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A review of web-based resources for medical tourism. A call for future research.

A review of web-based resources for medical tourism. A call for future research.

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No Sandcastles: A Nip n Tuck in the Sun No Sandcastles: A Nip n Tuck in the Sun Document Transcript

  • November
2009
 
 
 
 
 No
Sandcastles:
A
Nip
n
 Tuck
in
the
Sun
 
 Medical
Tourism:
A
review
of
web‐based
sources
 
 With
Dr
Mariann
Hardey
 Social
Media
Analyst
&
Consultant

 e.mariann@mariannhardey.net

 
 In
association
with
University
of
York
Management
School


  • Summary
Overview
of
Medical
Tourism
for
eHealth
 
 Defining
medical
tourism
 Several
organisations
and
individuals
have
tried
to
identify
formally
the
term
 ‘medical
tourism’.

The
conditions
of
the
emergence
of
the
defining
principles
of
the
 term
means
that
medical
tourism
has
been
used
to
classify
the
range
and
scope
of
its
 application
from
commercially
led
organisations,
to
the
media
as
well
as
more
 official
Government
agencies
including
the
NHS.

What
is
important
to
note
is
that
 there
is
no
standard
or
representative
definition
of
the
term
–
Generally
this
is
 viewed
as
‘something’
to
do
with
treatment
abroad
and
it
currently
holds
a
very
 broad
and
open
definition.


The
‘tourism’
tag
implies
something
casual
or
otherwise
 outside
conventional
health
seeking
behaviour.
 
 Review
of
web‐based
resources
 There
is
a
striking
range
in
the
quality
and
usability
of
the
web‐based
resources
 available
to
visitors
of
medical
tourism
websites
and
services.

The
consultation
of
 one
source
was
unlikely
to
be
an
effective
repository
of
reliable
health
related
 information.
In
particular,
the
commercial
marketing
of
sites
was
often
emphasised
 over
the
publication
of
easy
access
literature
and
services.

This
indicates
an
implied
 active
role
for
the
visitor
who
directs
their
own
selection
of
information
as
an
 effective
and
efficient
way
of
extracting
knowledge
and
services.

The
range
in
the
 quality
of
information
is
widespread.
Some
sites
have
a
poor
level
of
usability
and
 navigation,
particularly
when
they
represent
organisations
that
are
finance‐led
–
e.g.
 offering
financial
services
including
health
insurance
and
brokerage
deals
as
an
 addition
to
medical
services.

For
the
UK,
the
NHS
website
for
information
about
 medical
tourism
is
limited
in
its
publication
and
access
to
professional
resources.

 The
information
and
functionality
was
based
on
key
public
health
issues
rather
than
 advice
on
reliable
sources
of
knowledge
or
validated
services
for
patients.

The
least
 useful
sites
have
‘dead’
links,
making
them
hardest
to
navigate
and
give
out
 confusing
or
poor
quality
information.

For
example
the
site
medibroker.com
rather
 than
promoting
health
or
medical
information
exhibits
poor
web‐design
with
 confusing
array
of
links,
and
display
of
information.
Much
of
the
site
is
given
over
to
 the
promotion
of
advertising
space.

 
 
 2

  • Table
1.
Overview
of
the
functions
of
medical
tourism
web
portals
 Information
 Connectivity
 Exchange
 Commerce
 Care
 Search
and
 Can
include
 Peer‐to‐peer
 Based
on
 Emphasis
on
 retrieve
of
 official
sources
 information
 consumer
 ‘self‐care’
with
 information/data
 such
as
clinical
 sites
e.g.
 behaviour
and
 little
 and
public
 newsgroups
 ‘online’
 coordination
 
 health
systems
 and
message
 purchasing
for
 with
official
 Offer
a
range
of
 boards
 treatment

 medical
 
 health
resources
 treatment
 
 
 Most
likely
to
 centres
or
 
 be
Web‐based
 Most
likely
to
 The
individual
 organisations
 Pro‐active
user:
 and
search
 include
sign‐up
 is
seen
(and
 ‘back
home’
 Based
on
 engine
led
e.g.
 to
newsletters
 treated
as)
as
 informed
decision
 Google
 
 and
registration
 ‘consumer’,
 making
 to
commercial
 rather
than
a
 Unlikely
to
be
 
 sites
 ‘patient’.
In
this
 exchange
or
 Limited
health
 way
they
are
 sharing
of
 service
and
 ‘pro‐active’

 health
records
 system
 both
in
terms
 
 integration
with
 of
profile
and
 more
 sourcing
of
 Little
‘shared’
 commercial
 information
 clinical
decision
 organisations
 making
or
 treatment
 management
–
 particularly
for
 ‘after‐care’
 following
 patients
return
 back
home
 
 Some
key
points

 Medical
tourism
refers
to
the
recent
new
EU
Cross‐border
Health
Directive
that
has
 meant
since
2007
restrictions
have
been
lifted
on
patients
who
want
to
travel
for
 treatment
to
other
EU
countries.

In
the
UK
this
means
that
patients
are
able
to
 reclaim
from
the
NHS
for
the
cost
of
‘essential
treatment’
and
will
‘only
have
to
pay
 their
travel
and
accommodation
costs,
plus
any
top‐up
fees
if
charges
in
the
foreign
 hospitals
are
higher
than
the
NHS
cost’
(European
Health
&
Medical
Tourism
 Association
EHMTA,
2007).

Medical
tourism
also
has
a
more
commercial
and
 consumer‐led
meaning
that
refers
to
the
rise
in
travel
agencies
and
medical
services
 that
offer
medical
treatment
(usually
for
cosmetic
procedures)
abroad.

Such
 services
are
typically
elective
and
concerned
with
cosmetic,
dentistry
and
IVF
 treatment.

Factors
that
have
contributed
to
the
rise
in
medical
travel
include
the
 high
cost
of
health
care,
the
range
of
health
care
services,
waiting
times
for
 procedures,
improvements
in
the
standard
of
care
in
other
countries,
outbreak
of
 ‘super
bug’s’
such
as
MRSA
in
the
UK
as
well
as
the
relative
ease
and
affordability
of
 travel
within
the
EU.

In
addition,
the
‘hotel
service’
aspect
of
medical
care
can
be
a
 factor
in
that
private
rooms,
high
patient
staff
ratios
and
so
forth
are
possible
in
 
 3

  • facilities
that
are
located
in
countries
where
wages
bills
and
so
forth
are
considerably
 lower
than
in
the
UK.

Legislation
underwrites
the
EU
market
(which
is
not
the
least
 costly
compared
to
e.g.
India)
because
medical
qualifications
are
recognised
across
 some
EU
States.

Caution
is
need
here
(and
further
research)
in
that
the
situation
is
 complex
and
while
UK
qualifications
may
be
well
recognised
the
same
is
not
true
of
 for
example
Polish.

The
implication
is
that
while
marketing
hype
might
seek
to
paint
 a
different
picture
to
consumers
the
qualifications
of
staff,
health
regulations
etc
will
 be
different
form
the
UK.

In
other
words
consumers
may
be
exposed
to
risks
that
 they
would
not
have
been
in
the
UK.
 
 A
call
for
research
 Statistics
for
medical
tourism
are
restricted
and
generally
limited
to
the
United
 States.

A
report
by
Deloitte
Consulting
published
in
2008,
projected
that
750,
000
 Americans
went
abroad
for
health‐care
in
2007.

The
same
report
speculates
that
 medical
tourism
could
increase
ten‐fold
in
the
next
decade
(Johnson,
2008).

At
 present
there
is
little
research
in
this
area.

In
addition,
the
range
of
web
related
 ‘health
investors’
–
including
‘lay’
or
public
users
as
well
as
those
from
the
 commercial
and
professional
sectors
–
is
increasing
exponentially.

The
latest
 buzzwords
‘health
2.0’,
‘ehealth’,
‘webhealth’
emphasise
the
change
in
the
 relationship
from
what
has
been
the
traditional
top‐down,
professional
and
patient
 care,
to
bottom‐up,
pro‐active
patients
and
health
information
that
may,
or
may
not,
 be
related
to
professional
bodies
or
individuals.

 
 References
 Bishop
R,
Litch
JA.
(2000)
Medical
tourism
can
do
harm,
BMJ
Apr
8;320(7240):1017.
 Chambers,
D.,
McIntosh,
B.

 (2008)
Using
authenticity
to
achieve
competitive
 advantage
in
medical
tourism
in
the
English‐speaking
Caribbean,
Third
World
 Quarterly
29
(5),
pp.
919‐937.
 Chen,
J.S.,
Prebensen,
N.,
Huan,
T.C.

(2008)
Determining
the
motivation
of
wellness
 travellers,
Anatolia
19
(1),
pp.
103‐115.


 
 Chinai,
R.
&
Goswami,
R.
(2007)
Medical
visas
mark
growth
of
Indian
medical
 tourism.
Bull
World
Health
Organ,
v.
85,
n.
3
[cited
2008‐12‐08],
pp.
164‐165.





 Connell
J.
(2006)
Medical
tourism:
Sea,
sun,
sand
and
...
surgery,
Tourism
 Management,
27
(6),
pp.
1093‐1100.

 Johnson,
L.A.
‘Americans
look
abroad
to
save
on
health
care:
Medical
tourism
could
 jump
tenfold
in
next
decade’,
The
San
Francisco
Chronicle,
3
August.
 Jones
CA,
Keith
LG.
(2006)
Medical
tourism
and
reproductive
outsourcing:
the
 dawning
of
a
new
paradigm
for
healthcare,
Int
J
Fertil
Womens
Med.
Nov‐Dec;
 51(6):251‐5.
 Turner,
L.
(2008)
'Medical
tourism'
initiatives
should
exclude
commercial
organ
 transplantation,
Journal
of
the
Royal
Society
of
Medicine
101
(8),
pp.
391‐394.
 
 
 4