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Home » MBA Articles » MBA - Health Care Management Articles » Medical Tourism: Boon or a Bane?

Medical Tourism: Boon or a Bane?

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Globalization has touched all the lives. A person living in the remote village is enjoying coke and a rich American doesn't
hesitate in showing his collection of tribal artefacts.

There
is a change in mind-set of people. Nationality doesn't matter and nor
does distance. The world is becoming flatter day by day. This has led to
diminishing borders
and creation of comfort outside one's own country also.
The most conservative sector, the healthsector is also not left
unaffected.

People are travelling to other countries to get
treatment and care. This is popularly known
as medical tourism or medical travel. Such travel occurs
for various reasons. This is happening obviously because the returns or
the savings are quite high.

The favourite destinations for
medical tourism include Singapore,
Thailand, India, Malaysia, Philippines and South Africa.
India is emerging as a popular medical tourism destination due to low
cost of treatment, quality care and qualified doctors and the many
tourist destinations which can be
enjoyed post treatment.

The medical tourists
across the world have different reasons for travelling such a long
distance. The Americans see a huge cost saving if that particular
treatment is not covered under insurance as
the cost of treatment is quite high in Western
countries.

In some countries like UK, where there is national
healthcare system, waiting period can be quite high. This enforces them
to look for other countries where they can
get a faster and a cost effective treatment.

There are people from African countries also who look for better treatment opportunities at an affordable price.

All
these people find it better to travel to other
countries and get treated in the best hospitals. The
hospitals are promoting medical tourism and getting good revenues from
them. They are appointing doctors at a higher salary preferably with a
foreign degree or experience to lure
these patients. They are diverting their critical
resources for treating foreign patients.

Criticism and road ahead

Medical
tourism is working for their advantage, but is it working for the
advantage of the
country as a whole? What about the people of India? Are
we diverting the already limited health resources for benefit of
developed nations?

Are we able to provide the even the basic health facilities to our countrymen? And
if the answer is "no", then why are we promoting medical tourism?

All
these questions remain a topic of debate. Medical tourism is helping
the country in earning foreign exchange and adding to the revenues of
the country. It
is also helping in improving the general and health
infrastructure. Hospitals are giving higher remuneration to doctors
which is possible due to earnings from medical tourism. This in a way is
good as it is preventing brain drain
and we are able to retain good doctors within the
country.

And how much it will help if we don't have foreign patients is still unanswered.

May
be the best option lies somewhere in between. If we are able to utilize

the earnings from foreign patients in creating health
resources for the country's poor and needy, we will be able to justify
and create a balance. A patient is a patient whether it is from our own
country or other country. So we
can't actually distinguish. However it would be fair and
just to the people of the country if we are able to focus on their
needs too. Hospitals will have to conform to the social responsibility
factors also. Only then the medical
tourism will realize its full potential.
 




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