What is meant by medical tourism?
Medical tourism, also called health tourism, is a new trend worldwide, in full expansion, which initially started in South America with agencies and Tour Operators exclusively specialized in this sector.
The aim of medical tourism is to propose to foreign patients formulae 2 in 1 including a medical act and a relaxation stay.
The whole is known to have a price that is 40 to 60% less expensive than that of a mere medical act in Europe or in North America, and also makes allowances for touristic activities during the recovery period.
There are five distinct phenomena that lead to the development of medical tourism:
- Disparities of the standard of living between countries which allow, in a less advanced country, to lower the cost price of health care offer in comparison with the price in more developed country.
- The disparities of sanitary infrastructures which would lead a patient to seek an offer of health care in a country such as Tunisia when failing to benefit from an adequate health care offer in his/her country: a British citizen would like to avoid long waiting lists for an operation, an Algerian citizen can, himself/herself, perform cosmetic surgery, etc.
- les disparités de législations/réglementations qui vont se traduire The disparities of legislation/regulations which will be translated into a rise in price of surgical acts in some countries, because of compulsory insurance fees purchased by practitioners and with repercussions on their own fees, or which restrict access to certain medical acts such as abortion or sterilization.
- Border crossing and opening in particular with regard to goods and services have enabled a practitioner from country X to hold consultations in country Y in order to plan and arrange for a medical act in country Z.
- The internet development as a medium of information, a means to share views on health matters, and the use of the internet to promote offers of health care alternatives from a country subject to rules that are less restrictive in terms of promoting health care services.