June 2018

Making travel choices for medical tourism?

Here’s why safety comes first.

We live in a connected world, be that via the internet, telecommunications or the global market. These connections are being furthered at a soaring rate each day, but are they bringing us closer together? Are they giving us the options we need to make informed choices? The latter question is something I want to address in this article regarding choices in medical tourism that are being made every day by travellers from America, Western Europe and Asia. Medical tourism seems like the perfect topic to discuss, as it has opened up boundaries hugely and brought to light a new market that is truly international.

 

 

Customers find themselves all over the world in search of plastic surgery package deals and surgery holidays. The Czech Republic and other areas further east in Europe have become hugely popular, however areas as far as India and Mexico are being included in the medical tourism market by major economic reports and news outlets. In 2016, it was reported that medical tourists in India alone had doubled in number, and some sources claim the industry is worth $8 billion dollars. Plastic surgery holiday packages in India seem to be very tempting to consumers, but what is the difference compared with options in central Europe?

 

As well as the press regarding popularity, there have also been reports about the risks of cosmetic surgery travel packages in India. Customers have voiced concerns about sanitary procedures, which differ in appearance to those in the Western world. It is well known that tap water in India is not suitable for travellers, and this has also been a source of worry for some individuals. Whilst sanitation is of a good standard in most cases, this links in to the issue of quality control and regulation. For the medical tourist, finding information regarding medical regulation of Indian services is quite a task, and this information is not readily available on clinic websites. When searching for surgery holidays or plastic surgery travel one is directed to the price – but not always the standard. Is this then, an issue of information availability? Information that is lost in translation? Perhaps so, and when faced with competitive prices and a tourist experience alongside that, it is not hard to see why consumers get confused when the time comes around for surgery.

 

 

Therefore it can be said that safety is better guaranteed when choosing European options, largely on the grounds of familiarity with standards and the expectation of accountability in every clinic. India is a thriving and growing market, the regulation and standards of which have yet to be made fully available to medical tourists worldwide.

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2987953/

http://risk.medicalxtourism.com/problems-with-medical-tourism-in-india/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3726175/Number-medical-tourists-coming-India-doubles-two-years.html

https://www.imtj.com/blog/india-medical-tourism-market-worth-8-billion-reality/