Thursday, 17 March 2011

Current research projects on international medical travel

Here's a list of some of the large-scale projects currently underway that deal with international medical travel. If you are aware of others and would like to see information about them posted, please contact meghann.ormond (at) with details.
  • 'Inward and outward implications for the NHS of Medical Tourism' is a NIHR-funded 2010-2012 project that involves researchers from the University of York (Dr Neil Lunt), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Prof Richard Smith), University of Birmingham (Prof Russell Mannion), Royal Holloway (Dr Mark Exworthy) and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust (Prof Steve Green). The proposal reads: 'Aside from anecdotal reports and media speculation relatively little is known about implications for the NHS of inward and outward out-of-pocket Medical Tourism. This is despite such flows having major implications for the NHS given around 50,000 UK residents travel overseas for treatment annually and there are overseas patients using the NHS and private facilities. The study provides insights for NHS policy-makers, regulators, providers, clinicians and consumer interests and will illuminate macro and local issues: costs, quality, administrative and legal dimensions, decision-making, and unintended consequences for the NHS'. See coverage of the project at
  • 'Evaluating Care Across Borders' (ECAB) is coordinated by Professor Mossialos (LSE Health) and runs from 2010-2012. It is the second largest research grant ever awarded to LSE by the Commission and the largest so far from the 7th Framework Programme. The aim of ECAB is to facilitate a process whereby Europe's citizens can make informed choices about whether to seek health care in another Member State, and if they so choose, to ensure that the administrative and clinical processes are straightforward and ensure continuity of care. It takes as its starting point the recent draft Directive on Patients' Rights, augmented by the existing body of research on cross-border care. It then focuses on those areas where the necessary information is incomplete and seeks to fill the gaps. It is equally important to state what it does not do. It does not seek to quantify the scale of movement, because our earlier research reveals this to be a dynamic area where data are often unavailable and rapidly become out of date.
  • European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies' 2004-07 project 'Europe for Patients' (coordinated by Magdalene Rosenmöller, IESE Business School, Barcel). The project examines the legal frameworks at both national and European level, with a focus on recent European jurisprudence; systems for contracting for health services across borders; and systems for ensuring quality of care provided. Access one of its resulting publications: Patient Mobility in the European Union: Learning from Experience.