Medical Tourism or Health Tourism is indeed not a new phenomenon, but goes back to ancient Greece, where people flocked to temples of gods dedicated to the art of healing.
Today’s medical tourism has focused on two concepts: expertise and affordability. Some top research centers such as the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins attract patients from the US and other countries, due to their reputation.
Some countries and hospitals in other countries have become the destination for certain types of medical treatments. After an economic crisis in the late 1970s, the Thai Ministry of Health invested in medical centers specializing in plastic surgery. The country’s decision to focus on a medical need that had growing demand and few practitioners helped it became one of the best destinations in this field.
Other countries have developed centers specializing in areas such as orthopedic surgery, dental care and gastric surgery. Cost is also a factor in many medical target centers around the world. According to the Medical Tourism Association, US citizens can save between 50 and 80 percent on medical interventions taking place outside the US – one of the world’s most expensive countries in healthcare costs. For example, knee replacement costs $ 35,000 in the US, but only $ 6,600 in India.
On the other hand, insurance coverage, the nature of the procedure, the risk of complications and language barriers are factors that may make it difficult to choose medical tourism for each patient. In the first part, this two-part series examines the recent history of medical tourism, followed by a discussion about how brokers and employers perceive the concept today.
According to the consulting firm PwC, in 2016, about 14 million people spent $ 68 billion on medical tourism.
More and more westerners are going to developing countries for cosmetic surgeries or dental care. These procedures would cost less and are more invasive than larger surgeries and are often not covered by insurance.
PWC predicts that the medical tourism market will reach $ 125 billion by 2021. Growth will not be based on nasal use and dental implants, but on more costly and riskier interventions with longer payback periods. such as knee surgery.
Iran: A growing market for medical tourism
Due to the temperate climate, well-trained medical experts, and the latest version of medical innovations, Iran occupies an important position in the medical travel industry in the region. Iran is considered a safe destination, and the beauty of the country, as well as the abundance of sunshine, therapeutic natural springs and unique cuisine make it a favorite spot for many medical travelers.The health tourism industry continues to grow significantly as a result of today’s comprehensive treatment needs.Fortunately, Iran, with its location in an appropriate area where many of its neighbors require quality care, is making tremendous progress in terms of health and treatment. The high capabilities of the health system have created a unique opportunity for the country. In addition to treating people seeking treatments in the region, it can open a way to bring a significant income to Iran.
Today, more than 135 medical centers in Iran have obtained a registration certificate for international patients under the strict supervision of the Ministry of Health. Every time international patients are admitted by these hospitals, they can be safely treated medically, says Hassan Rashki, Iranian expert in medical tourism.
Bone marrow transplantation – an important treatment for blood cancer – can be a valuable accomplishment to the country’s healthcare industry with a success rate of over 90%, “Rashki added.
Ophthalmology services in Iran are among the most credible countries in the world. Iran is considered the second best country in terms of quality of ophthalmological treatment to Spain. According to Dr. Rashki, infertility treatments and researches done in Iran are very progressive and the success rate meets the highest international standards. Many people in need of infertility health care, from neighboring countries receive treatment for these services in Iranian hospitals. Performing all types of cancer surgery, gynecological diseases, orthopedic surgery and heart disease in the country’s hospitals is the order of the day, and a large number of Iranian doctors are ready to treat all diseases with the best possible form. Experts predict that if the various therapeutic capabilities of Iran are introduced in the target countries, Iran will easily have the potential to raise $ 4 billion for health tourism annually. Lack of sufficient direct flights, fully-booked hotels in the high season are some of the challenges that could hamper the growth of Iranian medical tourism.
According to a statistical report obtained from tourists arriving in Iran, it is also found that the motivation of travelers for treatment in Iran is very high and in this year about $ 500 million has been generated for the country. According to official news agencies, Iran is expected to generate $ 7 billion in “health tourism” alone;