Medical Tourism is a rapidly growing industry here in the United States. Individuals who cannot access the medical care they desire domestically are able to travel abroad and get what they need in other countries around the world like India, Costa Rica, and Thailand. However, not everyone is trying to get out of the US. People are coming to American hospitals from across international borders as well as state borders. Some of America’s top hospitals offer significant savings for medical procedures, the highest echelon of care, and great tourism opportunities for people who are willing to travel a long way to get it.
I recently took a trip to the home of the Mayo Clinic: Rochester, Minnesota, where thousands of Americans come for advanced medical treatments. This world-renowned medical institution offers some of the finest health care in the world. The five building complex has beautiful architecture and plentiful artwork that is more likely to inspire camera snapshots than the common case of hospital wariness.
As one of the best centers for health care in America, common sense would imply this greater quality comes with a larger price tag. Fortunately, this is not the case. President Obama commended the Mayo Clinic publicly on a 2009 television special, Prescription for America, for its ability to provide care that is up to one-third less expensive than average. He attributes the smaller price tag to the excellent teamwork and disease management techniques Mayo’s staff provides. Excellent prevention and wellness techniques often give patients more care earlier in the course of a disease before more expensive emergency work has to be done.
Johns Hopkins Hospital is another of America’s top hospitals. In fact, U.S. News & World Report named it as America’s best – for twenty-one consecutive years! With this kind of reputation, individuals will want to be treated here, not just the residents of Johns Hopkins’ hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. Because people come from around the globe to this hospital, Johns Hopkins has medical concierge services. This is where out-of-towners get help with scheduling medical appointments, receive recommendations for lodging accommodations, and anything else that goes into preparing for a visit.
Many international hospitals use their amenities to attract patients. American hospitals have noticed this and are ensuring that their patients have a good time with luxuries during their stay besides medical treatments. A Los Angeles hospital has a menu created by famed chef Wolfgang Puck and every room has a flat screen television. The tourism aspect of medical travel hasn’t been left out either. Many travelers take in some of the local culture of the destination country. Even traveling between states can offer new cultural experiences. A cancer center in Houston offers short trips to the local attractions, such as museums.
Medical tourism does not always have to mean leaving the country. People come from around the world to American hospitals because of their reputation for some of the world’s best care, but the majority of patients are still from the US. Many major health care centers such as the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins treat patients from all over the country. Hospitals around the world are broadening their services beyond medicine to the hospitality beyond hospital care. Medical Tourism is about saving money, finding quality care, and having new travel experiences. All of these can be found in the American health care system.