Friday, December 11, 2009

Have you considered Medical Tourism?

I never learned about medical tourism during medical school. Did you? Some may argue that medical tourism is one of the hottest medical trends to hit the globe. This week's BusinessWeek journal has a special advertising section labeled, "Health care gets the private treatment." It's about medical tourism.

What is medical tourism? Well, let's see what Wikipedia has to say:
Medical tourism (also called medical travel, health tourism or global healthcare) is a term initially coined by travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly-growing practice of traveling across international borders to obtain health care. It also refers pejoratively to the practice of healthcare providers traveling internationally to deliver healthcare. Services typically sought by travelers include elective procedures as well as complex specialized surgeries such as joint replacement (knee/hip), cardiac surgery, dental surgery, and cosmetic surgeries.
So why is this so appealing? Why is this such a hot medical trend?

Part of the reason is because medical care can be quite expensive in the United States, but you may be able to get the same procedure for less somewhere else. Also, if you don't want to wait for your MRI or other diagnostic study, maybe you'd prefer to travel somewhere, enjoy a nice vacation, and get your long-awaited MRI. Some are predicting that medical tourism could jump tenfold over the next decade. So, there are many business opportunities in this space and I don't get the sense that the field is saturated (yet).

If you're an entrepreneur, then perhaps you'd like to consider a business in the medical tourism industry. Be cautious. The illegal purchase of organs and tissues for transplantation have been alleged in certain countries and some argue that there are many ethical issues that must be considered when you think about medical tourism.

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