purposes,” said David G. Vequist IV, the founder of the Center for Medical Tourism Research , a group based in San Antonio, Texas, and a professor at t he University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.

Even before the pandemic, millions of Americans traveled to other countries for savings of between 40 to 80 percent on medical treatments, according to the global medical tourism guide Patients Beyond Borders. Mexico and Costa Rica have become the most popular destinations for dental care, cosmetic surgery and prescription medicines while Thailand, India and South Korea draw in patients for more complex procedures including orthopedics, cardiovascular, cancer and fertility treatment.

In 2019, 1.1 percent of Americans traveling internationally did so for health treatments, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office , although that figure only accounts for those who traveled by air and does not include the thousands of travelers who crossed the United States-Mexico border. Definitive statistics on medical tourism are hard to come by because countries have different recording methods and definitions of the sector.

Medical tourism has been decimated by coronavirus restrictions, but, even so, the twin crises of the economy and the enormous strain that Covid-19 has placed on the already faulty American health care system are pushing many patients to travel. Demand for nonessential surgeries has also been building up after more than 177,000 scheduled surgeries were postponed in the United States between March and June in 2020, according to the Center for Medical Tourism Research.

“Our market has always been what I call the ‘working poor’ and they just keep getting poorer,” said Josef Woodman, the chief executive of Patients Beyond Borders. “The pandemic has gutted low-income and middle-class people around the world and for many of them the reality is that they have to travel to access affordable health care.”

In April, following the initial global lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, medical travel bookings were down by more than 89 percent in the most popular destinations, including Mexico, Thailand, Turkey and South Korea, according to Medical Departures, a Bangkok-based medical travel agency. Since August, the numbers have slowly been rebounding, but bookings in Mexico, which has seen an uptick in American travelers in recent months, are still down by 32 percent compared to the same period of August to December in 2019.

“Covid-19 has devastated the whole medical tourism ecosystem because of all the uncertainty over travel restrictions and quarantine measures that keep changing across the world,” said Paul McTaggart, the founder of the agency.

“Despite this, we are still seeing a growing number of people traveling and booking trips to address their urgent health needs, especially between the U.S. and Mexico border where patients can travel safely by car,” Mr. McTaggart said. The Center for Medical Tourism Research found that Google searches in the United States for the terms “Mexico medical tourism” went up by 64 percent since July, compared to pre-pandemic levels before travel restrictions were imposed in March.

“Google searches are almost directly correlated with consumer behavior when it comes to travel across borders,” Mr. Vequist said.

Before the winter resurgence of the coronavirus, Ms. Jackson had started to plan and save for a trip to Mexicali, a border city in northern Mexico, where she can get a hysterectomy for $4,000, one-fifth the cost of the procedure offered in New Jersey. Her best friend had offered to drive her there and pay for the gas and accommodations.

“We wanted to make a vacation out of it and have some fun before the surgery because it’s such a heavy and dark thing with real consequences,” Ms. Jackson said. “At 39, I have to come to terms with the reality that I’ll never have kids. That’s even more painful than my condition.”

For now, Ms. Jackson has put the surgery on hold and will wait until the virus is brought under control. Her doctor had pointed to cheaper options for the operation in New Jersey, starting at $11,000 in a local outpatient facility. But Ms. Jackson is adamant about having it in the hospital and says the aftercare is more thorough in Mexico.

“Going for the cheaper option at home means getting lower quality care and taking a risk. That just isn’t the experience for people who do this in specialized hospitals in Mexico,” she said. “It’s cheap and safe.” (Many hospitals and clinics in Mexico and other countries have accreditation to ensure their standards are equivalent to medical facilities in the United States.)

In recent weeks, Ms. Jackson has had a flare up of symptoms, which is common when the condition goes untreated.

“I’m not sure if I will be able to wait for Covid to get better,” she said. “This thing cripples every part of my life.”

The land border with Mexico — closed to tourists — has remained open for essential travel, which includes all medical treatment, and a handful of Americans cross the border every day into Los Algodones (also known as Molar City ) to receive dental treatment or purchase pharmaceuticals.

“It’s just Americans over there getting dental care,” said Jeff Somerville, a Delta Air Lines flight attendant who visited the Supreme Dental Clinic in Los Algodones in September to get his crowns replaced. “You park on the U.S. side and just walk across. It’s easy and felt very safe.” He said the procedure would have cost around $25,000 in Tampa, Fla., close to where he lives in the city of Clearwater. In Mexico, he paid $7,000.

Now, Mr. Somerville, 47, is preparing to travel to Turkey in February for a hair and beard transplant, which will cost $3,000 and includes plasma treatments, medications, hotel lodging for three nights and a translator.

“I’m going to live my life, but I’m going to take my precautions while I do that,” he said. “I’m not going to sit at home and be scared.”

Turkey has remained open to tourists throughout the latest surge of the pandemic in Europe and only visitors from Britain are required to take a test as a precaution against a new, more transmissible variant of the virus. On weekends in Turkey a strict curfew is imposed on local residents to curb the spread of the virus, but foreign visitors are allowed to roam free without any restrictions. On Istanbul’s main Istiklal Avenue, men recovering from hair transplant procedures can easily be spotted with bandages around their heads.

“This is the best time to get surgery,” said Martin Wright, a British tourist, who had a hair transplant in Istanbul in December, before the new variant of the virus was identified in Britain. “Hotels are cheap, sites are empty and you get to have down time in a foreign city where you don’t have to explain to anyone why or how you got a hair transplant.”

Over the summer, when lockdown restrictions were eased across Europe, Britons traveled to the continent to receive medical treatment, after waiting lists for elective surgery on the National Health Service reached record levels. With British hospitals operating at reduced capacity to accommodate patients with Covid-19, hundreds of thousands of patients, who have been waiting for more than a year for non-urgent surgery, are facing further delays, N.H.S. figures show.

Cynthia Hedges, a 77-year-old retired nurse from Plymouth in southwest England, traveled to France in August for a knee replacement after waiting more than 19 months to get the procedure at her hospital.

“It just became hopeless, I could barely walk and was just living off pain medication, which is not good for my health,” she said in a telephone interview. “I know we can’t go far these days, but I became very depressed not even being able to walk to my garden. I know it was risky to travel at the time, but it was the best thing I did. It was worth it.”

Even as travel restrictions tighten, experts in the medical tourism industry see an opportunity as demand builds and health care becomes more inaccessible in people’s home countries.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in Europe or the Americas,” said Mr. McTaggart of Medical Departures. “Financially challenged individuals will seek out and be more receptive to the idea that you can travel abroad and see substantial savings for medical treatment and get past the line.”

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram , Twitter and Facebook . And sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to receive expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation.

An earlier version of this article gave an incorrect name for a global medical tourism guide. It is Patients Beyond Borders, not Patients Without Borders.

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Ceylan Yeginsu is a London-based reporter. She joined The Times in 2013, and was previously a correspondent in Turkey covering politics, the migrant crisis, the Kurdish conflict, and the rise of Islamic State extremism in Syria and the region. More about Ceylan Yeginsu

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Medical Tourism

The allure of american healthcare: an overview of inbound medical tourism to the united states.

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Inbound medical tourism to the United States has been growing rapidly in recent years, as more and more foreign patients seek high-quality medical care in the world's leading economy. According to a report by Patients Beyond Borders, the US is the top destination for inbound medical tourism, attracting more than 1.4 million patients annually and generating over $14 billion in revenue. In this article, we'll explore the benefits and challenges of inbound medical tourism to the US, the most popular procedures and destinations, and the impact of COVID-19 on the industry.

Benefits of Inbound Medical Tourism to the United States

Inbound medical tourism to the US has several benefits for both healthcare providers and foreign patients. For healthcare providers, it can generate significant revenue and boost their reputation in the global medical community. For foreign patients, it provides access to high-quality medical care that may not be available or affordable in their home countries.

One of the biggest advantages of inbound medical tourism to the US is the high level of quality and safety in American healthcare. The US is home to some of the most prestigious hospitals, medical centers, and healthcare professionals in the world, with cutting-edge technology and a focus on patient-centered care. Foreign patients are attracted to the US for medical treatment because of the reputation of American healthcare, and many choose to return for follow-up care or other medical procedures.

Challenges of Inbound Medical Tourism to the United States

While inbound medical tourism to the US has many benefits, it also presents several challenges. Healthcare providers and destinations need to be aware of these challenges in order to attract and accommodate foreign patients successfully.

One of the biggest challenges is the cost of medical care in the US, which can be significantly higher than in other countries. Foreign patients may be willing to pay more for high-quality medical care, but they still need to be able to afford the procedures they require. Healthcare providers need to be able to offer competitive pricing while still maintaining their quality standards.

Another challenge is the complexity of the US healthcare system, which can be difficult for foreign patients to navigate. Healthcare providers and destinations need to be able to provide clear and concise information about their services, pricing, and procedures to foreign patients in their native languages. They also need to be able to offer support and assistance throughout the entire process, from booking appointments to follow-up care.

Popular Procedures and Destinations for Inbound Medical Tourism to the United States

Inbound medical tourism to the US covers a wide range of medical procedures and destinations. According to Patients Beyond Borders, the most popular procedures for foreign patients in the US are:

  • Cancer treatment
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Orthopedics

The most popular destinations for inbound medical tourism to the US include:

The Impact of COVID-19 on Inbound Medical Tourism to the United States

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on inbound medical tourism to the US, with many foreign patients unable or unwilling to travel due to travel restrictions and health concerns. According to a report by Global Healthcare Resources, inbound medical tourism to the US dropped by more than 60% in 2020 due to the pandemic.

However, as vaccination rates increase and travel restrictions are lifted, there is hope that inbound medical tourism to the US will rebound in the coming months and years. Healthcare providers and destinations need to be prepared to adapt to the new normal of the post-COVID world, with enhanced safety protocols, telemedicine services, and other measures in place to ensure the safety and well-being of both foreign patients and healthcare professionals.

Working with Global Healthcare Resources to Attract More Foreign Patients to the US

If you're a healthcare provider or destination looking to attract more foreign patients to the US for medical treatment, working with a healthcare consulting firm like Global Healthcare Resources can help you navigate the complex world of inbound medical tourism.

Global Healthcare Resources offers a wide range of consulting services for healthcare providers and destinations, including market research, business planning, marketing and management, and more. With our expertise and experience in the inbound medical tourism industry, we can help you attract more foreign patients, enhance your reputation, and generate more revenue for your healthcare services.

Inbound medical tourism to the United States is a growing industry with many benefits for both healthcare providers and foreign patients. While it presents several challenges, healthcare providers and destinations can overcome these challenges by offering competitive pricing, clear and concise information, and high-quality medical care and services. With the help of a healthcare consulting firm like Global Healthcare Resources, healthcare providers and destinations can tap into the lucrative inbound medical tourism market and succeed in the global healthcare industry.

If you're interested in learning more about how Global Healthcare Resources can help you attract more foreign patients to your healthcare destination or services, visit our website at https://www.globalhealthcareresources.com/medical-tourism-consulting . Contact us today to learn more about our consulting services and how we can help you tap into the growing inbound medical tourism market in the US.

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The Medical Tourism Magazine (MTM), known as the “voice” of the medical tourism industry, provides members and key industry experts with the opportunity to share important developments, initiatives, themes, topics and trends that make the medical tourism industry the booming market it is today.

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What is health tourism and why is it growing?

Health tourism is a growing trend around the world. But what is health tourism and why is it so popular? Read on to find out…

What is health tourism?

The growth of health tourism, why is health tourism important, health tourism activities, health tourism- further reading.

Health tourism is a tricky one to define. It is more of an umbrella term, encompassing both wellness tourism and medical tourism. These two types of tourism may seem quite different, but they both fundamentally have health at their core. So, health tourism can be defined as follows:

Health tourism covers those types of tourism which have as a primary motivation, the contribution to physical, mental and/or spiritual health through medical and wellness-based activities which increase the capacity of individuals to satisfy their own needs and function better as individuals in their environment and society.

This definition comes from an executive summary published by the World Tourism Organization and the European Travel Commission in 2018. As you can see, the exploration of health tourism in itself is a relatively new idea. The two organisations also provided the following definitions of wellness and medical tourism respectively:

Wellness tourism is a type of tourism activity which aims to improve and balance all of the main domains of human life including physical, mental, emotional, occupational, intellectual and spiritual. The primary motivation for the wellness tourist is to engage in preventive, proactive, lifestyle enhancing activities such as fitness, healthy eating, relaxation, pampering and healing treatments.       

Medical tourism is a type of tourism activity which involves the use of evidence-based medical healing resources and services (both invasive and non-invasive). This may include diagnosis, treatment, cure, prevention and rehabilitation.   

What is wellness tourism?

There are many reasons as to why health tourism as an industry is growing. People are keener than ever to put their health and wellbeing first – especially now we are 2 years into a global pandemic. As a population , we are more aware now than ever before how our health can hang in the balance. And just knowing this, coupled with all of the other changes brought about by the pandemic as well as the general ease of accessing information, mean that life is generally more stressful. So it is no wonder that we are looking for wellness trips to calm and soothe ourselves – and to affordable and accessible medical procedures that may be unavailable at home…

The UK sees health tourism as a distinct and negative phenomenon. The media uses the term to refer to people who travel to the UK deliberately in order to access free medical treatment from the National Health Service. This is seen as leeching off the state, and as you can imagine is particularly frowned upon by many in the country. However, reports show that the government estimates ‘health tourism’ costs the NHS only £300m annually – or 0.3% of their budget! But due to this, new laws are in place to charge people who do not ‘ordinarily reside’ in the UK if they use the NHS.

Health tourism is important for many reasons. Looking at it from an economical point of view, it provides a boost to local economies when people travel to a destination for any reason. So heading to a summer yoga retreat in Santorini or getting some dental work done in Turkey is contributing to the local economy. And it’s not just the cost of your treatment or stay – you will also purchase food and drink, maybe even souvenirs. You might extend your trip and do some sightseeing with local tour companies too. All of these things mean a cash injection for the area and its inhabitants.

Linked to this is that health tourism often provides a cheaper opportunity to do something you were going to do at home. Travelling for optional surgery or going to a small spa in a remote village might be much cheaper than doing so in your home country. In this way, health tourism actually provides people with a way to save money.

Health tourism is also important as it is a reflection of my earlier point – people are taking more of an interest in their health. Regardless of whether it’s wellness tourism or medical tourism, health tourists are travelling with the primary focus of improving their mind, body or life in some way. This is obviously a positive factor for society.

As health tourism combines wellness and medical tourism, the activities it involves are anything which falls under these categories. Essentially, anything you do as a tourist which is aimed at improving your health is classed as health tourism. See a list of activities below:

  • Dental/dentistry
  • Orthopedics
  • Cosmetic/plastic surgery
  • Bariatric surgery 
  • Fertility treatment
  • Eye surgery
  • Ears, nose and throat
  • Organ transplants
  • Rehabilitation
  • Alternative medication access
  • Yoga retreats
  • Writing retreats
  • Meditation centres
  • Weight loss or healthy eating retreats
  • Sensory deprivation

Popular health tourism destinations

There are many destinations you can visit as a health tourist. Your home country may also be a health tourism location for people from other countries. It is all contextual and subjective, depending on what exactly you are looking to get out of your trip…

What is health tourism?

This is a popular place for health tourism – particularly when it comes to wellness. With its geothermal pools, breathtaking scenery, infinity pools and mountain hiking areas the options are endless! A very popular part of Iceland for wellness activities is Myvatn Nature Baths, where the alkaline in the water has a lot of minerals and is incredibly beneficial for the treatment of skin conditions. Because of this, it can also be seen as a destination which works for medical purposes – making it a dead cert for health tourism.

Ever heard of the saying ‘Turkey teeth’? It doesn’t come from nowhere! The reason this term exists is because many people (particularly younger people, celebrities, and influencers) flock to Turkey to have dental treatment done for cosmetic purposes. They want straighter, whiter and brighter teeth. Something like this might cost double or triple in the UK, for example, than what it would in Turkey. Plus, visitors get to combine their trip with sun, sea and sand!

India is a big one for health tourism as it has a big wellness tourism industry combined with many options for medical tourists to have cheaper procedures done. Being such a spiritual country, it is no wonder that people come here for wellness purposes. The Indian government readily promotes the country as a hub for yoga, Sidha, naturopathy and Ayurveda – citing the ‘spiritual philosophy that has been integral to the Indian way of life’. There are retreats right across the country, particularly in countryside areas but also in the bustling cities which mean it works for both primary AND secondary wellness tourism.

Primary wellness tourism is when someone’s whole trip is focused on wellness; it is their sole reason for travel, and the major component of their trip. Every aspect of their holiday is tailored to wellness. Secondary wellness tourism is when general tourists incorporate some aspect of wellness (a massage on the beach during an all-inclusive Mexican vacation) into their holiday.

India is also a huge destination when it comes to medical tourism. Locations such as Chennai, Maharashtra and Kerala are really popular for medical procedures, with costs being about one tenth of those in either the UK or the USA. Medical tourists travel to India for alternative medicine, cardiac procedures, bone-marrow transplants, eye surgery and hip replacements in particular.

Beautiful Hawaii is like one big spa in itself. Primary wellness tourists visit here in droves to experience the therapeutic salt water, the laid back atmosphere, the glorious sunshine and the traditional practices of omilomi massage and pohaku (hot stone treatment). With scenery that will leave you lost for words, it is one of the most relaxing places in the world which is why wellness tourism is so big here – and so, by extension, is health tourism.

This stunning country has cutting edge technology and beautiful spaces to relax – making it ideal for health tourism encompassing both wellness and medical tourism. People tend to head here for small elective surgeries, choosing to get the procedure done for a lower price and recover somewhere beautiful! And there are so many options for wellness tourists, too. From Thai massage parlours to serene meditation retreats on beaches where the sunsets are bright pink and shiny gold, you couldn’t ask for somewhere more suited to a relaxing wellness trip.

If you enjoyed this article on health tourism, I am sure that you will like these too-

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  • Medical Tourism
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  • History of medical travel

The History of Medical Tourism

Medical tourism history - ancient times.

  • The Sumerians (circa 4000 BC) constructed the earliest known health complexes that were built around hot springs. These healthcare facilities included majestic elevated temples with flowing pools.
  • During the Bronze Age (circa 2000 BC), hill tribes in what is now known presently as St. Moritz, Switzerland recognized the health benefits in drinking and bathing in iron-rich mineral springs. The same bronze drinking cups that they used were found in thermal springs in France and Germany, which could signify health pilgrimages within these cultures.
  • The Ancient Greeks were the first to lay a foundation for a comprehensive medical tourism network. In honor of their god of medicine, Asclepius, the Greeks erected the Asclepia Temples, which became some of the world's first health centers. People from all over, traveled to these temples to seek cures for their ailments.
  • By the year 300 BC, other therapeutic temples flourished under the Greek domain. One facility called the Epidaurus was the most famous and included services like a gymnasium, a snake farm, a dream temple, and thermal baths. Other temple spas included the Sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia and the Temple of Delphi.
  • In India, the history of medical tourism was also slowly unfolding with the popularity of yoga and Ayurvedic medicine. As early as 5000 years ago, constant streams of medical travelers and spiritual students flocked to India to seek the benefits of these alternative-healing methods.
  • When Rome became a global power, several hot-water baths and springs called thermae came into existence and gained popularity among the elite. These baths were not only healthcare facilities, but became commercial and social networking centers for the rich and the elite.

Medical Tourism History - The Middle Ages

  • In Medieval Japan, hot mineral springs called onsen became popular throughout the nation due to their healing properties. The warrior clans soon took notice of these springs and began using them to alleviate pain, heal wounds, and recuperate from their battles.
  • Many early Islamic cultures established health care systems that also catered for foreigners. In 1248 AD, the Mansuri Hospital was built in Cairo and became the largest and most advanced hospital in the world of that time. With the capacity to accommodate 8,000 people, this hospital became a healthcare destination for foreigners regardless of race or religion.

History of Medical Tourism - The Renaissance Period

  • A village known as Ville d'Eaux or Town of Waters, became famous throughout Europe in 1326 when iron-rich hot springs were discovered within the region. Prominent visitors like Peter the Great and Victor Hugo visited these wellness resorts. The word “spa”, derived from the Roman term “salude per aqua” or health through waters, was first used here.
  • During the 16 th century, the rich and the elite of Europe rediscovered Roman baths and flocked to tourist towns with spas like St. Mortiz, Ville d'Eaux, Baden Baden, Aachen and Bath in England. Bath or Aquae Sulis enjoyed royal patronage and was famous throughout the known world. It became the center of fashionable wellness and became a playground for the rich and famous.
  • The most noteworthy traveler in the history of Medical Tourism was Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. He was the French inventor of the essay, and was believed to be the father of luxury travel. He helped write the earliest documented spa guide in medical tourism history.

History of Medical Tourism - The Post-Renaissance Period

  • In the 1720s, Bath became the first city in England to receive a covered sewage system and was ahead of London for several years. The city also received technological, financial, and social benefits. Roads were paved, streets had lights, hotels, and restaurants were beautified – all because of Medical Tourism.
  • The discovery of the New World brought new destinations for European medical travelers. During the 1600s, English and Dutch colonists started building log cabins near mineral springs rich with medicinal properties. During this time, it was noted that the Native Americans in the New World were adept in the healing arts. Knowledge in herbal medicine was exceptional and rivalled those in Europe, Asia or Africa.
  • During the 18 th and 19 th century, several Europeans and Americans continued to travel to remote areas with spas and health retreats hoping to cure various ailments like tuberculosis.

Medical Tourism History from the 1900s to 1997

  • In 1933, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) was established and became the umbrella organization for the medical specialist boards in the United States. The ABMS established educational and professional policies, which became the blueprint of standards around the world.
  • In 1958, the European Union of Medical Specialties (UEMS) was formed. The UEMS is made up of different National Medical Associations from member nations of the European Unions.  
  • During the 1960s, India became a destination of choice for pilgrims when the New Age movement began in the USA. The flower child movement, which drew the elite and socialites of America and the UK, eventually developed into a fully-fledged medical tourism industry, with yoga and Ayurvedic medicine rediscovered.
  • With the cost of healthcare rising in the 1980s and 1990s, American patients started considering offshore options, like dental services in Central America. Whilst US doctors were appalled at the idea of seeking healthcare in foreign hospitals during these periods, Cuba started programs luring foreigners for eye surgeries, heart and cosmetic procedures.

History of Medical Tourism from 1997 to 2001

Medical tourism from 2001 to 2006, medical tourism in 2007 and beyond, medical tourism information:, browse by specialty.

  • Addiction Treatment
  • Aesthetics non surgical
  • Anesthesiology
  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Bone Marrow Transplant
  • Cancer Treatment
  • Cardiac Surgery
  • Cosmetic Surgery
  • Dental Care
  • Dermatology
  • Ear Nose and Throat
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Eye Surgery
  • Family Medicine
  • Fertility Treatment
  • Gastroenterology
  • General Medicine
  • General Surgery
  • Hair Transplant
  • Hyperbaric Therapy
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Internal Medicine
  • Medical Check Ups
  • Neonatology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Pulmonology
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  • Rheumatology
  • Sports Medicine
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  • Vascular Surgery

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7 Tips to Maximize Your Dental Tourism Experience in Albania


A lbania, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Balkans, has emerged as a beacon for dental tourism, attracting visitors from around the globe with its blend of professional dental services, affordable care, and breathtaking landscapes. The concept of Turismo dentale in Albania is not just about receiving dental care; it's an opportunity to experience a rich cultural tapestry while enhancing one's oral health. The allure of Impianti dentali in Albania and the expertise of a Dentista in Albania have positioned the country as a preferred destination for those seeking high-quality dental procedures at a fraction of the cost found in their home countries.

The importance of thorough preparation and research cannot be overstated when planning a dental tourism trip to Albania. It ensures that you not only maximize the benefits of your dental procedures but also enjoy a seamless and enriching travel experience. From understanding the scope of dental services available to familiarizing yourself with the nuances of Albanian culture and locales, each step taken in preparation is a stride towards a successful and fulfilling dental tourism journey.

1. Research the Best Dental Clinics in Albania

How to find reputable dental clinics.

The foundation of a successful dental tourism experience in Albania starts with finding a reputable clinic. Online reviews and testimonials offer a window into the experiences of past patients, providing insights into the quality of care and customer service. Websites such as Trustpilot and Google Reviews serve as platforms where individuals share their honest feedback, helping you gauge the reliability and reputation of a clinic.

Accreditation and certifications are equally critical. They are the hallmarks of excellence and compliance with international dental standards . Look for clinics accredited by recognized dental associations or those holding ISO certifications. This information is typically showcased on the clinic’s official website, signaling their commitment to quality and safety.

What to Look for in a Dental Clinic?

Beyond credentials, the choice of a dental clinic should be influenced by its adoption of modern technology and facilities. State-of-the-art equipment and the latest dental techniques contribute significantly to the precision and effectiveness of treatments, ensuring you receive the best possible care.

The presence of English-speaking staff is another essential factor. It guarantees clear communication, allowing you to express your concerns and preferences without language barriers. This can greatly enhance your comfort and confidence throughout your dental treatment journey.

PRO TIP: Leverage specialized dental tourism platforms for in-depth research and comparison. These platforms provide comprehensive profiles of dental clinics, including detailed services offered, pricing, and direct patient reviews. They are invaluable resources for making an informed decision, ensuring you select a clinic that best matches your needs and expectations.

2. Understand the Cost Benefits

Comparing costs with your home country.

One of the most compelling reasons to consider Turismo dentale in Albania is the significant cost savings on dental procedures compared to those in your home country, particularly if you're from the United States or Western European countries. For instance, dental implants, a highly sought-after procedure, can cost up to 50-70% less in Albania without compromising on quality or safety. Similarly, cosmetic dentistry services such as veneers, teeth whitening, and orthodontic treatments are offered at much more affordable rates.

Example Price Comparison for Common Procedures

  • Dental Implants: In the USA, the average cost of a single dental implant can range from $3,000 to $5,000. In contrast, in Albania, the cost can be as low as $800 to $1,200.
  • Teeth Whitening: A professional in-office teeth whitening session in the USA might cost around $500 to $1,000, whereas in Albania, it could be around $150 to $300.
  • Veneers: Per tooth, veneers can cost between $925 and $2,500 in the USA but only $200 to $400 in Albania.

Additional Costs to Consider

While the savings on dental procedures are significant, it's important to account for additional expenses such as accommodation, travel, and insurance. These can affect the overall cost of your dental tourism trip, although they are generally manageable and can still result in considerable overall savings.

  • Accommodation: Depending on your preferences, the cost can vary. Staying in a budget hotel or Airbnb can significantly lower your expenses compared to luxury accommodations.
  • Travel: Flight costs can fluctuate based on the season, so it's wise to book in advance and look for deals.
  • Insurance: Some travel insurance policies cover medical and dental emergencies abroad, which is worth considering for added peace of mind.

3. Consider the Treatment Time and Travel Plans

Scheduling your dental appointments.

When embarking on a dental tourism journey to Albania, it's imperative to meticulously plan your dental appointments in harmony with your travel plans. Early communication with your chosen dental clinic is key to ensuring that your treatment schedule aligns with your arrival and departure dates. Many reputable clinics are accustomed to accommodating international patients and can offer flexible scheduling to fit within your travel itinerary. This coordination is essential not only for the initial treatment but also for any necessary preparatory or follow-up appointments.

Recovery Time and Follow-Up Visits

Understanding the recovery time associated with your dental procedures is crucial for a stress-free experience. Some treatments may require you to rest for a few days post-procedure, while others might have minimal downtime, allowing you to explore Albania sooner. Discussing recovery expectations with your dentist beforehand will help in planning any leisure activities or sightseeing around your treatment.

Additionally, consider the possibility of needing follow-up visits or extended stays, especially for complex procedures that require multiple stages or adjustments. Planning for this contingency will ensure that your dental tourism experience is not only enjoyable but also aligned with your treatment goals, without the need for rushed or last-minute travel arrangements.

PRO TIP: Many dental clinics in Albania offer comprehensive packages that include accommodation and transport arrangements. Taking advantage of these packages can simplify planning and often provide cost savings, making your dental tourism experience smoother and more enjoyable.

4. Look into Travel and Accommodation Options

Where to stay in albania for dental work.

Choosing the right place to stay during your dental treatment in Albania can significantly impact your overall experience. It's advisable to opt for accommodations in tourist-friendly areas that are not only close to your chosen dental clinic but also offer easy access to local attractions, restaurants, and amenities. Cities like Tirana, Durres, and Saranda are popular among tourists for their vibrant culture, beautiful landscapes, and convenience. Many hotels and Airbnb options in these cities cater to international visitors, ensuring a comfortable and hassle-free stay.

Getting Around Albania

Navigating Albania is relatively straightforward, with various options available for tourists. Public transportation, including buses and taxis, is readily accessible in major cities and offers an affordable way to explore. However, for greater flexibility and the ability to discover more remote areas, renting a car might be a preferable option. Albania’s major roads are in good condition, and car rentals can provide an opportunity to venture beyond the city limits at your own pace.

5. Be Aware of the Language Barrier

Communicating with your dentist and clinic staff.

While Albania boasts a wide array of dental professionals fluent in English, especially in clinics catering to international patients, it's important to confirm language capabilities before booking your appointment. Clear communication is essential for discussing treatment plans, expectations, and any concerns you might have. Don’t hesitate to inquire about the availability of English-speaking staff when you contact the clinic.

PRO TIP: Enhancing your travel experience in Albania can be as simple as learning some basic Albanian phrases. This effort not only facilitates smoother interactions in daily situations but also shows respect for the local culture, often leading to warmer receptions and enriched experiences. Phrases like "Faleminderit" (Thank you) and "Përshëndetje" (Hello) can go a long way in building rapport with the locals, including your dental care providers.

6. Explore the Legal and Insurance Aspects

Understanding albanian medical laws and regulations.

When planning for dental work in Albania, familiarizing yourself with the country's medical laws and regulations is crucial. This knowledge will help you navigate the healthcare system more effectively and ensure that your dental treatments are performed in compliance with local standards. It's advisable to consult with your chosen dental clinic about these regulations or visit official Albanian health department websites for the most accurate and updated information.

Insurance Coverage for Overseas Dental Work

Many travelers may not realize that their health or dental insurance might offer coverage for dental work performed abroad. Before departing, it's important to contact your insurance provider to inquire about international coverage , including what procedures are covered, the extent of the coverage, and how to file a claim for overseas medical expenses. Understanding your insurance benefits can significantly affect your budgeting and planning for dental tourism in Albania.

7. Make Time to Enjoy Albania

Combining dental care with tourism.

Albania is a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, offering a plethora of experiences for tourists. Amid your dental treatment schedule, take the opportunity to explore Albania’s stunning landscapes, from the pristine beaches of the Albanian Riviera to the ancient ruins scattered across the country. Cities like Berat and Gjirokastër offer a glimpse into the nation’s Ottoman past, while the Albanian Alps provide breathtaking vistas for nature lovers.

Experiencing Albanian Culture and Cuisine

Albanian cuisine is a testament to the country’s rich cultural heritage, offering a variety of flavors that reflect its Mediterranean, Italian, and Ottoman influences. Do not miss the chance to indulge in traditional dishes such as Byrek (a savory pie), Tavë Kosi (baked lamb with yogurt), and Fërgesë (a tasty vegetable and cheese dish), which provide a delightful culinary experience. Engaging with the local culture through its food and participating in cultural events or festivals can enrich your dental tourism journey, making it an unforgettable experience.

As we wrap up our comprehensive guide on maximizing your dental tourism experience in Albania, it’s clear that this beautiful country offers much more than just affordable dental care. From the outset, we’ve explored essential tips ranging from conducting thorough research on dental clinics, understanding the significant cost benefits, aligning treatment with travel plans, navigating accommodation and transportation, to overcoming language barriers and ensuring legal and insurance matters are in order. Each of these steps is pivotal in ensuring that your journey to Albania for dental purposes is as smooth and beneficial as possible.

Albania’s allure doesn’t just lie in its ability to offer high-quality dental services at a fraction of the cost found elsewhere but also in its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality. As you embark on this unique journey, remember to immerse yourself in the local culture, cuisine, and the stunning natural beauty that Albania has to offer. The experience of combining dental care with tourism in this vibrant country not only promises a healthier smile but also memories that will last a lifetime.

We encourage you to embrace both the practical aspects of planning your dental trip and the adventure that awaits in exploring Albania. With the right preparation and an open heart, your dental tourism experience can be one of the most rewarding journeys of your life.

Introduction Albania, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Balkans, has emerged as a beacon for dental tourism, att

  • London, United Kingdom
  • Monday 15 July 2024 / 02:55

tourism for healthcare

Mastercard and the Medical Tourism Association Join Forces to Revolutionize Cross-Border Health Care Payments

  • 11.07.2024 01:15 pm

Mastercard and the Medical Tourism Association Join Forces to Revolutionize Cross-Border Health Care Payments

The Medical Tourism Association will launch a one-stop platform with Mastercard payment capabilities to bring more convenience, flexibility, and trust to the medical tourism industry    

Responding to the growing need to simplify access to global health care for medical tourists, Mastercard and the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) have announced an exclusive partnership to modernize the end-to-end health care experience for patients and providers around the world. The Medical Tourism Association will utilize Mastercard’s commercial virtual card technology to go beyond arranging treatments to also facilitating fast and secure payments with health care providers.  

This marks a first-of-its-kind move for the medical tourism industry, which has largely remained reliant on cash and wire transfers, leading to a lack of financial transparency and limited payment options for individuals seeking treatments abroad. Insights from a recent  Medical Tourism Patient Survey  reveal that over half of patients globally expressed concerns over international payments[1] due to hidden costs, exchange rate complexities and greater fraud risk, demonstrating a clear need to improve the payment process.   

“As a global technology company, we’re constantly innovating to solve pain points across multiple industries and simplify the way money flows across people and businesses,” said Chad Wallace, global head of Commercial Solutions at Mastercard, “We’re embedding our technologies to drive safer and faster payment experiences at scale, and this latest collaboration unlocks our ability to further extend the advantages of Mastercard virtual cards to reimagine the health care ecosystem.”  

Patients will be able to simply book and pay for their treatment using a payment method of their choice, and the MTA seamlessly handles the rest by leveraging Mastercard’s virtual card technology. As soon as the payment is initiated and validated, the MTA’s banking partner will issue a Mastercard virtual card to pay the health care provider directly. Introducing virtual cards also brings a range of benefits to providers. These include increased security, robust controls, and real-time remittance data for more efficient reconciliation.   

To go beyond solving the pain points in health care payments, the MTA is developing  Better by MTA , a new user-friendly platform integrated with Mastercard’s payment capabilities that aims to bring medical and travel services together. From paying for and scheduling a procedure to reserving corresponding travel, transportation and lodging, patients will be able to confidently manage every aspect of their journey within the same platform. Better by MTA is intended to simplify your travel choices, streamline the payment process, and allow you to effortlessly compare care options – replacing multiple booking tools with a connected, one-stop experience for your medical travel needs.

“For nearly two decades, we have played a critical role in providing affordable, transparent and high-quality health care by connecting patients with an extensive network of trusted, accredited providers worldwide,” said Jonathan Edelheit, chairman & co-founder of the Medical Tourism Association, “Developing a single interface with integrated Mastercard payment capabilities and services is a critical step in our mission to make quality health care secure and accessible across borders.”    

Mastercard and the MTA are first launching these new payment capabilities with several health care providers around the world and plan to expand to more providers globally by the end of 2024.  

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tourism for healthcare

Do I need travel insurance for my summer vacation? It's complicated.

  • Travel insurance can be complicated, but it's worth it if you have travel expenses that insurance would cover.
  • You might not need travel insurance if you're taking a driving vacation and staying in a place where lodging is free.
  • If you're leaving the country, you'll likely need travel insurance.

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If you're planning to travel somewhere this summer, you're probably thinking of buying travel insurance.

Kingsley Hopkins is. He's headed to Portugal and Iceland with his girlfriend, and he wants to make sure he's covered for things like medical emergencies or trip disruptions, "or if a volcano erupts," he said.

Check out   Elliott Confidential , the newsletter the travel industry doesn't want you to read. Each issue is filled with breaking news, deep insights, and exclusive strategies for becoming a better traveler. But don't tell anyone!

But getting the right travel insurance can be complicated. There's no one-size-fits-all policy, and Hopkins, an assistant editor at a book publishing company in New York, has been spending a lot of time thinking about how to protect his summer vacation.

Learn more: Best travel insurance

Chances are, so have you.

Why finding the right travel insurance is so hard

Most surveys suggest this will be a record summer for travel. How much of a record? Demand is so high that some airlines are afraid they will run out of planes. Now that's busy.

At the same time, danger and uncertainty are lurking everywhere – wars in Europe and the Middle East, the usual slate of natural disasters like hurricanes and maybe a volcano or two. It's no wonder people are giving some serious thought to insurance. 

Older travelers are particularly worried. And they should be, said PK Rao, CEO of INF Visitor Care . Claims by travelers over age 50 spike during the summer months.

Warning: American tourists are being profiled. Don't be one of them.

Try this pro trick for an affordable and stress-free summer vacation

"According to our claim data, medical emergencies tend to uptick during the summer, especially for those going on trips that involve outdoor activities," he said.

But there are so many choices out there, including credit card coverage, medical evacuation membership programs and stand-alone travel insurance. What should you get?

You need peace of mind 

But don't just reflexively start shopping for a travel insurance policy this summer. Instead, look for peace of mind – knowing that if something goes wrong, you'll be taken care of.

"Knowing you're protected from unforeseen travel mishaps – like delays, lost baggage and even medical emergencies – can make the trip that much more enjoyable,” said Daniel Durazo, a spokesman for Allianz Partners USA .

As it turns out, there are several ways to get the peace of mind you need. And there are times when you can safely skip travel insurance.

This is when you don't need insurance

Here's when you can skip travel insurance, according to experts:

◾ If you already have coverage. "You may already have travel coverage through your benefits at work, your credit card, or through group benefits with an organization," said Jiten Puri, CEO of PolicyAdvisor.com. If you do, there's no need to buy more coverage. You're all set.

◾ If you're not traveling far. If you're taking a driving vacation and staying in a place where lodging is free, like a relative's sofa, then there's not much to insure. "If you already have health insurance, it may cover you for a domestic trip, so you don't need to think about health insurance coverage," said Joe Cronin, CEO of International Citizens Insurance .

◾ If your trip isn't insurable. Traditional travel insurance covers conventional trips with prepaid, nonrefundable components like airline tickets and hotel stays. You might find that you either already have coverage through your medical insurance, or the trip is essentially uninsurable.

So think twice before saying "yes" to optional travel insurance that your online travel agency may offer you when you're booking a trip. You might not need it.

Here's when you need travel insurance

But most travelers should consider some kind of travel insurance coverage this summer. Here's when you need the extra coverage:

◾ If you have travel expenses that insurance would cover. "If you have many prepaid, nonrefundable expenses, it's best to take out travel insurance," said Lauren Gumport, a spokeswoman for Faye Travel Insurance ."This includes things like flights, hotel rooms, tickets and activities." The more conventional your vacation, the likelier travel insurance is to cover almost every aspect of your summer vacation.

◾ If you're leaving the country. "Your regular medical insurance might not extend coverage beyond your home borders," said John Rose, chief risk and security officer at ALTOUR . Also, many countries require travel insurance for entrance. They include Bermuda, Qatar, Sri Lanka, and some European countries.

◾ If you can't afford to lose your trip. "When considering travel insurance for your summer trip, evaluate whether you can afford to lose your vacation investment due to unforeseen circumstances like illness, weather disruptions, or emergencies," explained Robert Gallagher, president of the US Travel Insurance Association (USTIA). "Can you afford the financial risk if you miss your cruise departure because of covered flight delays? What if you have to cut your trip short because of illness?"  

One of the most common mistakes travelers make is assuming their credit card will cover them. For example, I found that my credit card only covered my rental car as secondary insurance, which made it completely useless when I rented a car in Tampa recently. I had to buy a standalone policy from Allianz to cover the vehicle.

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Junk fees: Travelers are drowning in junk fees during the summer of surcharges

How one traveler insured his summer vacation

So, how did Hopkins handle his travel insurance needs? Well, as I mentioned – it's complicated.

Hopkins said he always buys some travel insurance before he takes a trip, "but how much, and what I cover, varies," he explained.

He decided that his path to peace of mind in this case was to spend a few extra dollars: He made fully refundable flight and hotel reservations, just in case something went wrong. That would eliminate a lengthy claim with his travel insurance company or credit card.

But he still needed at least $50,000 in medical coverage with emergency evacuation because of his active schedule.

"We’re going to be doing a lot of hiking in Iceland," he said. "And you just never know." 

At the beginning of the year, he decided to buy an annual Medjet Horizon plan, a membership that would get him from a hospital in Portugal or Iceland to a hospital at home, in case something happened. 

For insurance, Hopkins checked TravelInsurance.com to find an affordable travel insurance policy. He found coverage through Trawick International that pays up to $50,000 in medical expenses and up to $200,000 for an evacuation.

"I’ve heard good things about them," he said. "Hopefully, we won’t need any of it."

How do I insure my trips?

I'm on the road about 360 days a year, so I'm always thinking about peace of mind. I currently use a Wells Fargo credit card with lots of travel benefits, and I have long-term policies through Faye and Cigna, which have worked fairly well. I also am a long-time Medjet Horizon member. If I rent a car, I turn to Allianz for my primary coverage.

I know – that's a lot of peace of mind. 

But I've also run into trouble and had to use many of those benefits. Medjet got me back home during the pandemic. Cigna covered me after a serious ski accident in Switzerland. My old Allianz policy took care of my medical expenses when I had to see a doctor in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a few years ago.

Like I always say, when it comes to having enough insurance, better safe than sorry.

Christopher Elliott  is an author, consumer advocate, and journalist. He founded  Elliott Advocacy , a nonprofit organization that helps solve consumer problems. He publishes  Elliott Confidential , a travel newsletter, and the  Elliott Report , a news site about customer service. If you need help with a consumer problem, you can  reach him here  or email him at  [email protected] .

The Key Points at the top of this article were created with the assistance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and reviewed by a journalist before publication. No other parts of the article were generated using AI. Learn more .

Health & Wellness

AI can improve children’s health care

Aws is providing $10 million to accelerate research for pediatric health care and to better understand rare diseases..

Nicole Giroux knows what it’s like to wait for a precise diagnosis—and the effective treatment that comes with it. Her daughter Lila first showed symptoms of inoperable brain cancer nearly 15 years ago. Lila was just 15 months old at the time. Due to a lack of data, it would take an excruciating five years before the Giroux family had a more specific understanding of the molecular makeup of their little girl’s tumour.

“Shortly into that journey with treatment, my husband and I learned about the complete lack of treatment options for childhood brain cancer and the lack of funding available for research,” Giroux said.

Giroux started the Lilabean Foundation for Pediatric Brain Cancer Research in honour of her daughter. The foundation’s mission is to fund critical childhood brain cancer research and to help raise awareness of the severity of the fatal disease. 

This week at the Amazon Web Services Inc . ( AWS ) summit in Washington D.C. , AWS announced it is committing $10 million to empower nonprofit institutions to harness the power of the AWS cloud to advance pediatric and children’s causes worldwide. The funding will help to provide access to vital research for a vulnerable patient population that often suffers from restricted resources and limited sample sizes.

The initiative will support a growing consortium of hospitals and other institutions that use both cloud computing and artificial intelligence ( AI ) with the common goal of accelerating research and discoveries. By more effectively managing data in the cloud, researchers will be able to better understand the genetic makeup of diseases, which leads to quicker, more accurate diagnoses—and more effective personalized treatments for patients.

AI can improve children’s health care

“We're so excited by the initiative that AWS is launching because it dovetails so perfectly into our narrative that despite being a rare disease, pediatric cancers truly provide a unique proving ground for new technology because of their dependency on real-time discovery and collaborative networks,” said Adam Resnick , director of the Center for Data-Driven Discovery in Biomedicine at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia ( CHOP ).

AWS’s 10 million dollar commitment includes a $3 million philanthropic commitment that will be distributed between three organizations. The following organizations will receive 1 million dollars each to support their ongoing, mission-driven work: Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. ; Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus , Ohio ; and the Children’s Brain Tumor Network , located at CHOP. The Lilabean Foundation is a member organization of the Children’s Brain Tumor Network.

Through the new AWS IMAGINE Grant: Children’s Health Innovation Award, $7 million will be available to additional organizations for projects that accelerate pediatric research, advance maternal-child total health, and/or empower the pediatric workforce and caregivers.

Beyond pediatric cancers, the funding will support research on all sorts of childhood diseases—from heart conditions to genetic disorders.

Pediatric diseases often get little attention, and fewer resources are devoted to research.

Although there are some serious side effects from many years of chemotherapy treatments, Lila is now an otherwise thriving 16-year-old. So many others are not that fortunate.

AI can improve children’s health care

Childhood cancers like Lila’s make up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed annually in the US  And while the five-year survival rates for childhood cancers are improving in developed nations, as many as two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors experience long-term effects from their treatments.

Clinical study data remains limited for many pediatric diseases and their treatments. Most registered pediatric studies are small-scale, single-centre, and not funded by private industries or the federal government, which means fewer treatments are being studied over time. Because drug companies have less financial incentive to develop treatments for this small group of patients, children with cancer and other rare diseases often follow treatment plans that are adapted from adult protocols, and aren’t customized for their needs. Genetic mutations also differ between childhood and adult cancers, which adds complexity for researchers. These distinct challenges for pediatric research require advanced solutions.

Managing data in the cloud is the first step in research collaboration

Working in silos is not the answer.

“Historically, all these scientists were working in silos and not sharing data, tissue samples, sequencing samples, all these things,” said Giroux. “We’ve got to work together. We've got to share data and play in the sandbox together.”

That sandbox is located in the cloud. AWS is where researchers can securely manage de-identified and anonymized data while safeguarding the privacy of patients and clinical study participants.

For researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital the cloud is used as a tool to compute genomic data and then to share data and diagnostic results for pediatric cancer patients in a large study impacting pediatric cancer patients across the US After being used to help inform diagnoses that are returned to the oncology provider for each patient, the anonymized data efficiently shared with the NCI Childhood Cancer Database via the cloud, where an even broader set of researchers can access them, nearly in real-time.

“What we want to do is make rare cancers less rare by providing this comprehensive information to those who want to investigate for a variety of discovery-based goals,” said Elaine Mardis , PhD, co-executive director of the Steve and Cindy Rasmussen Institute for Genomic Medicine in the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Dr Mardis indicated that broadly sharing information in cloud-based databases can allow genomic aspects of rare cancers to be teased out, attracting the attention of scientists who may not have had sufficient power to identify these due to the unavailability of siloed data sets.

“What’s driving discovery, in the most immediate term, is enabled by the cloud,” she said.

AI-driven medical research is the next frontier.

Creating cloud-based data repositories is only the first step to more effectively treat rare childhood diseases. AWS can power data-driven insights and innovative applications to enhance care, increase the efficiency of care delivery, and personalize treatment plans.

For the team at Children’s National Hospital AI-powered applications are already helping to screen babies for rare genetic conditions by assessing facial features using smartphone cameras to identify subtle changes in those features shortly after birth. Tested on patients in 30 countries, the application can help screen children who may not have access to a geneticist nearby.

Rheumatic heart disease is another condition where AI has been applied to make low-cost, portable ultrasound imaging accessible for patients with fewer resources. In Uganda , for example, 200,000 children are expected to be screened in the coming years.

“I'm very interested in health equity,” said Marius George Linguraru , the Connor Family professor and chair of Research and Innovation at Children’s National Hospital. “We are doing a lot more work in the US than abroad because when it comes to something that requires already sophisticated imaging and image interpretation, those resources exist much more in the high-income world. I'm always fascinated about finding an easier, more affordable, more flexible solution that can be applied somewhere else too.”

Personalized cancer treatment is one more arena where AI is already being used to advance health care for children. Linguraru’s team is working with colleagues across the US to improve and personalize the treatment plans for children with brain tumours.

These advancements in cloud computing and AI applications are precisely what Giroux hopes will improve the outlook for families like hers in the future.

“For every family that's diagnosed, I want their child to have options,” she said, “You’re presented with impossible choices. And I don’t want that anymore. I know things are changing, and I know there’s progress being made.”

AWS is deeply committed to supporting the important work needed to advance pediatric health, and this philanthropic commitment will empower nonprofit institutions around the world to harness the power of the AWS cloud to advance pediatric and children’s causes.

AI can improve children’s health care


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Medical Tourism

The future of medical tourism: emerging trends and growth opportunities.

tourism for healthcare

Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry, with more and more patients seeking medical treatments and procedures in countries other than their own. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years, as the industry adapts to changing patient needs and preferences. In this article, we will explore the latest trends in medical tourism and the potential for future growth opportunities.

One of the main trends in medical tourism is the shift toward wellness and preventive care. Patients are no longer seeking treatment solely for an illness or condition, but also for procedures and treatments that will help them maintain their health and prevent future health issues. This trend is in line with a broader societal shift towards a focus on health and wellness and is expected to continue as more people become aware of the benefits of preventive care.

Another important trend in medical tourism is the increased use of technology. Telemedicine, for example, is becoming more widely used, allowing patients to consult with doctors remotely and reducing the need for travel. Virtual reality is also being used to help patients prepare for medical procedures and reduce anxiety. This technology not only enhances patient care but also improves the patient experience and can make medical tourism more accessible and appealing to a broader range of patients.

Personalized medicine is also an emerging trend in medical tourism. With advances in genetic testing and other diagnostic tools, patients can now receive treatment plans tailored to their individual needs and genetic makeup. This approach to medicine is expected to become increasingly popular in the future, as patients seek out more personalized and targeted treatments.

The growth of medical tourism is creating new opportunities for players in the industry. Travel agencies, for example, are now offering medical tourism packages, and more hospitals and clinics are catering specifically to medical tourists. This is creating a more competitive market, with more options and services available to patients.

However, despite the growth in medical tourism, there are also challenges that need to be addressed. Quality of care, patient safety, and ethical concerns are all issues that must be taken seriously in order to maintain the industry's growth and reputation. The industry must continue to focus on ensuring high-quality care and treatment for patients, while also addressing these challenges and maintaining patient safety and ethical standards.

In conclusion, the future of medical tourism looks promising, with new trends and growth opportunities emerging. As the industry continues to evolve, it will be important to address the challenges and ensure that patients receive high-quality care and treatment. By doing so, medical tourism will continue to grow and thrive, benefiting both patients and the industry as a whole.

To receive a free quote please click on the link: https://www.medicaltourism.com/get-a-quote

Patients are advised to seek hospitals that are accredited by Global Healthcare and only work with medical tourism facilitators who are certified by Global Healthcare Accreditation or who have undergone certification from the Certified Medical Travel Professionals (CMTP). This ensures that the highest standards in the industry are met. Click the link to check out hospitals accredited by the Global Healthcare Accreditation: https://www.globalhealthcareaccreditation.com/

It is recommended that consumers do not share their personal and confidential information on random medical tourism platforms as they may not be secure. Consumers must be cautious when disclosing their private information as some organizations may not protect their privacy and could misuse their information. Additionally, there are agencies that may prioritize their commissions over the well-being of the patients. Consumers should avoid choosing the cheapest price and instead make a thorough comparison across multiple facilitators to make an informed decision.

Unveiling the Power of Social Media Marketing in Medical Tourism

Korea: turning the focus to an emerging global leader in medical tourism, exploring the surge of cosmetic tourism: trends and considerations in aesthetic procedures abroad, holistic healing: exploring integrative medicine and wellness retreats, meeting the surge: the growing demand for knee replacement surgeries and advances in the field, mastercard and the medical tourism association join forces to revolutionize cross-border healthcare payments, in pursuit of excellence: ceo spotlight with ms. artirat charukitpipat, stem cells show promise for hair thickening, stem cell injection for back and neck pain, continue reading, south korea, a medical tourism leader pioneering the future of medicine  , best countries for stomach cancer treatment: a global perspective, ponderas academic hospital: elevating medical tourism with jci accreditation and personalized care, featured reading, medical tourism magazine.

The Medical Tourism Magazine (MTM), known as the “voice” of the medical tourism industry, provides members and key industry experts with the opportunity to share important developments, initiatives, themes, topics and trends that make the medical tourism industry the booming market it is today.

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Suspect came within inches of killing trump, but left few clues as to why.

The portrait pieced together so far of the 20-year-old nursing home aide who allegedly tried to assassinate Donald Trump at an election rally reveals frustratingly little about why he would make such an attempt - or how he managed to come so close to killing the former president.

Malawi makes progress against child mortality


  1. Medical Tourism: Travel to Another Country for Medical Care

    Delaying air travel for 10-14 days following major surgeries, particularly those involving the chest, will minimize risks associated with changes in atmospheric pressure. Continuity of Care. Travelers may need to get health care in the United States if they develop complications after returning. Follow-up care for complications might be expensive.

  2. Medical Tourism Guide: Countries, Benefits, and Risks

    Medical tourism is successful for millions of people each year, and it is on the rise for a variety of reasons, including increasing healthcare costs in the United States, lack of health insurance, specialist-driven procedures, high-quality facilities, and the opportunity to travel before or after a medical procedure.

  3. What Is Medical Tourism? Traveling For Healthcare Explained

    Medical tourism is nothing new. People have been seeking more affordable, sometimes higher-quality care for as long as humans could cross borders. In today's world that usually means travel to ...

  4. 13 Top Countries for Medical Tourism (Cheap + High Quality)

    Overall, Mexico is a practical choice for anyone in the U.S. considering medical procedures abroad. It offers top-notch healthcare, affordable prices, and the convenience of being just across the border. Mexico ranks high for medical tourism among U.S. residents, offering substantial cost savings. 4. Thailand.

  5. Medical Tourism

    Medical tourism is a worldwide, multibillion-dollar market that continues to grow with the rising globalization of health care. Surveillance data indicate that millions of US residents travel internationally for medical care each year. Medical tourism destinations for US residents include Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba ...

  6. Medical Tourism

    Discover top medical tourism destinations with our comprehensive guide to the best providers worldwide. Delve into the thriving industry of medical tourism, gain valuable insights, and explore in-depth articles. Connect with experts, attend leading medical tourism events, and access a wealth of resources designed to inform and inspire your healthcare journey. Choose us for a seamless ...

  7. Top 10 Medical Tourism Destinations in the World

    For the health tourism destinations and healthcare providers, the competition is fierce, requiring an interplay of factors to drive medical travel and improve their brand in the medical tourism market. But choosing a destination for one's medical needs can be an arduous task; with multiple risks sold by the media about medical travel, health ...

  8. Medical tourism

    Health tourism is a wider term for travel that focuses on medical treatments and the use of healthcare services. It covers a wide field of health-oriented tourism ranging from preventive and health-conductive treatment to rehabilitational and curative forms of travel. Wellness tourism is a related field.

  9. Medical Tourists: Incoming and Outgoing

    Patients who travel to another country to seek health care are referred to as medical tourists. The term arose because many Americans seek less expensive elective surgical, dental, or cosmetic procedures while vacationing abroad.1 Of course, US hospitals and physicians have also long cared for medical tourists from other countries. Now, many medical tourists are going the other way—from the ...

  10. The rise of medical tourism: A global perspective

    Explore the rise of medical tourism, its driving factors, popular destinations, and treatments, as well as the challenges and future trends shaping this rapidly growing industry. medical tourism, global perspective, healthcare costs, waiting times, advanced treatments, healthcare quality, travel accessibility, Asia, Latin America, Europe, technology, legal and ethical issues, quality and ...

  11. What is Medical Tourism? Exploring Healthcare Beyond Borders

    Medical tourism has emerged as a global phenomenon, offering individuals the opportunity to seek healthcare services beyond their home countries. It has gained immense popularity in recent years, with an increasing number of people traveling abroad for medical treatments and procedures. This article aims to shed light on the concept of medical ...

  12. Medical Tourism and Its Impact on Global Healthcare Systems

    Medical tourism has become a popular trend globally, with patients seeking affordable, high-quality healthcare options overseas. While medical tourism can offer significant cost savings and access to world-class medical facilities, it also has implications for global healthcare systems.

  13. Medical Tourism Association

    Join the Medical Tourism Association and expand your reach to more than 1.2 million global healthcare seekers and over 500,000 business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) professionals. Become part of a leading global ecosystem dedicated to enhancing patient experience, quality, affordability, and transparency. BECOME A MEMBER →.

  14. What Is Medical Tourism, and How Much Money Can It Save You?

    Pyrosky/E+ via Getty Images. Medical tourism involves traveling to another country to obtain healthcare. Traveling for medical, dental, and cosmetic treatments could save you money. Because healthcare costs in the U.S. are the world's highest, some people are willing to travel to meet their needs.According to medical-tourism advocacy group Patients Beyond Borders, more than 20 million people ...

  15. Medical tourism in Mexico is rising among Americans : NPR

    Before the pandemic halted travel, some 1.2 million American citizens visited Mexico for health care. The number is rising quickly again, with border restrictions eased.

  16. Why Medical Tourism Is Drawing Patients, Even in a Pandemic

    Medical tourism has been decimated by coronavirus restrictions, but, even so, the twin crises of the economy and the enormous strain that Covid-19 has placed on the already faulty American health ...

  17. The Allure of American Healthcare: An Overview of ...

    Discover the allure of American healthcare for foreign patients. Learn about inbound medical tourism to the US, including benefits, challenges, procedures, destinations, and the impact of COVID-19. Find out how Global Healthcare Resources can help you attract more foreign patients to your healthcare services. medical tourism, United States, inbound medical tourism, healthcare industry, foreign ...

  18. What is health tourism and why is it growing?

    Health tourism is also important as it is a reflection of my earlier point - people are taking more of an interest in their health. Regardless of whether it's wellness tourism or medical tourism, health tourists are travelling with the primary focus of improving their mind, body or life in some way. This is obviously a positive factor for ...

  19. Americans Are Flocking To Other Countries For Medical Procedures

    During the pandemic, Americans continued to go abroad for care. In 2020, an estimated 290,000 Americans went abroad for dental and medical procedures. The previous year, some 780,000 sought ...

  20. Medical Tourism Statistics and Facts

    An Essential Fact Sheet and Guide on Medical Tourism Statistics. In 2015, it was estimated that medical tourism generated between U.S. $60 and U.S.$70 billion. It was predicted at the time that health tourism would generate at least twice these revenues by 2020. The market in 2019 however is changing rapidly as new laws come into place and the ...

  21. Top Destinations for Health and Medical Tourism in 2024

    Health and medical tourism has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people traveling abroad for high-quality medical treatments, wellness retreats, and alternative therapies.

  22. History of Medical Tourism

    Medical tourism history in fact dates back to ancient times. The following is a short excerpt into the colorful history of medical tourism. These time lines indicate that if ever healthcare is in short supply - wherever the location or whatever period in time it may be - sick and injured people will travel for healthcare.

  23. 7 Tips to Maximize Your Dental Tourism Experience in Albania

    3. Consider the Treatment Time and Travel Plans Scheduling Your Dental Appointments. When embarking on a dental tourism journey to Albania, it's imperative to meticulously plan your dental ...

  24. Director's Veterans' Message July 12, 2024

    This reduces the need for travel by providing convenient access to health care professionals from home. This service is particularly beneficial in the Pacific Islands, where travel can be difficult and time-consuming. Telehealth provides access to consultations, follow-ups, and certain types of therapy without the need for physical travel.

  25. Mastercard and the Medical Tourism Association Join Forces to

    The Medical Tourism Association will launch a one-stop platform with Mastercard payment capabilities to bring more convenience, flexibility, and trust to the medical tourism industry Responding to the growing need to simplify access to global health care for medical tourists, Mastercard and the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) have announced an exclusive partnership to modernize the end-to ...

  26. Here's when you need travel insurance (and when you don't)

    But getting the right travel insurance can be complicated. There's no one-size-fits-all policy, and Hopkins, an assistant editor at a book publishing company in New York, has been spending a lot ...

  27. AI can improve children's health care

    AWS is providing $10 million to accelerate research for pediatric health care and to better understand rare diseases. Health & Wellness. AI can improve children's health care. FRIDAY, JULY 12, 2024. ... Stakeholders unite to ignite tourism in Nakhon Si Thammarat. 2. AI can improve children's health care. 3.

  28. The Future of Medical Tourism: Emerging Trends and Growth Opportunities

    Disclaimer: The content provided in Medical Tourism Magazine (MedicalTourism.com) is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

  29. Student Health Plan (SHP) 2024-25 updates to benefits

    Student Health Plan has made updates related to the following benefits for the 2024-25 Plan Year:Mental Health BenefitsCoverage while Traveling InternationallyFertility PreservationMental Health BenefitsThe Exclusive Provider Network (EPN) copay has been reduced from $20 to $10 effective August 1, 2024. Coverage for initial visits to therapists ...

  30. Trump out of hospital, Bloomberg reports

    Former U.S. President Donald Trump was out of hospital late on Saturday following a shooting earlier in the day at his rally where he was shot in the right ear, Bloomberg reported.