Yale Center for the Study of Globalization 2010, Marcelo, Ray, viewed 8 November 2010, < http: //yaleglobal. yale. edu/content/india-fosters-growing-medical-tourism-sector> .14India Profile: Cost Comparison of Medical Treatments: India vs The World 2010, viewed 8 November 2010, < www. indiaprofile. com/medical-tourism/cost-comparison. html> .15Tuner L. 2007. First World Health Care at Third World Prices': Globalization, Bioethics and Medical Tourism Cambridge University Press, p. 21.15THE AIM OF THE CASE STUDYThere are so many countries that are catering for the medical tourists in the world. The aim of this case study is to find out the situation of the medical tourism sector in the Asian countries.
In addition the case study will find out the competitive advantage that some countries have over others in Asia. This will be achieved by reviewing all the available literature concerning the selected countries in the case study. EXECUTIVE SUMMARYMedical tourism is an international phenomenon of people travelling across the international borders seeking health care services that are otherwise not available in their countries of residence either due to high prices, poor facilities, unprofessionalism and long waiting lists. Previously, the medical tourism sector was dominated by the United States of America (US) and Britain.
Currently, with the development of infrastructure and technology, many international patients prefer Asia to the US and Britain. The case study in this report was conducted on three countries from Asia: namely India, Thailand and Singapore. The main aim of the researcher was to find out the key issues and challenges in the medical tourism Industry in Asia. After a thorough research of journals, conference papers, books and online materials it was concluded that Asia has the most preferred medical tourism hubs which include India, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore among others.
These medical tourism hubs are cost effective, have qualified medical personnel and use modern medical technologies. The main challenges facing the medical tourism industry in Asia include poor infrastructure, poor medical tourism facilities, unequal ratio between doctors and patients, overcrowding in the major cities and lack of government support. The main recommendations proposed by this paper include policy and institutional reforms, memorandum of understanding between the sending and the receiving country, code of ethics for professionals and improvement of the infrastructure. INTRODUCTIONEvery year patients from all over the world seek treatment for dreaded diseases like heart diseases, cancer, kidney diseases, orthopaedics, liver diseases, paediatric diseases, etc.
These patients seek professional treatment from some of the specialised hospitals abroad. Medical tourism is an international phenomenon of people travelling across international borders seeking health care services that are otherwise not available in their countries of residence either due to high prices, poor facilities, unprofessionalism and long waiting lists. The main contributors to the improvement of the global medical tourism sector include increased foreign travel, joint ventures in the private health sector and readily available information to the consumers.
Medical travel, however, is about expanding patients’ choices on where to find health care and increasing the tendency of people from developing countries to take medical travel as they combine it with other tourism adventures. Although medical tourism looks as if it is a new idea in the world it is more than a thousand years old (UNESCAP, 2008, p. 1). Previously, patients from both developed and developing countries used to seek medical assistance from the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (US).
Although the services were expensive, these destinations had monopolised the medical tourism sector and patients were left with no other option at their disposal. Currently, the global medical tourism sector is developing, thanks to the emergence of other medical tourism destinations. However, people from developed and developing countries prefer hospitals in Asia to hospitals in the US and the UK. Many Asian countries have promoted the global medical tourism sector. The medical tourism sector in Asia is rapidly growing. In 2006, according to Hafidzah (2008, p. 2), the sector outstripped the 4-6 % growth in general bookings that were predicted by the year 2006.
The burgeoning medical tourism industry in Asia is expected to be worth more than US$4 billion by the end of 2012 (Hafidzah, 2008, p. 2). The rationale for improvement of the medical tourism sector in Asia is its cost effectiveness and high quality that is attracting over 1.3 million tourists each year. The main medical tourism destinations in Asia include Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore and India. The development of medical tourism sector in Asia gives the patients, especially from the developing countries, a better option where they are guaranteed professional medical service, which is cost effective.