Changing Preferences, Moving Places and Third Party Administrators: A Scoping Review of Medical Tourism Trends (1990-2016)

Salman Majeed, Changbao Lu

Abstract


An overview is given of latest trends in medical tourism and its conceptualization with an industry analysis. The rapidly evolving health awareness and preferences of medical tourists, in tandem with medical treatments’ higher levels of affordability across the globe, have changed the global medical tourism industry sharply in recent decades, and many international health systems are being opened to patients’ greater cross-border movements. A scoping literature review (1990-2016) depicts the recent boom in medical tourism as presenting certain opportunities, and uncovers many challenges which are involved in its policymaking. These developments denote greater mobility of places (P) for medical treatments, affordability (A) levels to bear the inflated treatment costs (C), changing preferences of medical tourists with the passage of time (T) and participation of third party administrators (TPAs) in their overall operations. The study espouses a rise in medical tourism from the United States (US), and participating countries in Europe, Asia and Africa with participating countries, identifies a need for profound policymaking, and highlights the importance and applicability of TPC-TPAs link chain in medical tourism context. This study further recommends understanding the role of industry stakeholders, particularly governments, in the policymaking of medical tourism in order to steer the industry appropriately.

Keywords


Medical tourism; Place mobility; Costs; Affordability; Third party administrators

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2036-5195/6675

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