Thursday, 16 August 2012

New book: Risks and Challenges in Medical Tourism: Understanding the Global Market for Health Services

A new edited volume entitled Risks and Challenges in Medical Tourism, edited by J.R. Hodges, L. Turner and A.M. Kimball, was released in July 2012. 

Here's the publisher's description: 

Risks and Challenges in Medical Tourism: Understanding the Global Market for Health Services provides an in-depth, comprehensive assessment of the benefits and risks when health care becomes a global commodity. The collection includes contributions from leading scholars in law and public policy, medicine and public health, bioethics, anthropology, health geography, and economics. This timely and informative handbook looks at medical tourism from the perspective of some of the major regions that send and receive medical tourists, including the United States, the European Union, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Contributors examine how government agencies, medical tourism companies, international hospital chains, and other organizations promote medical tourism and the globalization of health care. The topics explored include the legal remedies available to medical tourists when procedures go awry; potential consequences when patients cross borders for medical procedures that are illegal in their home countries; the relationship of medical tourism to international spread of infectious disease; and the lack of adequate transnational policies and regulations governing the global market for health services.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

New article on medical tourism

A new piece on medical tourism has come out by John Connell, following up on the much-cited 2006 article 'Medical tourism: Sea, sun, sand and... surgery?' in the same journal. It illustrates how far we've come in the study of medical tourism in the last six years.

Connell, J. (2012) 'Contemporary medical tourism: Conceptualisation, culture and commodification', Tourism Management. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2012.05.009

An overview is given of the short history and rapid rise of medical tourism, its documentation, and current knowledge and analysis of the industry. Definitions of medical tourism are limited hence who medical tourists are and how many exist are both indeterminate and inflated. Definitions often conflate medical tourism, health tourism and medical travel, and are further complicated by the variable significance of motivation, procedures and tourism. While media coverage suggests long-distance travel for surgical procedures, and the dominance of middle class European patients, much medical tourism is across nearby borders and from diasporas, and of limited medical gravity, conflicting with popular assumptions. Numbers are usually substantially less than industry and media estimates. Data must remain subject to critical scrutiny. Medical travel may be a better form of overall categorisation with medical tourism a sub-category where ‘patient-tourists’ move through their own volition. Much medical tourism is short distance and diasporic, despite being part of an increasingly global medical industry, linked to and parallel with the tourism industry. Intermediaries (medical tourism companies) are of new significance. Opportunities are diffused by word of mouth with the internet of secondary value. Quality and availability of care are key influences on medical tourism behaviour, alongside economic and cultural factors. More analysis is needed of the rationale for travel, the behaviour of medical tourists, the economic and social impact of medical tourism, the role of intermediaries, the place of medical tourism within tourism (linkages with hotels, airlines, travel agents), ethical concerns and global health restructuring.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

New book: Medical Tourism: The Ethics, Regulation and Marketing of Health Mobility

Medical Tourism: The Ethics, Regulation and Marketing of Health Mobility (C.M. Hall, ed.) has been recently released through Routledge. I had the opportunity to contribute a chapter to the book: 'Claiming "Cultural Competence": The Promotion of Multi-ethnic Malaysia as a Medical Tourism Destination'. 

Book abstract
Medical and health tourism is a significant area of growth in the export of medical, health and tourism services. Although spas and improved well-being have long been part of the tourist experience, health tourism now includes travel for medical purposes ranging from cosmetic and dental surgery through to transplants and infertility treatment. Many countries including China, Cuba, Hungary, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore actively promote and compete for the medical tourist dollar, while many developed countries also provide niche private services. However, the field of medical tourism is increasingly being subject to scrutiny and debate, particularly as a result of concerns over regulatory, ethical and wider health issues.
Drawing on a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives, this book is one of the first to critically address the substantial political, philosophical and ethical issues that arise out of the transnational practices of medical tourism. Through a series of chapters the book engages with key issues such as the role of regulatory and policy structures in influencing medical and health tourism related mobilities. These issues are investigated by considering range of developing and developed countries, medical systems and health economic perspectives.
The book adopts a multi-layered perspective to not only investigate the business and marketing practices of medical and health tourism but places these within a broader framework of contemporary globalisation, policy and practice. By doing so it opens up debate of the ethical space in which medical and health tourism operates as well as reinforce the wide ranging perspectives that exist on the subject in both the public and academic imagination.
This significant contribution will be of interest to students, academics in tourism and medical policy, trade and economic development fields.