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News Article

Canada the best medical tourism destination?

Medical Tourism Index ranks destinations for attractiveness and affordability

With millions of people travelling overseas for medical treatment each year - whether Europeans and Americans seeking lower prices, or patients travelling for treatments not available at home - there are a host of factors to be considered when deciding where to go for treatment. Cost is an important factor, particularly for those travelling from countries where private health care is expensive, but quality of care is obviously also key, while those travelling for minor procedures may also want to consider whether the destination is somewhere they would enjoy spending time before or after treatment. The Medical Tourism Index (MTI), produced by the non-profit International Healthcare Research Center, is a new type of country-based performance measure to assess the attractiveness of a country as a medical tourist destination. The first rankings, issued in September 2014, concluded that Canada tops the list based on three key dimensions and 34 underlying criteria.

The selection of countries for comparison first identified leading medical tourism destinations from the popular press and trade literature, and then asked 394 members of the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) which countries are the most important ones for medical tourism. The selection also aimed to give a geographical spread between continents. The analysis then judged countries by the country environment (economy, safety, image and culture), the state of the medical tourism industry (costs and destination attractiveness), and facilities and services available (quality of care, reputation, international accreditation, and patient experience). Thirty countries were initially selected based on the number of tourists, how many organizations were involved in arranging tours, the amount of web outreach hospitals and doctors did to potential patients, and other factors. Of these thirty, 25 are included in the final rankings.

The top overall places for medical care - based on level and quality of care, price, convenience, services, and tourism possibilities (under the assumption being that many patients will combine care with a vacation) - were Canada, the UK, Israel, Singapore, and Costa Rica. Israel ranked highest for care, services, and best patient experiences, but a low rating for 'country environment' dropped it to third in the overall rankings. Out of the top five countries, Costa Rica gained the highest rating for state of the medical tourism industry, while Canada gave the best 'country environment'.

"This instrument makes a significant contribution so far as providing unbiased information about medical tourism across the globe," said Renée-Marie Stephano, President of the Medical Tourism Association, who announced the conclusions at the 7th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress, Sept. 20-24, 2014, in Washington, D.C. "This information provides not only what patients need to know when planning a medical journey overseas, but serves as a valuable tool for governments, employers and insurance companies, hospitals and doctors, facilitators and related travel and hospitality industries throughout the world."

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Article details

  • Author(s)
  • David Simpson
  • Date
  • 27 October 2014
  • Subject(s)
  • Tourism