November 30, 2016
Human beings have recorded their health tourism movements for 3,500 years; They travelled looking for the best place to solve their health problems. There are reports that some tribes in Africa and the Middle East paid those who drove the large camel caravans to take them safely to the places where their “healing baths” were located in what today belongs to Turkey. There is also information on how, in the Middle Ages, people in Europe travelled to different countries seeking new treatments or better health care.
Will health tourism continue to grow? We, as humans, have always travelled and will always travel for health reasons.
Here are some reasons for which I am convinced that it will continue to grow:
- The training structures of health specialists are different in all countries
The last report of the Pan American Health Organization on the training of human talent showed that countries in Latin America have a very detailed system for the training of health specialists, as well as creating a widening gap in some specialty areas. In Peru, we have seen a huge boom in the advanced technology being used in the top clinics such as with the latest in lasers, 3D x-rays and CAD CAM systems, often imported from Europe and the United States. It’s all about supply and demand, so while technology and infrastructure continue to improve and match that of the first world countries, medical tourism patients keep coming due to lower costs being matched with the same technology being used as in their own country.
- Traveling is also becoming easier
2015 was the year in history when more people mobilized. More than fourteen hundred million passengers left their country for some reason. The number of flights and travel facilities is becoming more evident despite the visa restrictions and the required documentation. In short, it is now much faster and easier to travel.
- Demographic changes in the pyramid of the population of each country
Some countries are getting older, that is, they have an increasing percentage of people over 60 years. Most chronic and high-cost diseases occur in people in this segment, a fact that generates a large burden on health systems. This saturation makes people want to travel to other countries to expedite their cases. In Canada, for example, the waiting time for surgery or even an appointment is longer than 6 months on average, making more and more Canadians want to travel abroad to perform their health procedures within a matter of days or weeks. Say goodbye to waiting lists.
- Increased costs in health systems
Health systems are increasingly taking on greater costs, given increases in insurance coverage, increased rates of chronic and high-cost illnesses, an increase in the number of people over the age of 60, and the list goes on. Insurance companies are looking for ways to cut costs and have found a great opportunity by serving some of their patients in countries where treatments are cheaper, such as Peru.
- Better Quality in Healthcare
Clinics and hospitals in most countries improve their quality processes and clinical outcomes. Quality care and treatments in Peru is becoming more and more important for health institutions. Hospitals are interested in international accreditations and in improving their care processes for international patients. All this makes patients feel more secure when travelling and motivates the growth of tourism in health and well-being.
- Countries are seeking to promote new visitors:
Not so long ago, few countries offered or focused on health services for foreign patients. But today, Lima, Peru has shown itself as an ideal health destination. As a new player in the international market, Peru has created increased competition between other countries to attract these international patients.
For now, it is important for health professionals to know that medical tourism or health tourism is no fashion, and on the contrary, it is a growing sector. Knowing that Peru will give a competitive advantage regarding quality, time frames, technology and of course very reasonable costs makes it all the more worthwhile for a trip to Lima.
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