Health tourism is a growing concept worldwide where people travel to another country for medical treatment at a lower cost or to enjoy a vacation along with a health intervention. Common procedure types, include plastic surgery, dental procedures, tertiary medical care and fertility procedures.

The factors associated with the growth of global health tourism include higher treatment cost in developed countries, availability of the latest medical technologies, growing compliance on international quality standards, high quality of service, health insurance portability, and advertising and marketing of the medical tourism.

Residents of countries with national health care schemes, such as Canada and Great Britain, sometimes travel overseas to avoid the long waiting time such schemes bring. Others may travel for cosmetic surgery not covered by insurance. However, couples are increasingly seeking fertility treatments abroad. Others have sought more sophisticated surgery, such as cardiology treatments, overseas.

The Asia-Pacific region currently dominates the health tourism market and it is expected to continue its stronghold for a few more years. This region is expected to increase its market share in the future, owing to the raised preference of medical tourism across the developing countries of this region.

In the process of shrugging off its reputation for cheap back-alley plastic surgeries, Thailand is quickly catching up to South Korea as the world’s prime destination for cosmetic surgeries and treatments. Thailand is home to 64 JCI accredited medical facilities, three times more than Singapore and 6 times more than Malaysia.

JCI is the industry standard in global healthcare, where facilities are benchmarked against US standards and practices. An independent, not-for-profit organization, Joint Commission International (JCI) accredits and certifies health care organizations and programs across the globe. JCI is the recognized global leader in health care accreditation and provides an objective assessment of quality achievement and patient care and safety.