Early Impacts of COVID-19 on Medical Tourism Market: What to Expect from Industry in 2020?
Thousands of years back, Greek pilgrims traveled from the eastern Mediterranean to a small region in the Saronic Gulf called Epidauria for medical treatment. This territory was the sanctuary of the healing god Asklepios. This was the first recorded instance of people travelling off the shore for medical tourism.
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Sanitaria and spa towns were the earliest forms of medical tourism. The spa towns in 18th-century Europe were places with good provisions of mineral waters, treating diseases such as liver disorders, and bronchitis.
Reports found that almost six million people travel across international borders for less expensive care and on-time treatment. The Economic Times reports that the Indian medical tourism business is growing 30% annually, with 3.2 million visitors projected to spend $2 billion U.S. in 2015. There are various growth drivers that impact the market.
Growth Drivers of Medical Tourism
Lower rate of cost is the most basic cause behind taking an off-shore treatment. The rising costs of healthcare and lack of state-of-the-art medical technologies in the western countries as well as the Middle East, has compelled its modern population to search for different options.
Asia-Pacific region, especially India is prospering in the global medical tourism industry, the significant stimulator being the effortlessness in getting an e-Visa for such medical services.
There are many insurance companies that offer financial inducements for overseas surgery, discounting or reducing the percentage of the cost of the patient during the trip.
Such insurance companies have made it easier for the patients to take an advanced treatment.
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Luxury and Private Nursing
Luxury and private nursing offered by some foreign hospitals are proved to be the major attractions for some patients. Such patients love the spa-like luxury that some destination hospitals offer, as an additional advantage of a budget surgery. There are also a few facilities offering hospital rooms that are more like a hotel suite. Some of such exotic hospitals offer facilities such as one on one private nursing care, which is undoubtedly, far more lavish and observant than the staffing ratios that most hospitals in general allow.
Holiday in a Distant Country
It sounds so amazing! Flying to an exotic destination with the help of an insurance company and experiencing a retreat in a foreign country along with the low-cost surgery.
The insurance company schedules the retreat immediately before or after the surgery, so that the patient can enjoy the stay in a foreign country and travel.
Types of Treatment
Cosmetic surgery, organ transplantation, cardiac surgery, dentistry, and orthopedic surgery are the most common types of treatment that patients opt for during the medical tourism trips.
Lengthy reimbursement of insurance and difficulties associated with the accessories and visa is considered to be the biggest restrains for the market. Differences in the standards of healthcare providers around the world have been recognized by the World Health Organization which led to the launch of the World Alliance for Patient Safety, in 2004. This body assists hospitals and government around the world in setting patient safety policy and practices that can become particularly relevant when providing medical tourism services.
Asia-Pacific is Going to Provide Umpteen Opportunities for the Investors
The affordable price, advanced level of treatment and machinery, and lesser government policies towards the medical tourism is considered to be major driving factor for the flourishing opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2004, 1.2 million patients traveled to India for healthcare and 1.1 million medical tourists traveled to Thailand. A recent report by Research Dive states that Asia pacific accounted for the highest market share of 37% in 2018 and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 12.2% in the forecast period.
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