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What is Medical Tourism and what is not?

Industry News

What is medical tourism? Is it the same as health tourism? According to the last report of OECD Medical Tourism: treatments, Markets and Health System Implications: A scoping review, medical tourism means consumers traveling across international borders with the intention of receiving some form of medical treatment. Cosmetic surgery for aesthetic reasons would not be considered health tourism.

Under the big umbrella of patient mobility, we found different terms: (i) temporary visitors abroad who are the people who spend holidays overseas and need to use health services because of an unexpected accident or sickness while they are traveling; (ii) long term residents are the individuals who retire in countries different than their country of origin and receive health coverage founded by either their country of origin or the country of residence.

In addition, there are outsourced patients who are people who decide to go abroad (usually travel short distances) using cross-national purchasing agreements. Lastly, medical tourists are patients who choose to travel overseas to receive medical care.

The report goes into detail explaining the differences with regards to the terminology used in the industry and analyzes the global growth in the flow of patients and health professionals. Read the entire report at:,3746,en_2649_33929_48724272_1_1_1_1,00.html

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