For centuries people have traveled to other countries to obtain the best healthcare. Traditionally these popular destinations were highly developed countries; the trend of people traveling to less developed areas for treatment is relatively new. The average person is more connected to the world around them than ever before through globalization. Information about the best practices are more widely available than ever before. The importance of physical barriers to business such as geography and time are being eliminated. Due to this “flattening” per Friedman, the competition and expertise for areas in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) can be shifted overseas. The availability of information boosts the quality of hospital care in developing countries to a level of care rivaling that of developed countries, but without the excessive cost associated.
The hospitals and healthcare infrastructure of the United States are not ready to compete on this global scale of healthcare. A lack of transparency of costs, high administrative costs, and little proactive planning of infrastructure to accommodate to the trend each contribute to the United States falling behind in this competition. Increasing transparency and decreasing administrative costs can help improve the long-term infrastructure of the healthcare system to diminish the potential financial impact of people traveling abroad for cheaper but high-quality procedures. A medical facilitator could be incorporated into the hospital infrastructure to help retain some of the lost earnings. The facilitator would work with foreign hospitals and centers of excellence to coordinate travel, accommodations, translators, and after-care back at the domestic hospital. Legal liability would then be mitigated through education of the patient from the medical facilitator instead of a physician recommendation. By offering these services for the patient, the hospital can still receive a portion of the income and improve customer satisfaction rather than lose out to customers traveling on their own or opting not to have the expensive procedure all together.
"Medical Tourism and Its Effect on United State Healthcare Industry in a Highly Connected Global Landscape,"
The Hilltop Review: Vol. 10:
2, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/hilltopreview/vol10/iss2/6