The citizens of many countries have long traveled to the United States and to the developed countries of Europe to seek the expertise and advanced technology available in leading medical centers. In the recent past, a trend known as medical tourism has emerged wherein citizens of highly developed countries choose to bypass care offered in their own communities and travel to less developed areas of the world to receive a wide variety of medical services.
Medical tourism is becoming increasingly popular, and it is projected that as many as 750,000 Americans will seek offshore medical care in 2007. This phenomenon is driven by marketplace forces and occurs outside of the view and control of the organized healthcare system. Medical tourism presents important concerns and challenges as well as potential opportunities. This trend will have increasing impact on the healthcare landscape in industrialized and developing countries around the world.