Author: Renee-Marie Stephano
There was a time the healthcare map was as flat as the course Columbus navigated to the New World. Barriers prevailed. Reaching appropriate healthcare services ranged from a fresh set of horses to meet a frontier doctor whom was just as equipped with a pistol as he was with a stethoscope to a more recent single-mom struggling to find enough bus fare to catch the No. 7 to a hospital across town.
Thanks, in part, to medical tourism, healthcare has come a long way and can be expected to accommodate more patients who are willing to find quality and affordable treatments by any means necessary. Improved transportation, the breakdown of language barriers and the advent of medical technology and of highly trained specialists worldwide will continue to erase borders in the not too distant future and make access to healthcare as easy as the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria.
The Internet, combined with mobile communications, continues to put an assortment of treatments, procedures and even aftercare protocols that once were out of reach at the fingertips of patients who have been transformed into savvy shoppers in search of the biggest bang for their healthcare buck.
To that end, imagine nations across the globe more willing than they already are to appease importing medical tourists who have the full sanctioning of their neighborhood physicians to take advantage of overseas care they may not have been able to receive or afford across the street from their home.
Conversely, when these patients return home, they will carry with them their trusted appraisals of foreign markets, providing living testimony for even further potential world travelers eager to taste care abroad for themselves and, thereby, ensure that medical tourism exchanges remain robust, quality based and outcomes-driven.
Improved transportation, the breakdown of language barriers and the advent of medical technology and of highly trained specialists worldwide will continue to erase borders.