Is Medical Tourism Unsafe?

More and more people across the world are opting for medical tourism as it has alluring benefits to offer. The whole concept of travelling abroad for healthcare has much in store for patients who wish to avail reliable care and standard facilities at affordable prices. Although there are certain risks associated with seeking medical care in a foreign country along with some concerns regarding the quality of services offered there, yet medical tourism is generally a safe and viable option for most patients.

Why travel abroad for treatment? Is it safe?

  1. Low Morbidity Rate
    Many hospitals, particularly the larger and more renowned institutions in Asia and South-East Asia, boast lower morbidity rates as compared to some hospitals in the US. This has been noted especially in the case of complex cardiac and orthopaedic surgeries, for which the success rates recorded are higher than 98.5%.
  2. Hospitals Overseas Meet Prescribed Standards
    Top hospitals in most of the medical tourism destinations overseas have been accredited by top accreditation agencies like the JCI or the ACI. The medical treatment and postoperative care provided here is comparable in quality to that offered in developed nations. Also, they are equipped with the latest equipment and make use of state-of-the-art technology. Many doctors in the best hospitals overseas have received their training in top universities in the US, Canada, Australia, etc. Physicians and hospital staff here are often far more accessible than their US counterparts.
  3. Financial Savings
    One of the main reasons for seeking treatment abroad is financial. Owing to the high medical expenses in their homeland, most Americans have started considering the comparatively cheaper option of travelling abroad for treatment. A patient can save 20-80% if he/she obtains a medical procedure abroad. A large number of the less developed nations are emerging as hot spots for medical tourism due to the influx of patients from around the globe, especially from their first-world counterparts. Many of the Asian and Latin American countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, Singapore, India, Thailand, etc. are gaining ground in this rapidly developing industry.
  4. World Class Infrastructure and A Safe, Hassle Free Process
    In some countries, which are major destinations for medical travel, hospitals and healthcare facilities are backed by sophisticated research infrastructure as well. Governments of these countries are pouring in billions of dollars to improve the system. Various amenities and extra features like VIP waiting lounges, deluxe hospital suites, staffed recuperation resorts, free transportation, etc. are being added in order to lure incoming medical tourists. While in the US and Canada long waits are a growing problem, treatment abroad minimises this difficulty, providing a smooth and hassle free experience.


A Medical Tourism Patient Survey, conducted in 2013, revealed that Asia and Latin America are two leading regions for medical travel. Most 70% of the patients who sought medical treatment abroad rated the care received as excellent. Nearly 27% of the patients had engaged in medical travel previously and 48% showed interest in future prospects for the same. Also, almost 85% of patients from the US stated that they received better and more personalised care abroad than in their own country and added that they would prefer to travel abroad again for medical purposes. Although no procedure is 100% safe or risk free anywhere in the world, yet these countries have some of the best doctors and hospitals maintaining health and procedural standards equal to or higher than those in the developed countries.