You may be wondering how it is that a third world country can offer medical services at a state of the art facility. How is it possible that a country can offer services to foreigners that it cannot offer to all of its own citizens?
It may seem, at first glance, that it is wrong to have multi-million dollar state of the art facilities sitting amidst extreme poverty. One has to look beyond the surface to see what the intent is. The answer is simply that countries such as India and Thailand have a vision and a mission to use the income from medical tourism to revitalize their economic system, and to use that money to provide aid to those in need.
Medical tourism is growing at a rate of approximately 20% a year. What is driving the expansion of the medical tourism industry? Countries such as India, Thailand, others have been quick to recognize that the Western world is not providing timely medical care to its citizens. In both the United States and Canada, it is not uncommon to wait for more than 4 months to be seen after a referral is made. Then, there is more waiting time while tests are scheduled. Additional time passes waiting for the test results. If the result is that there is a need for a procedure, it could be several more weeks before surgery is scheduled. Non emergency medical attention may be extended for up to two years. There is basically no wait time in foreign countries that are marketing medical tourism.
Those in the medical tourism industry also recognize that time is a precious commodity. Another aspect to the trends of medical tourism is to market to those who have little vacation or sick leave available to them. Multitasking is not new in the business world, and countries desiring to attract the medical tourist are appealing to those who would like to have an exotic and affordable vacation, but may feel they need to forgo it, in light of the upcoming surgery in the spring. Many countries are marketing their accredited, resort type facilities, and the amenities of the surrounding countryside to those in need of medical services.
India and Thailand are competing for the position of forerunners in the industry. As with many other countries, the aim is to generate the revenue that can then be put into alleviating the extreme poverty in the country. India is to have revenue of 2.3 billion by 2012. In a country that has both the very wealthy and the very poor, it is anticipated that the income from the medical tourism industry will go far in providing aid to the poor and destitute in that country.
In order to attract medical tourists, it is necessary to meet the strictest of standards and provide top quality service in state of the art facilities that more resemble a five star resort than a hospital. The stark white and green walls of the hospitals in the homeland have been replaced with color and beautiful art displays. There are plants everywhere. Some facilities offer swimming pools and fitness centers. Each room or suite of rooms better resembles a hotel room than a hospital room. Each has been meticulously decorated to appeal to the most hard to please tourists. Fresh flowers and fruit are waiting on the tables, plump pillows are plentiful and comfortable furniture is scattered around the room. The majority of marketed facilities that offer medical tourism are accredited by the IOS (International Organization of Standardization) and the JCI (Joint Commission International).
Most of the doctors who work in these medical tourism facilities have studied in the developed countries and then have returned to work in their home countries. If you are having a medical procedure done, rest assured that you will be cared for by highly qualified staff, with proficient translators standing by! Most new facilities are also equipped with the latest equipment such as heart mapping equipment, CT Scanners, Open MRI machines, heart catheterization labs, digital ultrasound and mammogram machines and more.
Yes, it is true that there are state of the art facilities that are sitting in the midst of extreme poverty and it is true that while foreigners are receiving treatment, citizens in the same neighborhood may go without. The short term benefit is that the medical tourist is able to receive timely, affordable, top quality healthcare in a choice destination. The long term goal is to revitalize the economic system of the country. The premise is that by investing the money to build the resort type facilities, send doctors for international training, and massive marketing campaigns; many of these countries will build their way out of poverty. By doing so, they will be able to provide aid to their own citizens, something that is not possible without the revenue that medical tourism brings to the country.