One In Three Will Travel For Medical Treatment

The Huffington Post did a marvelous article about medical tourism. What was fascinating about this article to discover things like:

* Young adults (35 and under) more open to medical tourism

* Common treatments are considered: dental, fertility, cosmetic surgery, elective survey

* Indians most open to medical tourism, Japanese least

Did you know that Cuba has some of the highest government health spending in the world? 67 physicians per 10,000 of their population – that’s highest of any major country or 91%.

The UK on the other hand has 101 nurses per 10,000 people, and are only behind countries like Norway, and Germany. The UK also spends about $3500.00 per year on health. That’s 9.6% of health spending and their government spending making up a mammoth 83.9% of all health spending.

If you look at Qatar it has the lowest health spending in the world – 1.8%, then Burma and Pakistan follow a second close at 2.2%. The World Health Organization says Burma’s government spends only $4.00 per person.

Incredibly interesting yes?

So let’s say you want a tummy tuck, breast augmentation, a face lift or even IVF and you don’t want to take out a second mortgage, or sign your first born away and let’s throw a little rest and relaxation in for good measure.

Travel.

Yes, travel outside your country. Did you know a third of those surveyed in an IPSOS Poll of over 18,000 adults in 24 countries from around the world say they’d consider the idea of traveling for medical treatment better known as medical tourism. If you can get excellent medical care, or even dental treatment and it’s cheaper why not?

“The concept of medical tourism is well accepted in many countries,” said Nicolas Boyon, who is a senior vice president of Ipsos Public Affairs who conducted a travel poll in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States.

The most interesting part is that it’s not always about the money – those from India, Russia, Mexico, Indonesia, and Poland were open to the idea of being “medically mobile” which makes sense in the high tech world in which we all live and 31% of those people in the above countries said they’d definitely consider traveling for medical or dental treatment.

Now not everyone is keen on traveling – those in Japan, Sweden, Spain, and South Korea weren’t hip with traveling for medical reasons.

Most people are willing to travel because they have the idea that medical care in other countries are superior or better to what’s available to them at home at a fraction of the price. However, what’s mind boggling to me is reading that Italy, where we know is a pretty darn cool country over 66% of the Italians said they’d travel and consider medical tourism, followed by Germany at 48% and then Canada at 41%. And finally the USA where 38% of those polled said they were open to the idea. It’s clear that this is a reflection that the medical professional as a whole is no longer protected from globalization which Nicolas Boyon, senior vice president of Ipsos Public Affairs was quoted as saying.

Regarding fertility it’s a no brainer because in some European countries like Italy IVF is illegal – and let’s not forget about egg donation which is illegal in a number of European countries including Germany, Austria, and Italy. Many couples then will seek help in places where the procedure is allowed such as Spain and the United States where donors are paid for their service. Almost half of all IVF treatments with donor eggs in Europe are performed in Spain. IVF with anonymous egg donation is also the main assisted reproductive technology sought by Canadians traveling to the U.S, and is the sought procedure for 80% of cross-border treatments by Canadians. In traditional medical tourism countries like Czech Republic egg donation cycles usually have very good success rate when using modern methods like ICSI, PICSI and PGD that significantly increase success rate of birth.

Are there risks going abroad? Sure there are – even with the most common medical treatments, fertility treatment, dental care, cosmetic surgery, or other elective surgeries (name knee and hip replacements) that’s why it’s important to do your research and choose wisely when selecting your medical travel destination – in other words, research, research, research.

The poll went on to say “The medical tourist industry is dynamic and volatile and a range of factors including the economic climate, domestic policy changes, political instability, travel restrictions, advertising practices, geo-political shifts, and innovative and pioneering forms of treatment may all contribute towards shifts in patterns of consumption and production of domestic and overseas health services.”

Other studies from around the world show that anywhere between 60,000 to 750,000 U.S. residents travel abroad for health care each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Ipos poll showed that younger adults (35 and younger) were more likely to consider medical tourism for their medical needs than those 50-64 years of age. And in India a whopping 86% of the young adults surveyed say they would consider medical tourism, along with 77 percent in China and over 70% in Italy.

It’s been suggested that money’s not the only deciding factor that helps a consumer decide where to go for medical treatment. Aside from the cost of travel, it’s the quality of care, proximity, borders etc…they are all important considerations that medical tourists think about before making a commitment.

What was even more fascinating was reading that Hungary (who knew?) is a popular destination for medical and health treatments – and 20% of those living in Italy and Germany said they would travel to Hungary for health treatments at spa resorts so it goes to show you that there’s something for everyone.

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