Tuesday, September 21, 2010

3 Reasons Why Medical Tourism In Turkey Is Booming

Medical tourism is on the rise, especially since the recent global financial meltdown. Though economies and individuals are struggling, medical needs remain.

Some of us are not able to afford expensive healthcare procedures in our own countries. Other nationals who enjoy a socialized healthcare system sometimes have to endure long waiting lists, though the need for a procedure is imminent.

These undesirable situations leave many looking for affordable, quick healthcare options, and Turkey has been quickly becoming a hotspot on the medical tourism map. Here's why.

Quick Facts

  • Turkey welcomes about 160,000 to 200,000 medical tourists per year.
  • There are over 30 medical facilities and organizations in Turkey accredited by the Joint Commission International.
  • Turkey is expecting to receive about one million medical tourism patients by 2015.

Reason #1: The Quality

Turkey has applied for European Union induction. This means that standards are being raised in all sectors, especially in healthcare.

The Joint Commission International (JCI) is the global governing body responsible for issuing accreditation and certificates to medical facilities that uphold their high quality standards. Carlo Ramponi, Managing Director of the European branch of the JCI, states that Turkey boasts the largest number of accredited organizations in Europe.

Several Turkish doctors at these institutions have been trained in the US or in the UK, and many hospitals have affiliations with hospitals in other countries. A couple of these well-known partnerships include Acibadem Healthcare Group and Harvard Medical International, and Anadolu Medical Center and John Hopkins Medicine International. Istanbul Memorial Hospital, the first Turkish hospital to be recognized by JCI, enjoys membership of the American Hospital Association.

Reason #2: Location

Turkey enjoys a close proximity to Europe, especially compared to other medical tourism destinations in Latin America or Asia. For example, a flight from London to Istanbul is less than four hours. An English medical tourist heading to Bangkok will sit through an 11-hour flight, if it's direct. From New York, travelers are looking at about 10 hours in the air to Turkey, compared to 20 hours with connections to Bangkok.

Even Turkish Airlines is making it easier for travelers, offering a 25% discount for medical tourists from the US and a 10% to 20% discount for European visitors.

Reason #3: Price

The price of several surgeries and medical procedures in Turkey are on par with the costs found in South East Asia and Latin America, and much lower than those in Western countries.

Health in Turkey, part of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, provides a helpful chart comparing the cost of various medical procedures in 11 different countries. Based on their report, a hip replacement would cost $45,000 in the US or $15,000 in England, compared with under $11,000 in Turkey. A bone marrow transplant is four to eight times more expensive in the US and three to six times more costly in England. Considering cosmetic procedures, the National Center for Policy Analysis lists the price of a rhinoplasty in Turkey at $1,500, compared with $3,500 in the UK or $4,500 in the US.

All things considered, Turkey is certainly a viable option for those looking for inexpensive medical attention without sacrificing quality.

Jasmine Stephenson is a blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer specializing in online nursing schools and sonography schools for Guide to Healthcare Schools.

(Photo courtesy of MedicalTourism Magazine)

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