I read an interesting article this morning which analyzes the recent success of medical and dental tourism in Mexico. The article begins by discussing the fact that the country is generally regarded by American tourists in two contexts–the first being as a tropical and sunny destination spot to which we escape during the winter or for spring break, the second being a struggling country that may seem to be third-world or behind our culture and economy. This really is an accurate representation of the mindset of most Americans when considering our southern neighbors, which is a shame in several respects.
If you’ve ever visited this blog before, you are familiar with the term medical tourism, and that Mexico has become a forerunner in drawing inbound patients to their facilities to receive premium care at an affordable cost. The burgeoning industry is seeing strong roots in Mexico, and is becoming an increasingly viable health care option for the uninsured, underinsured, and those that cannot afford the often bank-breaking U.S. procedure rates.
As the article posits, medical tourism has grown in Mexico largely due to two factors. The first reason is the improvement in global travel and its increasing ease; the second is technology–the fact that the internet allows for an open dialogue about medical travel, facilitates planning and research, and provides easily accessible references and accounts from previous medical travelers.
I enjoyed seeing the driving forces of medical tourism broken down in such terms, as I believe that both of these reasons, but specifically the role of technology, is the main impetus in keeping people educated, and making this industry more accessible and credible. As the world of technology evolves, and information travels the world in nanoseconds, it’s interesting to see globalization occur at every level. Medical tourism is one of the more recent facets in which we are are seeing technology promote a global industry, and although it is not a new concept, the internet is truly reconceptualizing the industry as we know it, and certainly for the better!