June 2020

How Technology is Affecting Medical Tourism

As consumers, technology has equipped us to make well informed decisions about our every purchase. We now have in our hands the ability to instantly research the closest restaurants, the most effective vacuum cleaner, the top-rated films available online, etc. So why not use the internet’s arsenal of information to similarly seek out the best medical options?

From plastic surgery procedures that are cheaper abroad, to seeking weight loss options not available in their home country, people are increasingly aware of better options when they travel.


Sharing experiences on social media

Price is a key decision maker for many who seek to travel for medical procedures. Plastic surgeon fees, costs of medicine, hospital stays, etc, can rack up thousands and thousands of dollars in some countries. In others, the same procedure will cost a fraction of the price with no decrease in quality.[1] And patients will happily share this information on social media.


How Technology is Affecting Medical Tourism Social Media


The power of patient reviews in decision making is strong. In 2014, a survey of Americans showed that 72% of them search online for health information and 25% of these people search for others’ experiences. Almost half of Americans cite Facebook as their top influencer when making purchasing decisions and they are also willing to share their medical experiences.[2]

Where companies offering foreigners medical treatment used to be limited, social media has opened up the doors for them to reach potential patients far outside their previous reach.


Better contact with doctors both before and after travelling

The communication barrier that distance presents is fast being cured by video calls. Their improved quality lends a more personal touch than a phone call, and doctors are now able to offer much more from a distance.


How Technology is Affecting Medical Tourism Skype call with Doctor


This aids both the before and after of traveling abroad for a medical procedure. Patients can consult their physicians pre-surgery to prepare accurately, and experts can aid their recovery after they have returned home. Thanks to tele-diagnostics and tele-radiology, doctors are also able to confer with other doctors and request virtual diagnoses from abroad.[3]


Quality physicians found around the world

Although medical tourism statistics show certain areas are famed for certain procedures, e.g. Brazil for plastic surgery and Thailand for gender reassignment, top quality specialists can be found around the world. It is important that anyone considering a trip abroad for treatment ensures that the physician has undergone adequate training. While medical travel in India and China is a booming business, the ethics of good practice in these areas has been brought to question. Europe is one of the markets fastest growing areas, since the quality of care is highly regarded.[4]