top of page

Prescribing Sustainability: The Future of Medical Tourism

Medical tourism is the practice of traveling to another country for medical treatment. This industry has been growing rapidly in recent years due to the lower cost of treatment in other countries, as well as the availability of specialized treatments. While medical tourism can be beneficial for patients, it is important to consider its impact on sustainability. By taking a sustainable approach to medical tourism, we can ensure that it benefits patients, the environment, and the local community.



The three spheres of sustainability, social, environmental, and economic, are important to consider when discussing sustainable medical tourism.


Social sustainability:

Social sustainability refers to the impact of medical tourism on the local community. Medical tourism can have a positive impact on the local community by providing job opportunities and increasing revenue. However, it is important to ensure that the benefits are distributed fairly and that the local community is not exploited. Additionally, medical tourism can have a negative impact on the local community if it leads to a brain drain of trained medical professionals leaving for higher paying jobs elsewhere.


Environmental sustainability:

Environmental sustainability refers to the impact of medical tourism on the environment. Medical tourism can have a negative impact on the environment through increased energy consumption, waste generation, and water consumption. Therefore, it is important to ensure that medical tourism facilities are designed to be energy-efficient, generate less waste, and conserve water. Additionally, transportation is a key component of medical tourism, so it is important to consider the carbon footprint of patient and staff transportation.


Economic sustainability:

Economic sustainability refers to the impact of medical tourism on the economy of the host country. Medical tourism can generate significant revenue for the host country, as well as for the medical tourism industry. However, it is important to ensure that the revenue generated is sustainable and that the benefits are shared equitably. Additionally, medical tourism can have an impact on the affordability and accessibility of healthcare for the local population.


To make medical tourism more sustainable, we need to take a holistic approach. Here are some ways to achieve this:


  1. Use sustainable building practices for medical tourism facilities to minimize energy consumption, waste generation, and water use.

  2. Implement sustainable transportation practices for patients and staff, such as the use of electric vehicles or shuttle services to reduce the carbon footprint.

  3. Ensure that local communities benefit from medical tourism by creating job opportunities and supporting local businesses.

  4. Develop training programs for local medical professionals to prevent brain drain.

  5. Work with local stakeholders to develop sustainable policies and regulations that promote social, environmental, and economic sustainability.


By taking a sustainable approach to medical tourism, we can ensure that it benefits patients, the environment, and the local community. It is essential that we consider the three spheres of sustainability when discussing medical tourism to ensure that it is a responsible and sustainable industry.


References:


  • "Sustainable medical tourism: The case for sustainability assessment in medical tourism and issues of sustainability for global medical services" (Choi, 2019)

  • "Sustainability and Medical Tourism: A Proposed Framework and Marketing Strategies" (Bagheri et al., 2019)

  • "Sustainability in medical tourism: A review of the literature and its implications for the future" (Connell, 2018)

  • "Sustainable medical tourism and destination competitiveness: A case study of Malaysia" (Maznah et al., 2020)

  • "Sustainability in Medical Tourism: A Review and Commentary on the Existing Literature" (Fetscherin, 2016)

9 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page