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News Americas

According to a new survey, almost 20 percent of people worldwide would travel to another country for cheaper health care services. (Photo: Poznyakov/Shutterstock)
Nov 29, 2012 | News Americas

One in five patients worldwide would consider medical tourism

by Surgical Tribune

 NEW YORK, USA: As movement between countries has become increasingly unrestricted, people are able to receive medical treatment almost wherever they like and medical tourism has thus become a growing phenomenon. A new survey of 18,713 adults aged between 16 and 64 from 24 countries has found that 18 percent of people are willing to travel to another country for medical or dental care.

In addition, about 36 percent reported that they would probably consider going abroad to receive treatment. These were predominantly younger adults, either below the age of 35 (19 percent) or between 35 and 49 (19 percent). Approximately 46 percent, mainly aged between 50 and 64 (15 percent), said that they would not travel to another country for medical reasons.

With an average of 32 percent, medical tourism was most appealing to people from India, Indonesia, Russia, Mexico and Poland, according to the investigators. In comparison, survey participants from Japan, South Korea, Spain, France, Belgium and Sweden were the least likely to travel for medical treatment. Only an average of about 7 percent of participants from these countries said that they would travel abroad for medical care.

People who were employed were more likely to consider treatment abroad than unemployed individuals were; and more men (19 percent) than women (17 percent) would travel to another country for medical treatment, according to the survey.

Many participants said that they would be willing to travel for medical treatment if the costs were significantly lower than in their home country, the investigators said.

The survey was conducted online between Aug. 7 and 21 by Ipsos, a French market research company, on behalf of Reuters.

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