May 23, 2016

Medical Tourists Seek Advanced Technology

Medical Tourists Seek Advanced Technology

It should be of no surprise that medical technology has come a long way in the past several hundred years. A persistent curiosity to research, innovate and adapt has allowed the world’s population to lead healthier and longer lives. Unfortunately, the medical tools, technology, treatment options, and expertise most beneficial for surrounding many of the world’s more advanced injuries and illnesses are not always readily available in a patient’s home country. Let’s face the facts, when an injury or disease drastically limits quality of life, one will naturally seek the highest level of care affordable.

A nearly fifty thousand patient study by consulting firm McKinsey & Co shows that about forty-percent of all medical travelers are looking for the most advanced medical technology available. The next two largest segments are comprised of patients looking for better-quality care at thirty-two percent and quicker access to care at fifteen percent of medical travelers. While we recognize that medical travelers have many motives for their medical decisions, it is critical to note that a search for lower-cost procedures represents a small segment of the market. Contrary to popular perception, the vast majority of the world’s medical travelers are looking for advanced technology, better quality and quicker access to medical care.

Getting Older

New discoveries in medicine, improved medical technology and greater effectiveness in treatment options have allowed the global population to witness great increases to longevity of life. Reported by the National Institute on Aging, life expectancy in most countries is now around eighty-one years of age. As fertility rates continue to decline, older individuals are quickly becoming a proportionally larger share of the total population.

An aging world population has put major strains on the availability and quality of healthcare resources around the world. Technological advances may have allowed individuals to live longer, yet consequently an increasing population is now requiring medical treatment and assistance. In direct result, hospitals and healthcare systems are experiencing chronic overcrowding and a shortage of suitable physicians and facilities capable of performing the treatment – particularly surgical care – we may require. The impacts of population aging on healthcare are most notably felt within countries where government run hospitals and healthcare systems are common.

With an increasing aging population requiring greater access to medical care, patients are deciding to travel in order to receive treatment within a country, facility and program that can provide required care in a more timely fashion. Common surgical and treatment options for medical travelers may include: cosmetic, cardiovascular, orthopedic, reproductive, cancer, dentistry and weight loss.