Visitors from the US, Japan, Germany, France, Australia, Sweden, and the Middle East are outsourcing their healthcare. They expect and receive medical expertise, state of the art medical technology and treatments comparable to anything available in the West.
Most people have limited resources yet spare no expense when it comes to seeking the highest quality of healthcare. In fact, the third leading cause of bankruptcy in the US is the cost incurred for medical care to manage chronic illnesses. Even though a patient might risk the loss of a home, they are prepared and willing to exceed their budgets to get the best “perceived” medical care.
This begs the question: Why are people travelling to Asia even though the facilities in their own countries are the same? The answer in large part is cost. Savings of up to 50 per cent are music to the ears of the budget conscious. But there are other reasons as well.
Thailand is moving forward with a newly-inspired vision. Like most of modern Asia, the kingdom draws on a shared heritage of ancient wisdom in health and wellness. This has helped bring about a convergence of Eastern and Western thought and approaches to healing. This in turn has led to closer collaboration between the East and West in pioneering medical breakthroughs, a process in which both sides benefit from the strengths of their respective cultures and histories.
In the West, the mindset is often forward looking and competitive with a strong emphasis on innovation. There is also a much greater preoccupation with ensuring future security. Many in the East view time from a relative perspective – living “in the moment” and consciously and mindfully training their mind to focus on the present, the here and now.
This focus on nurturing health and wellness has moved medicine in Thailand to another dimension – one where thriving takes precedence over surviving. When asked about Thailand specifically, many medical visitors respond with a smile, blissful eyes and a longing glance. The look in their eyes tells you that they have been moved by something they have not experienced elsewhere. Thailand leaves you with a blessing: knowing that an earthly paradise is possible when people are bonded in a common culture of sincere kindness.
Thai hospitality is warm and caring, second to none, mainly because it is so genuine. Being primarily a Buddhist culture, it is the “Thai way” to share. The people are firmly set in the belief that sharing is caring, a tenet realized and passed down by the Lord Buddha from person-to-person for thousands of years. Imagine the quality of care for your health and happiness that comes from people who have created images in solid gold to honour the Lord Buddha for this reason.
Like most places, Thailand is not perfect. It has the typical challenges for travellers of unfamiliar language, customs and geography. These hurdles are to be expected, but quickly wash away in the welcoming river that flows from between drawn-together palms when you are greeted by the salutation sabai dee mai: “How are you?”
Thailand is something of a hidden secret, a world class medical hub in the heart of Asia. People from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Korea come to visit treatment centres throughout the country knowing that they will be handled like precious gems.
Members of the Private Hospital Association in Thailand have identified the following key areas in which Thailand should be promoted as a leading destination for medical tourism: cardiac and vascular diseases; oncology; musculo-skeletal and degenerative diseases of the spine; diseases related to the brain and central nervous system; and digestive disorders.
Other fields in which the level of professionalism and services provided are deemed to be highly competitive include: orthopaedics, plastic surgery, dentistry, anti-ageing, and progressive medicine.