Medical tourism is one of the most dynamically growing industries today. Considered to be the direct impact of globalisation of healthcare, medical tourism certainly exhibits strong growth potential globally. However, based on FMI’s research, the market of medical tourism is expected to concentrate within most of the emerging economies of the world.
As developing nations are increasingly heading toward technological advancement and quality services in the medical and healthcare sector, the global medical tourism market is anticipated to witness robust growth over 2014-2020, predominantly in Asian countries.
The top treatments people travel abroad for, include cancer therapy, cardiovascular surgeries, orthopaedic treatments, dentistry, cosmetic surgeries, reproductive treatments, weight loss therapies, health screenings, and medical tests and scans. In severe cases, a sizeable patient population also seeks second opinion from specialist doctors out of their countries.
High treatment costs and lengthy waiting times for medical procedures, being the two major factors in driving medical tourism, are also supported by easier and cheaper international travel. While the U.K.’s population prefers to travel abroad for bypassing long waits, patients from the U.S. travel outside for availing of treatments at cheaper costs.
Medical excellence along with international accreditation are the key factors fuelling a majority of international patient flow, eventually boosting international medical tourism. Currently, over 600 medical departments and hospitals all over the globe are accredited by the U.S. Joint Commission International (JCI). The number of accredited facilities is projected to increase almost by 20% each year. This is another important driver associated with the market growth.
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Developing countries, with ever-evolving innovation and demonstrable achievements in medical research are estimated to accelerate the approaching medical tourist flow over the forecast period. Growing healthcare investments by various government and private sectors are also anticipated to further bolster the market growth.
However, medical tourists are highly prone to a wide variety of health risks after they return. The conditions may include TB, paratyphoid, amoebic dysentery, deep vein thrombosis, and more; usually caused due to poor post-operative care and inadequate rest. This could affect the market to some extent.
Stringent documentation processes, issues related to visa approval, and limited insurance coverage are reportedly some of the most deterring factors for the global market.
Global Medical Tourism Market: Segmentation
FMI’s research on the global medical tourism market offers a six-year forecast, segmenting the market on the basis of type of medical treatment and geography.
On the basis of the type of treatment, the market is segmented into cosmetic treatment, cardiovascular treatment, fertility treatment, dental treatment, orthopaedic treatment, and other general treatments.
On the basis of geography, the market is segmented into Asia pacific, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, North America, and South America.
Some of the prominent medical tourism centres across the globe include Thailand, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Israel, Brazil, Turkey, the Philippines, Dubai, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Canada, and the U.S. According to Patients Beyond Borders, the global medical tourism market is currently growing at an impressive rate between 15% and 25%, and the flow of patients seeking cross-border treatment options will be the highest in Mexico. South and Southeast Asia are expected to dominate the global market in the near future.
Based on MTA’s recently released Medical Tourism Index, there are 41 countries participating in the global medical tourism market. While India broadly secures #1, Israel ranks #1 in the quality of services and facilities.
India is renowned for specialist cardiac surgeries, while Singapore is a popular medical tourism destination owing to the expertise in complicated surgical procedures. Thailand has been a popular destination for medical tourism and millions of patients have travelled to Thailand since 2006. It is also the top cosmetic surgery centre globally.
Malaysia offers state-of-the-art medical infrastructure and treatments by highly skilled medical professionals, making it another sought after centre among medical tourists. With economically affordable treatment options and favourable government initiatives, Malaysia is anticipated to acquire one of the top market positions in the global medical tourism market, during the forecast period.
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Key Players: Global Medical Tourism Market
Some of the top key players in the medical tourism industry include Asian Heart Institute (India), Apollo Hospitals (India), Prince Court Medical Centre (Malaysia), Gleneagles Hospital (Singapore), Min-Sheng General Hospital (Taiwan), Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital (Bangkok), Raffles Medical Group (Singapore), Clemenceau Medical Centre (Lebanon), Bangkok Hospital (Thailand), Bumrungrad International Hospital (Thailand), Fortis Healthcare Ltd. (India), Wooridul Spine Hospital (Korea), KPJ Healthcare Berhad (Malaysia), Anadolu Medical Centre (Turkey), and Asklepios Klinik Barmbek (Germany).
While these players rank amongst they compete on the basis of exceptional service quality, optimum patient comfort, and relatively reasonable costs for various treatments. Several facilities are also undergoing mergers, acquisitions, affiliations, and joint ventures for delivering enhanced medical care, thereby strengthening their market positions. A few prominent examples of highly productive collaborations include the collaboration between Bumrungrad International Hospital (Bangkok) and IBM Watson for better cancer care, and the collaboration of Anadolu Medical Centre (Turkey) with Johns Hopkins Medicine (U.S.).