With rising healthcare costs in the US and the rise of health tourism destinations that offer quality and affordable healthcare perked up by a beautiful travel experience, patients from around the world are scampering to book appointments with healthcare providers far away from home.
Yearly, millions of patients travel from countries lacking healthcare infrastructure or less advanced in a particular area of medical care to countries that provide highly specialized medical care.
Patients book trips to countries for various medical procedures ranging from cosmetic surgery, dental work, to orthopedic procedures at affordable rates.
For the health tourism destinations and healthcare providers, the competition is fierce, requiring an interplay of factors to drive medical travel and improve their brand in the medical tourism market.
But choosing a destination for one’s medical needs can be an arduous task; with multiple risks sold by the media about medical travel, health consumers are now being more careful about their medical travel choices. The Medical Tourism Index provides a critical gauge for medical tourism destinations, evaluating countries across key indicators that define an excellent medical travel hub.
The MTI assesses medical travel destinations across three main dimensions: Destination Environment, which provides an overview of the socioeconomic and cultural factors that promote inbound travel; Medical Tourism Industry, which assesses the medical tourism infrastructure, including seamless communication, effective medical travel facilitation, and culturally competent programs, and; Quality of Facilities and Services, which evaluates the quality of care provided, quality of healthcare professionals, as well as presence of third-party accreditations.
Medical travel professionals, healthcare organizations, and governments around the world are investing heavily in accessing the right tools and resources to rank higher in the MTI to attract more clients and health payers. Global Healthcare Accreditation, a global leader in healthcare accreditation helps these stakeholders to reposition themselves and conform to industry best practices to achieve these metrics.
Global Healthcare Accreditation offers accreditations, medical training programs and certifications to help healthcare providers, governments, and medical tourism facilitators gain a comprehensive understanding of the industry and become more equipped to handle the challenges in the industry and deliver world-class service.
Using the Medical Tourism Index 2020-2021, which ranks 46 destinations against these indicators, these are the best destinations to travel to for your healthcare needs.
Canada’s rank as number one in the 2020 edition of the Medical Tourism Index comes as no surprise as the second-largest country in the world boasts of a robust tourism industry that attracts more than 14 million Americans each year. Its proximity to the US affords the country a massive influx of tourists and patients who seek to bypass the long wait times and high healthcare costs at home.
Canada ranks high in its reputation for offering quality and highly-specialized medical treatments and world-class healthcare facilities, particularly in orthopedic procedures and complex heart surgeries. It is ranked at the top position for its Destination Environment, 7th in the Medical Tourism Industry dimension, and 4th in the Quality of Facilities out of 46 destinations assessed.
Singapore comes second-place in the Medical Tourism Index, hitting top spot in ranking for the Quality of healthcare Facilities and Services in the country. As of 2019, more than 500,000 foreign tourists visited Singapore for its affordable and quality healthcare services.
Singapore recently set up International Patient Service Centers (IPSCs) that act as medical travel agencies to mediate between international patients and Singaporean healthcare providers, as a way to drive more growth in the industry and allow a much more seamless medical travel journey.
Singapore boasts world-class mutli-specialist centers that collaborate with centers of excellence around the world, including the Singapore General Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital, and the Mount Elizabeth Hospital. Singapore is a choice destination for an array of cosmetic procedures and oncology treatments, with internationally accredited centers and qualified healthcare professionals.
Ranking second in the Medical Tourism Industry and the Quality of Facilites and Services categories, and 5th in the Destination Environment dimension, Japan ranks as one of the most developed healthcare systems in the world, by every measure. Leading recent advances in technology and medicine, Japan continues to deliver top-notch healthcare services to citizens and foreign tourists, most of which come from mainland China.
Low cost of care is also a major driver of Japan’s inbound medical travel, attracting medical tourists from across the world to its expertise in minimally invasive medicine and tech-driven procedures in plastic and orthopedic surgery.
Spain is known as one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, with a tourist profile that pulls tens of millions of tourists every year. The country is ranked high by the MTI as the choicest medical tourist destination in Europe as it offers foreign patients excellent healthcare services with a beautiful travel experience.
Spain attracts a growing number of international tourists from the Middle East, North Africa, and the British Isles, many of who visit the country for advanced orthopedic, cosmetic, and dental procedures.
Spain boasts of several hospitals that are accredited by international bodies, including the renowned Hospital Universitario de Madrid and Sanitas Hospitales in Madrid.
The UK ranks fifth in the global ranking of medical tourism destinations by the MTI. The UK is home to renowned medical institutions including the London Orthopedic Clinic, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and the Cambridge Complex Orthopedic Trauma Center, known for top-quality healthcare services.
The UK is also a choice tourist destination center, welcoming more than 31 million international tourists every year, many of whom are attracted to the rich cultural heritage of the Great Britain.
The United Kingdom takes its highest point in the Destination Environment category, ranking 3rd out of 46 destinations, notably for its richness as a tourist destination.
Dubai known for its ultramodern architecture, high-rise buildings, and luxury shopping. Dubai, with a population of more than 9.4 million welcomes more than 10 million tourists every year. The congenial environment and beauty of Dubai gives a boost to travel experience for millions of international patients that arrive Dubai for world-class care.
The Medical Tourism Index ranked Dubai the top medical destination in the Arab region, as it boasts of world-class hospitals and international doctors across several specialties. Dubai welcomes medical tourists mainly from Asia and neighboring Arab and Gulf countries, and some trips from European and African nations.
Dubai continues to receive millions of tourists yearly, hundreds of thousands of which visit the DHCC for mostly complex cosmetic, dental, and fertility treatments. The city, which is home to renowned hospitals, Mediclinic City Hospital and Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Hospital, has become a one-stop-shop to medical tourists mainly from the GCC and the wider Arab world.
Costa Rica is fast rising as a leader in the medical tourism market. Known for its beautiful sights and competitive prices, Costa Rica welcomes millions of medical tourists from neighboring countries including the US and Canada
This Central American country has ranked high in dentistry and cosmetic surgery - above Canada and US - consistently in the last few years. The country is also building a name in the fields of eye surgery, cancer therapy, and bariatric surgery. The CheTica Ranch located in San Jose provides exotic recovery retreats for medical travelers for patients who relish recovery in a relaxing ambiance. This ranch is also staffed with highly-trained nurses to cater to the medical needs of these patients as they recover.
Costa Rica ranks 1st in the Medical Tourism Industry category and 6th in the Destination Environment dimension and 13th In the Quality of Facilities and Services dimension.
The global Medical Tourism Index ranks Israel as the 8th top medical tourism destination in the world, citing the large pool of tourists that visit the Dead Sea and the massive drift of medical tourists seeking IVF and other fertility treatments in the country.
Israel ranked high in international reputation, patient experience, quality of healthcare, and accreditation of healthcare facilities in the MTI. Israel is 3rd in the Qualities of Facilities and Services dimension, boasting world-class healthcare institutions and internationally trained healthcare providers.
The renowned Sheba Medical Center, which is known for its excellence in complex surgical procedures, launched an international medical tourism division that offers medical services to thousands of international patients from around the world including Russia, Cyprus, Georgia, and the US.
The capital city and the largest emirate in the United Arab Emirate, Abu Dhabi, has built a strong medical tourism platform that can see it emerge the best in the region.
The emirate launched the Abu Dhabi Medical Tourism e-portal in 2019 that provides international patients with details of all the medical offerings and healthcare facilities in the city. Prospective patients can also access medical tourism insurance packages as well as other tourist services such as hotel bookings, transportation, and recreational activities via the e-portal.
Healthcare facilities in Abu Dhabi comply with strict quality rules set by the city’s Department of Health, ensuring they deliver nothing short of top-quality care. Abu Dhabi works closely with Global Healthcare Accreditation and the Medical Tourism Association, which have been integral to transforming the country’s medical travel and healthcare landscapes to attracting more medical tourists and health payers.
India is one of the major players in the Asian medical tourism industry, ranking first in the Medical Tourism Industry dimension of the MTI. India is one of the most visited countries for health care, with an expanded visa policy that eases travel for medical tourists. The medical visa policy allows patients to stay up to 60 days and also offers a medical attendant visa for blood relatives that wish to accompany the patient.
The Indian government launched a to provide patients with access to their network of healthcare facilities and a list of medical services available in the country. This allows patients schedule appointments with healthcare providers and even book for other services including accommodation and recreational activities before their arrival.
India ranks 6th in the Medical Tourism Industry and Quality of Facilities and Services categories, with world-class centers that offer complex transplant services, orthopedic procedures, and complex heart surgeries.
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For those seeking medical care abroad, we highly recommend hospitals and clinics who have been accredited by Global Healthcare Accreditation (GHA). With a strong emphasis on exceptional patient experience, GHA accredited facilities are attuned to your cultural, linguistic, and individual needs, ensuring you feel understood and cared for. They adhere to the highest standards, putting patient safety and satisfaction at the forefront. Explore the world's top GHA-accredited facilities here. Trust us, your health journey deserves the best.