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 45: ‘They go the extra mile, the extra ten miles . . .’: examining Canadian medical tourists’ interactions with health care workers abroad

Valorie A. Crooks, Victoria Casey, Rebecca Whitmore, Rory Johnston and Jeremy Snyder

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

Abstract

The patient-health care worker relationship can have important implications for people’s health. This chapter provides insights into how patients relate with health care workers abroad, while engaging in medical tourism. Presenting the findings of a thematic analysis that examines 32 telephone interviews with former Canadian medical tourists, the authors discuss participants’ views on clinical interactions with health care workers abroad. The thematic analysis of the interviews led to two main findings: 1) participants perceived that health care workers took a team-based approach and were available and accessible to patients beyond what they had experienced at home; and 2) medical tourists felt that care providers acknowledged their needs and established informal, comfortable relationships that some maintained on return to Canada. The narratives of Canadian medical tourists demonstrate that the medical tourism industry is selling a style of care that patients perceive as highly personalized, attentive, and empathetic. The authors’ findings contribute to understanding what leads individuals to participate in medical tourism. However, it is important not to overemphasize patient satisfaction in medical tourism, which may obscure other important aspects of the treatment experience, such as continuity of care and actual health outcomes.

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