alexa [Medical tourism and travel - an interdisciplinary approach].
Business & Management

Business & Management

Journal of Tourism & Hospitality

Author(s): Freyer W, Kim BS

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Abstract BACKGROUND: Medical tourism (or medical travel, international patient service, cross-border or global health care) is a new current phenomenon with increasing relevance for the two disciplines of medicine and tourism. Both sides hope to improve their reputation and image, as well as to increase their revenues and rate of employment; furthermore, they want to provide better care and service for patients and tourists: Medical tourism can close the gap of the health care system at home, providing better quality, quicker access and cheaper procedures abroad, also with treatments, not - legally - available in the sending country. For the tourism sector it broadens the variety of tourism products and supply of the host country and combines medical treatments and recovery with an attractive stay in a tourism destination for patients and their companions. But in spite of all popularity of this new type of tourism and treatment, there is quite a lack of theory and academic analysis. METHODS: This article outlines the status quo of scientific research both from a medical and tourism point of view. This interdisciplinary method of approach is based mainly on a state-of-the art review of the current literature. CONCLUSIONS: There is a great need for more scientific research in the field of medical tourism, based on the common knowledge of both disciplines tourism and medicine. First there is neither an internationally agreed definition nor a common methodology for data collection. So the real impact of touristic and medical services both for the source and for the receiving countries is un-known and imprecise. Second the internal processes of the health system have to be adapted to the needs of international patients, e. g., medical fee schedule, billing, language, inter-cultural qualifications of the staff. Moreover the whole service chain has to be taken into account, especially the pre- and post-processes, which mostly start or end abroad. Here quality standards as well as accreditations are current issues. Furthermore, several sociocultural impacts need to be analysed, such as making health care less affordable for local patients and/or moral and ethical concerns about certain treatment methods. Another area concerns the legal questions of risk, liability and malpractice. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York. This article was published in Gesundheitswesen and referenced in Journal of Tourism & Hospitality

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