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What is Medical Tourism?
Medical tourism (MT) is defined as patient movement from highly developed nations to less developed areas of the world for medical care by bypassing services offered in their own communities. Medical tourism is different from the traditional model of international medical travel where patients generally journey from less developed nations to major medical centers in highly developed countries for medical treatment that is unavailable in their own communities. While the general definition of the Medical tourism above covers most of the aspects of the phenomenon, there is no international consensus yet on the name of the phenomenon. Medical tourism is often related to globalisation and neo-liberal healthcare policies which in this case considered to undermine the quality and quantity of the services available to middle class in home countries.
Services typically sought by travelers include elective procedures as well as complex specialized surgeries such as joint replacement (knee/hip), cardiac surgery, dental surgery, and cosmetic surgeries. Individuals with rare genetic disorders may travel to another country where treatment of these conditions is better understood. However, virtually every type of health care, including psychiatry, alternative treatments, convalescent care and even burial services are available.
Over 50 countries have identified medical tourism as a national industry. However, accreditation and other measures of quality vary widely across the globe, and some destinations may become hazardous or even dangerous for medical tourists.
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