Medical tourism as reinforcement for the Puerto Rican health ecosystem

Medical tourism is a global phenomenon that consists of traveling to another city or country to receive some type of treatment or medical care, such as cosmetic or orthopedic surgeries, transplants, rehabilitation treatments, cancer and dental treatments, among others.

Currently countries such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, South Korea, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, United Arab Emirates, Spain, the Philippines, Hungary, Iran, Jordan, India, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey receive several million patients each year through medical tourism. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) highlights India, Hungary, Lithuania, Malaysia, Spain and Mexico as the countries where this type of tourism has made significant progress.

In Puerto Rico, if we set our mind to it, we undoubtedly have an area of ​​opportunity with optimal conditions to successfully develop medical tourism, writes Salvador Rovira.

In Mexico, medical tourism has established itself with great prestige worldwide, gaining ground in the race by capitalizing on its geographical proximity to the United States. It receives more than a million foreign patients, who undergo some medical treatment, including migrants who return for treatment. At the same time, this segment of travelers complements their trip with the great offer of sun and sand that the country has.

In the last decade, income from medical tourism increased 96%. It went from being an industry of around 1 billion dollars to one of 4 billion dollars. It is predicted that for the next few years medical tourism in Mexico will grow 6% and reach 13,000 million dollars.

On the other hand, data from the Medical Tourism Association reveal that the size of the global medical tourism market is between 50 thousand and 70 billion dollars, and each year, about 14 million people in the world visit They move to other countries in search of medical attention.

In Puerto Rico, where are we, regarding Medical Tourism? Do we have the resources and tools to be a major player on this issue? What is lacking?

Several years ago, since the approval of the Medical Tourism Law, little progress has been made. Despite the fact that an opportunity to create jobs and an economic injection was projected, the reality has been different.

However, in Puerto Rico, if we set our mind to it, we undoubtedly have an area of opportunity with optimal conditions to develop successfully. We have the specialists and the facilities that the patient is looking for. In addition, we have an offer as a country that is attractive to this type of tourist and their families.

The question we have to ask ourselves is if we want to be like Mexico and cover ourselves with expectations of progress. If the answer is yes, then we must unite our wills so that those expectations come true. Put the action where the word is. This would add to the already existing efforts to balance and strengthen our health ecosystem, making it more attractive to doctors, so that they consider Puerto Rico as their centre of operations.

There is no doubt that we have good leaders, an educated country and a democratic structure that, with a will, can trigger a more solid and successful development than Mexico’s on this issue. Let’s not fall into lethargy and conformism, let’s look for the necessary tools to promote the will. That is the key to success!

Link to Article: