Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld
Chapter 22: Use of cross-border healthcare among immigrants
Use of cross-border healthcare seems to be more frequent among immigrants compared with non-immigrants. The motives for seeking healthcare in the country of origin can be understood as: better availability and affordability of healthcare services, as well as familiarity with and perceived better quality of care in the country of origin. Yet, often the motives are at play simultaneously and they are also rooted in the healthcare system context in the country of residence. The types of services used abroad by immigrants differ from the use of common healthcare services while on holiday to cases where immigrants with severe illness return to their country of origin. While immigrants’ use of cross-border healthcare may be beneficial for the individual, as they can obtain preferred timely healthcare in familiar settings and at a lower price, it may also have negative consequences for continuity of care and patient safety; however, little is known about these issues. The healthcare systems in the Western countries need to be aware of the significant cross-country healthcare consumption. In order to improve care, healthcare professionals need to be better equipped to tackle patients who use healthcare in multiple settings.
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