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From Medical Tourism to Globalization of Health Services

I recall having a non-emergent dental procedure while I was a student. Even though I have dental insurance, I still need to spend a lot. So I postponed the dental procedure until the summer when I visited my parents in China. It costs about ten percent of what it would cost in the United States. Even with the additional cost of the flight and hotel, it is still much cheaper than in the United States. Since the cost is much less expensive in China, this was pretty common in the Chinese American community to travel back for medical service. For example, an annual physical checkup that includes a chest X-ray, an ultrasound, and an EKG costs about $30-$40 in China.

  I didn’t realize there was a term for this phenomenon called “medical tourism” until today, after reading Chapter 14 of the book. The Global Healthcare Manager. (Michael, 2019)

Medical tourism, according to the CDC (nd), is when a person goes to another country for medical treatment. World Tourist Organization defined that as “a form of tourism activity that includes the utilization of evidence-based medical therapeutic resources and services (WTO 2018).  

 Medical tourism attracts millions of Americans each year. Mexico, Canada, central and south America, India, Singapore, and Thailand are popular destinations for medical tourists from the United States. Medical services provided usually include diagnosis, treatment, cure, prevention, and rehabilitation. Medical tourism is growing in popularity, with estimates estimating that up to 750,000 Americans would seek medical treatment abroad in 2007( Horowitz 2007). 

  At the same time, as Chinese people get richer, a growing number of individuals are traveling to the United States for medical treatment, particularly to world-class medical institutions such as MD Anderson, Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic, and Mayo Clinic. Actually, one of my friends has a company that handles this kind of business. He assists Chinese customers by setting up appointments, booking flights and hotels, and arranging trips, among other things. For example, several novel chemotherapies have been authorized by the FDA but are not accessible in China; the only option to get the medicine is to seek treatment in the United States. Some cutting-edge clinical trials are exclusively done at the NIH, and patients must participate in these trials in order to get therapy.

 Medical tourism and the international healthcare marketplace are examples of future trends in global health. Many challenges, such as the balance of quality/safety and cost, policy and regulation, and insurance coverage for overseas medical services, must yet be addressed.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Medical tourism: Travel to another country for medical care. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved May 4, 2022, from,South%20America%2C%20and%20the%20Caribbean.

Horowitz, M. D., Rosensweig, J. A., & Jones, C. A. (2007). Medical tourism: globalization of the healthcare marketplace. MedGenMed : Medscape general medicine9(4), 33.

World Tourism Organization and European Travel Commission (2018) . Exploring Health Tourism – Executive Summary. Madrid: UNWTO;2018. doi:10.18111/9789284420308  


The topic I chose to discuss this week Globalization of Healthcare: Influence on health status, future trends, and key considerations of global health management.

Globalization of healthcare has contributed to health advancements through the use of new health knowledge, it can be explained according to( NIH) as how people are becoming interconnected and interdependent. The world is becoming a global village and as such there are several new trends that are evolving.

INFLUENCE ON HEALTH STATUS  Globalization makes it easier for for people to access healthcare easily, for instance with virtual healthcare a patient is allowed to see a doctor or attend doctors visit through the help of virtual healthcare. Virtual healthcare or virtual appointment is when a patient stays in the comfort of their home and is attended to by a doctor through the use of a computer or a smart phone. This also serves time of travelling to the doctors office and also helps reducing of overcrowding in the doctors office. Another influence oh health status is that it encourages digital healthcare, this is a system in which a patient is able to access his healthcare records online through a password and user name given by the doctors office.

 FUTURE TRENDS OF HEALTHCARE ;Shortage of healthcare worker is a trend that is affecting the healthcare industry and will also continue. Nearly 1 in every 5 workers had quit their job during to Covid19 the pandemic. Taking my job as a case study when Covid19 broke out a lot of my colleague left the job out of fear. A lot of nurses also left the job due to the risk involved. Others left and went to a different field.  According to World Health Organization(WHO) estimates a projected shortfall of 18 million healthcare workers by 2030.

Another important trend digitization of healthcare Despite remarkable breakthroughs in health sciences, healthcare services are lagging behind in digitization in comparison with other industries. The introduction of digital technologies is expected to substantially transform the healthcare sector in the next two decades (Hamid 2019). 

Global health management  relates to navigating medical trends on a local or international basis, it focuses on the management aspect of healthcare, it deals with the billing, insurance


 Hamid Yeganeh 2019 An analysis of emerging trends and transformations in global healthcare College of Business, Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota, USA

Globalization and Health PMC NCBI

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