“Medical tourism” refers to traveling to another country for medical care.  The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)  reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 750,000 people travel to other countries each year for surgical or dental procedures. Dental work, cardiac surgery, and bariatric, cosmetic, and orthopedic procedures are the most common procedures.

Stethoscope Public domain image/Darnyi Zsóka
Public domain image/Darnyi Zsóka

The most common reason for seeking care outside of the U.S. is cost savings, which can be one third to one half less expensive. For example, the AARP reports that cardiac surgery in Thailand is $23,000 compared to $88,000 in the United States.

The Philippines is one of the most common destinations for medical care and officials in Quezon City are looking to become the country’s medical tourism capital.

According to a PIA report, the city government hosted a consultative meeting with different medical tourism stakeholders in the city, including representatives from private and public hospitals, doctors’ associations, travel agencies, hotels and wellness centers in preparation for the hosting of the 1st Quezon City International Medical Tourism Summit slated March next year.

“When we combine the best facilities and the best human resource, then Quezon City is very ripe to take on the challenge of becoming the medical tourism hub in the Philippines,”   Mayor Herbert Bautista said in a statement read for him by City Administrator Aldrin C. Cuña during the meeting.

“Quezon City is now ready and excited to take a bite off that market,” Mayor Bautista said.  And that market is big and getting bigger.

Reports in 2012 revealed that the world medical tourism industry was valued at $10.5 billion and today, in 2016, it is already valued at $45 billion.