Medical tourism is an imperative factor for both national health care systems and global health in this era of globalized medicine, when international travel and access to online health information are easy to come by. Patients from all over the world are gaining more control over their health care options by seeking information from sources other than their regular health care providers and, in some cases, opting for treatment options outside their native country’s medical system.
It is defined as “the practice of travelling to another country for the purpose of receiving health care (elective surgery, dental treatment, gender-re-assignment operation, organ transplantation, Orthopaedic surgery (hip replacement, resurfacing, knee replacement, joint surgery), medical checkups, cancer treatment, and so on),” and is distinguished from both unplanned medical emergencies that occur abroad and formal bi-lateral medical trade agreements.
The World Tourism Organization reports that tourism has been growing steadily in all directions recently. Between 2009 and 2018, the number of trips for visiting friends and relatives, medical treatment and improving health, and religious visits increased from 252 million to 377 million.
Medical Tourism in Mexico
Some of the reasons Mexico has been prominently positioned as a top choice for Medical Tourism include: international demand for quality services, certified doctors, privileged geographical locations, advanced technology, cutting-edge scientific approaches, connectivity, and hospital infrastructures.
According to Patients Beyond Borders data, Mexico attracts between 200,000 and one million foreign patients per year, the majority of whom are from the states of California, Arizona, and Texas.
According to the Ministry of Health, Mexico’s competitive medical service prices allow for savings ranging from 35 % to 40 % on various treatments and surgical procedures, as well as shorter wait times. For example, rhinoplasty is 55% less expensive than in the United States, and cardiac valve replacement is up to 86% less expensive.
Development of Medical Tourism Advisory Council
Mexico’s government has prioritized the development of the country’s medical infrastructure. As a result, Mexico now has advanced hospitals and surgery centers led by highly qualified medical professionals. The country has formed a medical tourism advisory council comprised of federal government, research and academia, and private sector representatives. The council promotes medical tourism in Mexico through favorable policies and industry support.
Mexico excels in medical tourism specialties such as cardiac surgery, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, oncology, dentistry, gastro-surgery, traumatology, and bariatric surgery, among others.
Medical tourism has far-reaching consequences that extend far beyond the health sector. It spans and intertwines across large industries such as hotels, restaurants, and tour operators, to name a few. It is a sub-industry that contributes to the overall strength of the country’s economy.
Choose the Right Provider
If you are considering travelling to Mexico for medical treatment, your first step should be to find a reputable medical tourism provider. They will be able to arrange for you to visit one of Mexico’s best hospitals and ensure that you receive excellent medical care and attention throughout your stay in the country.
Statistics on medical tourism in Mexico
Mexico ranks second in the world (after Thailand) in terms of the total number of medical tourists who visit each year. Medical tourism in Mexico generates up to $23 billion in revenue per year. According to Patients Beyond Borders, a reputable organization that promotes medical travel, nearly one million visitors from the United States alone travel to Mexico each year for low-cost medical care.
Cost Savings Potential
According to City Express, medical tourists can save anywhere from 30% to 80% on their medical costs when compared to their home country. Clearly, visitors from the United States and Canada will save more because medical costs in these countries are among the highest in the world.
Advanced Healthcare System
- Most Mexican cities have at least one world-class hospital
- State-of-the-art facilities comparable to the US hospitals
- Certified & highly experienced doctors with excellent patient safety records
- Only hours away from the US and Canada by land or air
- Visa-free tourism for 75+ countries (including US, UK, and Canada)
- Direct flights from major cities in the US, Canada, and Europe
Benefits of Medical Tourism:
Medical tourism is gaining popularity because it promotes access to healthcare in states where some medical treatment/interventions are not available or accessible to their residents.
Patients seek medical tourism because the operations they require can be performed in other countries at a lower cost and without the delay and inconvenience being placed on a waiting list in their home country. Furthermore, some patients travel to certain places in order to receive treatments that are not available in their own country. Stem cell transplants and gender reassignment surgery are two examples of such procedures.
Depending on the operation and the nation to which they visit, medical tourists can save from around 20% to 80% on medical expenditures. There are a number of factors that play their role:
- In the United States, diagnostic testing and drugs are very costly.
- Labor expenditures for nurses, aides, surgeons, pharmacists, physical therapists, and others are included.
Boosts Economic Development and improves quality of health
Medical tourism boosts economic development and improves the quality of healthcare in the destination country.
Medical tourism, like any other sort of tourism, is certainly an important part of a stable economy. It can contribute to economic diversification and increased profitability not only through foreign currency inflows, but also by increasing local employment, improving the skills of local staff, stimulating healthcare investment, improving the quality of medical and related services, and improving the country’s own nation’s health.
Medical tourism development is influenced by both microeconomic and macroeconomic factors. Microeconomic factors relate to the receivers and providers of healthcare. Macroeconomic factors relate to the government policy being implemented to support the development of medical tourism.
Driving Forces behind Medical Tourism
Globalization, economic, social, cultural, and technical are all driving forces behind medical tourism.
There is also the growth of patient choice and forms of consumerism, even in countries where public services have traditionally been subsidized. All expectations are now met thanks to the openness of information and the rise of varied provider competing on quality and pricing.