Clinical Practice, CPD, Exploring the Role of Occupational Therapy, Practice Development, Professionalism, Uncategorized

26th July 2016 Medical Tourism and Occupational Therapy

This week @Sweet_Hiral will be hosting #Otalk

Medical Tourism is booming these days. People are willing to get medical services from best possible care facilities/organizations but lower prices. The definition suggests, “As the cost of healthcare began to rise in industrialized countries, particularly in the United States, the face of medical tourism began to change to include individuals seeking affordable and timely alternatives to surgery or treatment in their home countries” (Bennie, 2014) and such needs created the idea of the Medical Tourism. According to Kher (2006), “Medical services in India are particularly affordable, with prices as low as 10% of those in the United States” (as cited by Horowitz, Rosensweig, & Jones, 2007, p. 2).

As cited by Howard Bye, the reasons for changing health care trend for medical tourism is:

“(1) to receive specific medical treatments not found in their countries;
(2) to obtain more immediate surgery or other medical care;
(3) to receive lower-cost dental and medical services;
(4) to get treatment not covered by their health insurance;
(5) to purchase cheaper prescription drugs; and
(6) to shop for medical procedures not approved by regulatory bodies in their home countries, such as the Food and Drug Administration” (as cited by Bennie, 2014, p. 584).

I found an interesting article that suggested a few facts on why the medical tourism is being utilized more among people from developed countries like the United Kingdom and the United States.

Bennie (2014, p. 585) suggested following four groups of clients who prefer medical tourism for health care services.
• Some are from countries that ration health care, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, and are looking to avoid long waiting lists for treatment in their country of origin.
• Underinsured Americans, including U.S. retirees who do not yet qualify for Medicare
• A third group is composed of middle-class Americans seeking cosmetic surgery that is not covered by their insurance, or that is cheaper than their insurance deductibles
• The final group is the affluent upper-class of developing countries, which seeks medical care in the United States or other developed countries to receive a higher quality of attention than the patient-tourist would win at home.

I wanted to discuss the scope of medical tourism in the occupational therapy field. The occupational therapy service charges are also becoming expensive. In some countries people get treatments daily and in some countries the treatments are restricted to once or twice a week as per the medical insurance policy coverage. That means, services are pretty expensive and not everyone is willing to afford daily and consistent therapy. At such point, I believe, medical tourism is a great option for specific conditions for example, learning activities of daily living or getting trained on how to modify your home environment etc. The qualified occupational therapist would help client to gain recovery within budget even if they count tourism-flight fare and stays. For example, these days many developing countries are providing fascinating medical tourism packages that includes therapy charges with their long term stay.

There is always a thought when you think about getting treatment with minimal prices. But, I believe that is a myth. Today, health care education and organization standards have been raised to international qualification levels. So when developed countries are welcoming medical tourism, they do not risk those standards to get any legal or ethical negative aftereffects. The series would be of similar assessment scale standards, procedures, and equipments to get a name in the OT-tourism field. I believe, the OT tourism would serve the purpose of providing OT care services to the population that never thought could afford it in the same country.

Following questions in this OTalk session will be discussed:

1. What is the client-therapist ratio in your country of work? Are those equivalent to the necessary standards from the governing organization or it is less than what is needed? (For example, one therapist needed per 50 population).
2. Do you think Occupational therapists should know each other globally to develop medical aka OT-Tourism?
3. Have you ever sent any client to some other occupational therapist in another country?
4. Do you think the therapeutic service charges should be similar globally to avoid such tourism ? or you think that it is a great opportunity for clients to get therapy procedures in a budget friendly manner?
5. Have you thought about enhancing your OT-contacts globally for the medical tourism purpose for your client? Sometimes patients from another country visit your country, and at the time of ‘good-byes,’ such contact lists could help you become a global therapist if you could guide/refer them to continue similar therapy in their country.
6. Are there any threats you feel with OT-tourism?
7. Do you know any facility that runs OT-Tourism?
8. Share your Final thoughts


Bennie, R. (2014). Medical tourism: A look at how medical Outsourcing can reshape
health care. Retrieved from

Click to access Bennie583.pdf

Horowitz, M. D., Rosensweig, J. A., & Jones, C. A. (2007). Medical Tourism: Globalization
of the Healthcare Marketplace. Medscape General Medicine, 9(4), 33.

Post Chat Updates

The Numbers

1,145,441 Impressions
351 Tweets
25 Participants

#OTalk Participants

Online Transcript from HealthCare HashTags. 

PDF of Transcript: #OTalk – 26th July 2016


1 thought on “26th July 2016 Medical Tourism and Occupational Therapy”

  1. In the UK we do not ‘ration healthcare’. This sort of statement is irresponsible and promotes your own tourism agenda. The NHS continues to provide medical and therapeutic interventions free of charge to those who need it based on evidence. Provision of Occupational Therapy is provided to those who have functional difficulties. I do not know anyone in the field who would recommend that an individual seek OT intervention outside of the UK. Whilst it is every individual’s right to consider alternatives, if I were to advocate private provision from another country because it’s more effective I would seriously need to consider my own practice.


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