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Medical Tourism: Understanding Medical Tourism and its relevance

Leena George,

Leena George,

Assistant Professor - ISTTM Business School

ABSTRACT

Medical Tourism refers to the people travelling to other countries for medical treatment. Earlier this used to be from less developed countries to the developed ones. But with advancement in technology and health care now, people travel for the best alternative available, in the best interest of the patient with minimum difficulties. Another reason could also be medical services unavailable in one’s own country. It is most often for surgeries, specialized or routine, cosmetic or otherwise. People also travel for dental tourism or fertility tourism which is in vogue these days. Travelling for rare medical condition for which better health care is possible. At times the caregiver also needs care in terms of psychiatric help. Counseling is done for alternative medicine, convalescent care and if required assistance is provided for burial services. Health tourism is a broader term for travel focusing on medical treatments and the use of health care services. For the rich and the affluent of the society it covers a wide range of health services conducive to affordability, rehabilitation and wellness.

The World Health Organization on 30th Jan. 2020 announced a public health emergency of International concern and on 11th Mar. 2020 COVID-19 was declared a Pandemic. Most countries take extreme measures to restrict movements and impose lockdowns to control further transmission and minimize the spread of infection. The number of COVID cases keeps increasing and the international travel to and from India are restricted. This pandemic has affected us globally. Health, economy, industries, hotels are endangered and threatened; the impact is so deep that it is a threat to the global economy too. The effect of pandemic on medical tourism is multidimensional. It will definitely interfere with patients going to other countries on medical visa thereby impacting healthcare revenue generation to a significant level.

Key Words: travel, health care, wellness, patient, medical tourism

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