By crossing borders, patients can receive affordable and quality medical care because of medical tourism. It also serves as a gateway, and this industry has served a net worth of $40 billion. A study shows that about 7 million global citizens cross borders and get benefitted from medical tourism.
Advantages of Medical Tourism:
- One of the most important benefits of medical tourism is its cost-effectiveness for patients from countries with expensive medical care. Some critical surgeries, like cardiac surgeries and organ transplants, are priced high in some countries. These surgeries make the patients dig a hole in their pockets in their country. But if they choose medical tourism, then they get benefitted and need not break their accounts. For some coming from expensive countries, getting treatment alone will have them drenched. But if they choose medical tourism, they can afford treatment, accommodation, as well as travel while receiving quality medical care with that money.
- Medical tourism gives patients quick access to medical care with a zero or short waiting period. It also serves patients that require immediate attention, unlike those who have to wait in domestic hospitals for their turn.
- They access about 600 accredited medical facilities worldwide, where they give patients access to high standards of medical care, which alternatively may not be possible in their countries.
- Patients receive supreme attention and recover in a relaxed atmosphere when they tour another country and take healthcare facilities that have tied up with medical tourism agencies.
Disadvantages of medical tourism:
- Legal documents and permission may take longer or be a hindrance to patients in medical tourism destinations. Also, lagging knowledge about the formalities in foreign countries can have a tedious effect.
- The barrier to lack of cultural knowledge and language is another disadvantage for medical tourists. The change can alarm some medical tourists.
- Sometimes medical tourists are not given adequate knowledge about the medical care services and later imposed hidden costs, which defeats the entire purpose of medical tourism.
The recent Covid-19 has spiked the medical tourism sector. We expect it to become a key industrial sector for the growth in the MENA region.
The past decade was critical for the healthcare sector as it aroused diversity in the MENA region. The government has collaborated with the private sector as an alternative to assist healthcare funding, as oil prices have declined. They are promoting public-private partnerships, making it mandatory to roll out insurance coverage, and encouraging private players to set up facilities.
A recent survey found out that Abu Dhabi has geared up in this race. It has recently signed a memorandum of understanding along with the Medical Tourism Association (MTA), a non-profit organization that specializes in healthcare providers and assisting the Government in creating medical tourist programs.
There are various factors to watch a boom in MENA healthcare opportunities. Some of the growth that is in demand are aging populations, lengthening life anticipations, inactive lifestyles that lead to obesity, cancer, and diabetes. If they shift their focus on prevention rather than treatments will lead to opportunities for new models of awareness and away from hospital services.
Even before Covid-19 disabled the world, the inbound medical tourists from the MENA regions in Asia declined because of Government national health facilities. It’s aimed to increase the domestic healthcare capacity to sustain their healthcare systems, decreasing the necessity for overseas treatment.
Some of the region’s improvements are seen in:
- Saudi Arabia is conducting domestic Health Graduate Programs so that they can give qualified health professionals.
- Qatar is looking to build a skilled national employee that can equip high-quality health services.
- Oman is developing for their research and innovation qualified national talents and capabilities in health.
- Bahrain strives to contribute to their nationals’ and residents’ quality health care through retaining health care talent.
Hence, MENA citizens and residents will have access to quality of health care solutions. Also, it is planning to extend medical tourism as it no longer can rely on supplying oil.
Considering that the conditions are returning to normal, experts believe that the health sector could help to rescue travel, tourism, and warmth in the MENA region.
We expect a stream of patients when borders reopen, especially among the individuals who have to postpone their treatments because of the lockdown.
People have travelled to get treatment for cancer, orthopaedic, and cardiology. Hospitals have been associated with hotels for medical treatments, surgeries, and post-recovery and it is becoming a trend.
Medical tourism will be successful only if they go beyond treatment. The trip is like guiding them through their symptoms, considering their options, arranging the visas and flights, providing accommodations, and physiotherapies.
In the immediate future, they expect medical tourism to bounce back, as the region can recuperate faster than other regions, giving excellent service based on their budgets in different locations.