Medical Tourism in Thailand

Medical Tourism in Thailand

As strange as it may seem, there is a new type of travel in Thailand and other countries labeled “medical tourism.” While most people traveling want to stay out of hospitals on a holiday, this new breed of travel by medical tourists is catching on. People are crossing international borders for specific medical services, ranging from a knee replacement to plastic surgery.

The rise in medical tourism in the last decade can be attributed to widespread air travel, long wait lists, an increasingly large aging population, and very significantly, mounting healthcare costs. Asia, because of specific areas of excellent and affordable healthcare, is attracting many patient travelers.

In 2010 alone, more than 89% of medical tourists traveled to Thailand, Singapore and India. The cities of Bangkok and Singapore hosted the largest number of them. Because Singapore is an expensive city, with relatively higher hotel and treatment costs, Bangkok is becoming the most popular place for international medical tourism. In 2011, of the 19 million tourists who came to Thailand, 500,000 of them came specifically for medical care; whereas in the same year, 10.2 million tourists visited Singapore and of that number, 200,000 visited for medical treatment.

The gold standard for healthcare service providers is western accreditation by the United States’ Joint Commission International Certification (JCI). There are now eight JCI-accredited hospitals in Bangkok, including the renowned Bumrungrad and Samitivej hospitals.

The U.S. based medical travel company, Satori World Medical, said the feedback they have received from patients they sent to Bangkok has all been excellent, with patients rating such factors as the procedures needed, their care, and the compassionate medical personnel.

Krabi Nakharin International Hotel Bringing Medical Tourists

Medical tourism in Thailand is not just popular in Bangkok. Krabi, Thailand, a very popular tourist destination on the southwest coast of the country, is attracting their share of medical tourists with the opening of the highly rated 120-bed Krabi Nakharin International Hospital. The hospital has a 24-hour emergency department with the latest high-tech lifesaving equipment. Other departments include imaging, laboratory, surgery, physical therapy and ICU.

Pierre Yves Loriers, Managing Director of Krabi Riviera Villas Co., Ltd., in Krabi, Thailand, a well-known luxury villa rental company, said, “We never anticipated a concept such as medical tourism when we began building our vacation homes. However, with completion of the new hospital here, we are seeing a large increase in the number of guests staying with us because they are here specifically for medical treatment.”

Traveling to a foreign country is a big decision for individuals to make. They must weigh the cost of airfare, accommodations, and non-insured medical bills. For those that do their homework and determine that the benefits outweigh the risks, they can be assured they will be professionally cared for by the finest medical facilities and personnel in Thailand.