There are several countries that have emerged as destination choices in recent years with advances in the standard of health care in developing countries. Countries like India, South America, and Southeast Asian countries where treatment and facilities now meet international standards while the cost is lower than the cost of the treatment in the home country.
Apart from treatments, the countries also offer touring options. There are about 30 countries that are recognized as medical tourism destination choices. And all of these try to attract international tourists by providing more cost-effective, specialized, and alternative treatments. For example, India is preferred for joint replacement treatments; Thailand is preferred for wellness; Turkey for spas, etc.
Best Medical Tourism Countries In Europe
There are several best countries in Europe with active medical tourism sectors. They include Turkey, Romania, Cyprus, Germany, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain, Bulgaria, and Ukraine.
Bulgaria became a member of the European Union in 2007. And this has resulted in reduced costs to travel to Bulgaria from within the EU. Also, the cost of medical care services is less in Bulgaria because it has a low cost of living compared to developed and developing European countries.
Apart from the low prices for medical treatments, the physicians in Bulgaria are highly qualified and have studied their specializations in known Bulgarian and international universities. The Bulgarian hospitals and medical centers are also well equipped with high-quality equipment needed for treatments. So Bulgaria can offer a combination of high-quality, state-of-the-art medical care at reasonable prices.
The biggest private hospital in Bulgaria is Tokuda Hospital Sofia. It is a member of the affiliated Tokushukai Medical Corporation and Cambridge University Hospitals. It has had over 8,000 international patients from various countries like the USA, Canada, EU, Russia, the Middle East, etc.
Besides this, Bulgaria also has many places of tourist interest, with some places of recreational, historical, religious, pilgrim, and adventurous tourism interest. Bulgaria has well-developed spa tourism since it has several mineral and thermal springs supported by the modern tourism infrastructure.
In the Czech Republic, medical tourism depends on the numerous spas and medical care centers it has developed. The country is well known for its high-quality care and the affordability of the treatments. The most well-known hospital in the country is the Ostrava University Hospital.
Most doctors in the Czech Republic have completed their education at Charles University, set up in 1348, and it is one of the oldest universities in Europe. The university places a lot of emphasis on practical training in combination with broad theoretical knowledge. So this university in Prague is considered one of the top universities in Europe.
It is developing as a destination that is fast emerging as the choice for medical tourism. In 2004, Estonia joined the European Union and has since emerged as a popular medical tourism destination for Scandinavians. The hospitals are moving towards meeting international standards and complying with EU standards.
However, there are only a few hospitals that are independently accredited. It is known for its quality of medical care and scores high on the Health Consumer Powerhouse report published by the European Union (ECHCI, 2008).
France is a popular medical tourism destination choice and is ranked as having the world’s leading healthcare system. This reflects the expertise of the doctors and surgeons in France. France has an accreditation system that has very high-level quality requirements for health as issued by the French National Authority for Health (HAS) (“Why choose France for medical treatment?).
Since 2002 France has been offering treatments to British patients for hip, knee, and cataract surgery since they have long waiting lists in their home country.
Germany can offer patients advanced medical technology, high standards, safety, and quick treatment. German citizens have health coverage, so the hospital density is high. There is twice the number of hospitals per capita compared to the USA.
The high hospital density means waiting time for treatments is lower, and the treatment costs are competitive, especially compared to those in other European countries, and are 50% lower than treatment costs in the USA. It has emerged as the ideal destination for patients from the Middle East, especially since it has now become difficult for patients from these countries to travel to the USA.
US citizens also travel to Germany for treatments related to artificial cervical disc replacement, which is not US FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approved.
Hungary has an advantage with regard to its geographical location because it gets good quality and quantity of thermal water and covers about 80% of Hungary’s territory. The Romans set up the first era of spas, and the remains of these can still be seen in places like Óbuda.
This culture was revived after the Turkish invasion when the thermal springs of Buda were used to develop bathhouses (Király Baths, Rudas Baths). Hungary has about 1500 thermal springs and about 450 public baths today. Grand spas like Gellért Baths, Margaret Island, and Széchenyi Medicinal Bath show that this trend is resurgent.
Lithuania actively promotes medical tourism, and popular treatments include cosmetic surgery, eye surgery, and other related treatments.
Poland joined the EU in 2004 and is a popular medical tourism destination for people from Europe. There are some issues with the quality of care, and there is a need to ensure that European standards are met.
Romania is a member of the European Union, offering a wide range of medical tourism options. The quality of services meets national and EU accreditation requirements. Medical tourism in the country is driven by the quality outlined by the Medical Tourism Magazine.
The private healthcare system is dynamic in terms of investments and growth. And further growth is expected. They also have in place facilitators that help tourists with access to services- medical and tourist.
Turkey attracts medical tourists from Europe, the Balkans, the United States, Eurasia, and the Middle East. Annually about 40000 patients travel to the destination for treatment. The private healthcare system is taking steps to grow into a strategic global health service provider manufacturing center.
The DEİK-Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey Healthcare Committee and the Accredited Hospitals Association of Turkey has set up a website with all the information to provide to potential tourists, including price of treatments and hospital information.
The Ministry of Health organizes promotional activities to encourage medical tourism. Several JCI-accredited Turkish hospitals are popular with US patients. Patients from the EU often choose hospitals with expert surgeons and doctors, especially for treatments like bariatric surgery for weight loss, an elective procedure that insurers do not cover. Turkish accredited healthcare providers perform many IVF, bariatric, cosmetic surgery, and dentistry procedures.
The United Kingdom, especially London, is a popular destination for medical tourism. There are very few private hospitals with independent international accreditation.
Ukraine is a popular destination choice for its geographical, historical, and architectural advantages. It is one of the largest European countries and is a destination of choice for treatments like dental work, eye surgery, cosmetic surgery, and reconstructive surgery.
It offers world-class medical facilities and also good surroundings to recover. The amenities and facilities are available in terms of cost and international standards. Ukraine offers an integrated world-class healthcare system with the best medical practices, advanced technology, specialized clinics, and services. So Ukraine is the place that combines the old school and the new school.