Medical tourism is the practice of traveling for the purpose of receiving health care abroad. A person would want to do this if they could receive better quality care or more reasonably priced care by traveling. In the modern day, with all of its access to easy, convenient travel, medical tourism trends are at an all time high. More people are engaging in medical tourism than any other time in history. Many people are calling this a revolution that could dismantle humanity’s rigid need for international borders.
Medical tourism is not a brand new phenomenon. People of status have been traveling in order to receive medical care since ancient times. Past pharaohs and kings made treks across deserts and wilderness areas in order to access the best residential mental health care of the time. This tradition continued into more recent centuries, always favoring the wealthy in its practice. In modern times, with travel more accessible to the average person by air, car or boat, more people than ever before have access to medical tourism.
This is not to say that medical tourism does not come with a considerable price tag. One must factor in the cost of travel with the price of the procedure or treatment they are seeking. This means that a person cannot engage in medical tourism if they are destitute. But the fact still remains that medical tourism is available to more demographics than it ever has been in the past. It often still requires saving up and budgeting, but it can be accomplished by members of the working class, depending on what they require of their medical travel.
Medical tourism is a positive glimpse into the future. It is a practice that represents international cooperation and promotes good foreign relations. The medical industry is one that can afford to be largely separate from politics and lends itself naturally to international cooperation. The future of medical tourism is unknown as it is controversial to many national healthcare systems, but the freedom to take advantage of it is currently wide open.