The ever-increasing globalization of healthcare has led to a greater number of consumers using the World Wide Web for the purpose of accessing health information and medical services that transcends international borders (Kangas, 2010; Lunt, Mannion, & Exworthy, 2012; MacReady, 2007; Snyder, Crooks, Adams, Kingsbury, & Johnston, 2011). When faced with the high cost of health care or limited treatment options in the United States, more and more Americans are looking to developing countries to obtain a variety of health-related services, including cosmetic surgery, dentistry, diagnostic testing, fertility treatment, and major surgeries such as heart valve operations and organ transplants (Dalstrom, 2012; Snyder et al., 2011; Sono, Herlihy, & Bicker, 2011). The number of people buying health-related products and accessing health information and medical services in developing countries via the Internet is increasing (Lunt, Hardey, & Mannion, 2010).
According to Turner (2010), in the United States, popularization of medical tourism is related to social inequalities, loss of employer-provided health insurance, rising premiums for health insurance, limited public funding of health care, and lack of access to affordable health care. Turner (2010) also contends that the United States, due to its large and growing population of uninsured, under-lnsured, and people struggling to pay rising health insurance premiums, has become a leading target market for foreign medical facilities seeking international customers. In contrast to these motivators, patients from countries with less restricted health care, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, can choose to travel to foreign countries for immediate medical attention as an alternative to the long wait periods of nationalized health care systems (Boyle, 2008).
Wright, K. & Mason, A. (2013). Medical tourism: The role of communication regarding risks and benefits of obtaining medical services abroad. In (Eds) M. H. Eaves Applications in Health Communication. Kendall Hunt Publishing.
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