Table of Contents

Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility

Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility

Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld

The growth of international travel for purposes of medical treatment has been accompanied by increased academic research and analysis. This Handbook explores the emergence of medical travel and patient mobility and the implications for patients and health systems. Bringing together leading scholars and analysts from across the globe, this unprecedented Handbook examines the regional and national experiences of medical tourism, including coverage of the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The chapters explore topics on issues of risk, law and ethics; and include treatment-focused discussions which highlight patient decision-making, patient experience and treatment outcomes for cosmetic, transplantation, dentil, fertility and bariatric treatment.

Chapter 1: The shaping of contemporary medical tourism and patient mobility

Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld

Subjects: economics and finance, health policy and economics, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


Travel for health benefits pre-dates the rise of modern medicine and existence of passports, harking back to porous borders and less institutionalized medicine. Alongside change in travel technology, scientific and surgical developments encouraged growing patient mobility during the twentieth century. In recent decades wealthy people from less developed areas of the world travelled to developed nations to access better facilities and highly trained clinicians, drawn by innovation and reputation. In what is predominantly a private sector there has been dramatic commodification of health and medical treatments. This chapter traces the shaping of contemporary medical tourism, including the strategic role of governments in supporting and promoting national interests, and demands for regulation.