BACKGROUND: There are growing reports of United States (US) residents traveling overseas for medical care, but empirical data about medical tourism are limited. OBJECTIVE: To characterize the businesses and business practices of entities promoting medical tourism and the types and costs of procedures being offered. DESIGN, PARTICIPANTS, AND OUTCOMES: Between June and August 2008, we conducted a telephone survey of all businesses engaged in facilitating overseas medical travel for US residents. We collected information from each company including: the number of employees; number of patients referred overseas; medical records security processes; destinations to which patients were referred; treatments offered; treatment costs; and whether patient outcomes were collected. RESULTS: We identified 63 medical tourism companies and 45 completed our survey (71%). Companies had a meanof9.8 employees and had referred an average of 285 patients overseas (a total of approximately 13,500 patients). 35 (79%) companies reported requiring accreditation of foreign providers, 22 (50%) collected patient outcome data, but only 17 (39%) described formal medical records security policies. The most common destinations were India (23 companies, 55%), Costa Rica (14, 33%), and Thailand (12, 29%). The most common types of care included orthopedics (32 companies, 73%), cardiac care (23, 52%), and cosmetic surgery (29, 66%). 20 companies (44%) offered treatments not approved for useinthe US-most commonly stem cell therapy. Average costs for common procedures, CABG ($18,600) and knee arthroplasty ($10,800), were similar to previous reports. CONCLUSIONS: The number of Americans traveling overseas for medical care with assistance from medical tourism companies is relatively small. Attention to medical records security and patient outcomes is variable and cost-savings are dependent on US prices. That said, overseas medical care can be a reasonable alternative for price sensitive patients in need of relatively common, elective medical procedures. © 2010 Society of General Internal Medicine.
B.W., A., T., L., H.S., R., R., M., M.D., H., & P., C. (2011). Medical tourism services available to residents of the United States. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 26(5), 492–497. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-010-1582-8 LK - http://sfx.library.uu.nl/utrecht?sid=EMBASE&issn=08848734&id=doi:10.1007%2Fs11606-010-1582-8&atitle=Medical+tourism+services+available+to+residents+of+the+United+States&stitle=J.+Gen.+Intern.+Med.&title=Journal+of+General+Internal+Medicine&volume=26&issue=5&spage=492&epage=497&aulast=Alleman&aufirst=Brandon+W.&auinit=B.W.&aufull=Alleman+B.W.&coden=JGIME&isbn=&pages=492-497&date=2011&auinit1=B&auinitm=W