Why do patients engage in medical tourism?

V. Runnels, Percivil Melendez Carrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Medical tourism is commonly perceived and popularly depicted as an economic issue, both at the system and individual levels. The decision to engage in medical tourism, however, is more complex, driven by patients¿ unmet need, the nature of services sought and the manner by which treatment is accessed. In order to beneficially employ the opportunities medical tourism offers, and address and contain possible threats and harms, an informed decision is crucial. This paper aims to enhance the current knowledge on medical tourism by isolating the focal content of the decisions that patients make. Based on the existing literature, it proposes a sequential decision-making process in opting for or against medical care abroad, and engaging in medical tourism, including considerations of the required treatments, location of treatment, and quality and safety issues attendant to seeking care. Accordingly, it comments on the imperative of access to health information and the current regulatory environment which impact on this increasingly popular and complex form of accessing and providing medical care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-304
Number of pages5
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2012


  • IR-81964
  • METIS-288669


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