Facts & Statistics
Did you know?
Medical tourism has been around for thousands of years. In fact, archaeological
evidence from the third millennium B.C. suggests that people in ancient Mesopotamia
traveled to the temple of a healing god or goddess at Tell Brak, Syriato heal eye
disorders. A couple millennia later the Greeks and Romans would travel by foot or
boat to spas and cult centers all over the Mediterranean. The Asclepia Temples,
dedicated in honor of the Greek god of medicine, were some of the world's first
healing centers. Pilgrims would come and stay several nights praying that Asclepios
would appear in a dream and provide a cure to their ailment.
There are 458 Joint Commission International accredited hospitals around the world.
This figure does not include ambulatory clinics. Joint Commission is an independent
not-for-profit organization that evaluates and accredits more than 15,000 healthcare
organizations in the United States. Its international arm (Joint Commission International)
has been accrediting hospitals outside the U.S. since the late 90’s. JCI accreditation
is one of the main criteria patients use to ensure they are traveling to a hospital
with high standards of patient care. 1.6 million U.S. patients traveling abroad
for care. In 2009, Deloitte predicted that over one and a half million U.S. patients
would be traveling abroad for care, with a 35% increase over the next several years.
You may spend more time at a hotel than at a hospital during your medical trip.
Depending on your procedure, oftentimes you will only stay a night or two in the
hospital and then spend the rest of the time at a hotel recuperating and/ or engaging
in physical rehabilitation. So choose a hotel that has experience with medical tourists
and understands your needs and expectations.
Your companion could make or break your medical trip. Having the physical
and moral support of a companion is one of the most important ingredients of a successful
medical trip, particularly during the recovery process. However, not everyone is
ideally suited to being a medical travel companion. Choose your companion wisely.
Right now it’s all about you. Your companion must be willing to put your needs
ahead of his or her own and assist you during the recovery process. This does not
mean they cannot have some leisure time to enjoy the local culture and attractions,
but they should understand that their primary purpose is to provide support.
MTA Patient Surveys
- 64% of patients that traveled abroad for care did not have health insurance.
- Almost 83% of patients traveled with a companion.
- Almost 70% of patients rated their medical care as excellent.
- 33% of patients traveled abroad for cosmetic surgery.
- Almost 90% of patients or their companions engaged in tourism activities.
- Almost 85% of US patients found they received more personalized medical care than
in the US
- Almost 86% of US patients said they would travel again overseas for medical care
- Nearly 27% of patients had previously traveled to a foreign country to receive medical
care, most were female, all were between ages 45 and 64; the majority were White/Caucasian;
all were American; all were college educated; half had household incomes between
$50,000 and $100,000; and some had health insurance (50%), while other did not.
- Nearly 80% of the demand for medical travel is driven by cost savings.
- Medical tourists spend between $7,475 and $15,833 per medical travel trip.
- 48% of respondents would be interested in engaging in medical tourism again at some
point in the future.
- The cost of medical treatment (85%) and state-of-the-art technology (83%) were the
most important factors in their decision to travel abroad for treatment.
- Out of 49 participants that had previously traveled overseas for medical treatment,
36% used a medical tourism facilitator.
U.S. Healthcare Statistics
- In 2013, Nerd Wallet Health analyzed data from the U.S. Census, Centers for Disease
Control, the federal court system and the Commonwealth Fund and found that:
- 56 million Americans under age 65 will have trouble paying medical bills
- Over 35 million American adults (ages 19-64) will be contacted by collections agencies
for unpaid medical bills
- Over 15 million American adults (ages 19-64) will use up all their savings to pay
- Over 11 million American adults (ages 19-64) will take on credit card debt to pay
off their hospital bills
- Nearly 10 million American adults (ages 19-64) will be unable to pay for basic necessities
like rent, food, and heat due to their medical bills
- Over 16 million children live in households struggling with medical bills
- Despite having year-round insurance coverage, 10 million insured Americans ages
19-64 will face bills they are unable to pay
- 1.7 million Americans live in households that will declare bankruptcy due to their
inability to pay their medical bills – Three states will account for over
one-quarter of those living in medical-related bankruptcy: California (248,002),
Illinois (113,524), and Florida (99,780)
- To save costs, over 25 million adults (ages 19-64) will not take their prescription
drugs as indicated, including skipping doses, taking less medicine than prescribed
or delaying a refill
- According to a recent report of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD), the U.S. spends almost 18 percent of its gross domestic product on healthcare
that’s more than any of the 34 OECD countries.
- Due to the changes of healthcare reform, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions
reported that 60 percent of doctors surveyed revealed they are likely to retire
earlier than planned, perhaps, within the next 1-3 years creating a shortage of
- In 2009 the Council of Economic Advisers projected that the healthcare sector will
comprise of 34% of GDP in the U.S. by 2040.
Medical Tourism statistics from around the world
- A 2013 MTA Medical Tourism Patient Survey found that Latin America and Asia are
the two leading regions for medical travel.
- A 2013 MTA Medical Tourism Patient Survey found that Mexico and India respectively
have the highest demand for medical tourism.
- Data from the Council for International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine (PROMED) shows
that in 2012, Costa Rica attracted nearly 50,000 medical tourists (mostly from the
U.S. and Canada) and each one spent an average of $7,000. Close to half of these
medical travelers were said to be dental, followed by orthopedics, weight loss surgeries,
gynecology and plastic surgery. Medical tourism generated some $338 million in revenue
for the country that year, PROMED reported.
- Tourism Research Australia
from the Australian Government reported that more than 10,000 medical tourism patients
flew into the continent in 2013 pumping more than $26 million into the national
- According to the Indian High Commission, Indian hospitals received 18,000 Nigerians
on medical visas in 2012, 47% of the Nigerians were in India to receive medical
treatment and spent approximately $260 million USD.
- In 2012 the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand and the Kasikorn Research Center
found that 2,530,000 international patients traveled to Thailand for treatment,
the top five nationalities were; Japan, U.S., UK, GCC and Australia. Revenues generated
from medical tourism were approximately 4 Billion USD.
- Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism said that almost 12 million international visitors
arrived in Mexico in 2013, 6.5 million of the visitors were from the U.S.
- According to the Medellin Healthcare Cluster, twenty-four percent of the international
patients that visit the Medellin Health City in Medellin, Columbia are from the
- The Korea Health Industry Development Institute reported in 2012 that 159,464 patients
from 188 countries visited Korea in 2012, 32,503 of those patients were Chinese.
- In the 2010 Statistics on International Patients in Korea Report showed that 81,789
foreign patients traveled to Korea, 32.4 percent came from the U.S. (4,829 were
U.S. Army patients), 19.4 percent Chinese,16.8 percent Japanese and 7.7 percent
- According to Rohini Sridhar, Chief Operating Officer of Apollo Hospitals, the number
of international patients visiting the hospital has been witnessing an increase
of 20 per cent every year. “We provide medical care for around 400 to 500
people from European countries, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the Middle East
in a year,” she says.
- A 2012 report from the Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare found that more than
60,000 patients traveled to Taiwan for healthcare the previous year, with 50 percent
of patients coming from mainland China. The report also noted that the most popular
procedure was a full health exam.
- According to Alpen Capital Investment Banking, the United Arab Emirates’ medical
tourism sector is growing strongly and reached $1.69 billion in 2013. Dubai Healthcare
City (DHCC) is one of the largest healthcare tourist destinations in the region.
According to DHCC, they handled approximately 500,000 patients in 2011, 20% of which
were medical tourists.
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