Challenges of medical tourism
There are many challenges in the medical tourism industry, both for businesses and for clients. Clients often face difficulties such as language barriers when they are planning a trip to a country where English is not the first language. However, this does not have to be a problem and there are in fact countries and facilities in which the personnel are accustomed to dealing with English-speaking patients. Most countries that have been in the medical tourism industry for a while now, have professionals that do speak English, so for the most part it should not be a big problem.
Sometimes there may be a lack of infrastructure and a lack of new medical technology. This is why clients need to do their research and find a clinic in a large enough and modern city which has the latest technology and infrastructure that is needed to do excellent work. For instance, Turkey is a country which has such clinics and staff (e.g. Vera Clinic).
Another problem is that the actual professionalism and quality of care may be inferior to what you would find in your home country. An excellent clinic with a high quality of care will have some type of accreditation and should have experienced staff and physicians who have professional certifications that you can verify. There should be evidence of the ability of the physicians in the form of recommendations and reviews on reputable websites. It is also smart for you to ask around and see if any of your friends or colleagues may have travelled abroad for medical procedures.
Additional client issues related to medical tourism
A major drawback of traveling to another country for medical procedures and care is the potential lack of follow-up care. This is not a minor issue since you may endanger your own health by not having access to such follow-up care. It may well depend on the type of procedure that you are getting as to how big of an issue this really is though.
Procedures such as hair transplant surgery will be less dangerous than say, bariatric surgery. The clinic you choose should be able to inform you of the risks and aftercare needs of whatever procedure you are having done.
On the client side, the lowered cost of medical tourism is the number one reason why people choose to travel to have certain procedures done. Patients will often visit countries that are geographically closest to their home country. This makes sense since a shorter traveling distance is more affordable and also safer.
Business issues related to medical tourism
Entering the medical tourism industry is difficult for some businesses, especially in places where the market is already oversaturated. This can be both positive and negative for clients and businesses. It means that a new business has to take extra care to attract patients and hopefully this translates into a more affordable procedure for the patient. However, the big downside is that a business may slash its fees and compromise in the quality of care that is being offered to clients.
The bottom line is that there are challenges for both clients and businesses in the medical tourism industry, and clients should be very cautious in selecting a reputable place to have their medical procedures done at.