* lower price
* quality service catered to their needs
* more availability of services
* privacy in stigmatized situation –> sex change operations, face lifts, infertility treatments
These are the benefits medical tourists are increasingly discovering, a result of the growing awareness that no one country has a monopoly on health care and that cheap doesn’t necessarily mean poor quality. While travel in search of healing is not a new trend, the increasing number of people traveling long distances and out of country to have medical procedures that are also offered much closer to home, is a new phenomenon. In the past, medical travel use to only involve citizens of poorer nations seeking services from wealthier nations. The United States is an example of this phenomenon, as it was, until recently, a prime destination for many who sought advanced biomedical care. Massachusetts General Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and numerous other elite medical facilities draw patients from around the world to the United States (Turner 2007). However, the direction of the flow has begun to change.
At its current trajectory, medical tourism has the potential to hold a key role in the future of the medical services industry. Medical travel and tourism can provide a much cheaper option for patients struggling to pay their medical bills in an increasingly expensive health market. It also holds the potential to stimulate a nation’s economy through the creation of an entirely new market working to compete for patients by offering the best services at the best price. However, medical travel also has the potential to have serious ramifications on both the health and well being of an individuals and the nations involving themselves. As the number of medical tourists increases and the medical service industry becomes more and more privatized and globalized, economic, ethical , ad anthropological benefits, as well as consequences will continue to be called into question.