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EncyclopediaMedical tourism (also called medical travel. health tourism or global healthcare) is a term initially coined by travel agencies and the mass media to describe the rapidly-growing practice of traveling across international borders to obtain health care. It also refers pejoratively to the practice of healthcare providers traveling internationally to deliver healthcare [ 1 ] [ 2 ] .

Services typically sought by travelers include elective procedures as well as complex specialized surgeries such as joint replacement (knee /hip ), cardiac surgery. dental surgery. and cosmetic surgeries. However, virtually every type of health care, including psychiatry, alternative treatments, convalescent care and even burial services are available. As a practical matter, providers and customers commonly use informal channels of communication-connection-contract, and in such cases this tends to mean less regulatory or legal oversight to assure quality and less formal recourse to reimbursement or redress, if needed [citation needed ] .

Over 50 countries have identified medical tourism as a national industry. [ 3 ] However, accreditation and other measures of quality vary widely across the globe, and there are risks and ethical issues that make this method of accessing medical care controversial [citation needed ]. Also, some destinations may become hazardous or even dangerous for medical tourists to contemplate.

In the context of global health, “medical tourism” is a pejorative because during such trips health care providers often practice outside of their areas of expertise or hold different (i. e. lower) standards of care [ 4 ] [ 5 ]. Greater numbers than ever before of student volunteers, health professions trainees, and researchers from resource-rich countries are working temporarily and anticipating future work in resource-starved areas [ 5 ] [ 6 ]. This emphasizes the importance of understanding this other definition.

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