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June 17, 2021

Medical Tourism: Regulatory Trends

While all countries have their own regulatory bodies that regulate the approval of medical devices and procedures, developed countries have stricter enforcement of regulations compared to developing countries, where rules may be more lenient.

By GlobalData Thematic Research

Stricter regulations and complicated market access pathways can inhibit the medical tourism industry from growing in certain countries.

Regulatory Trends

Listed below are the key regulatory trends impacting the medical related tourism theme, as identified by GlobalData.

Rise of non-profit international accreditations

Patients seeking medical care abroad are subject to the healthcare rules and regulations in the destination country, but the addition of tourism adds a layer of complexity. Medical tourism is essentially its own sector, putting patients in vulnerable positions without regulations to protect them and their interests.

In order to overcome the gaps in regulations, there has been an increase in the number of non-profit organisations developing accreditation programmes to help patients select healthcare facilities that have been evaluated against set evidence-based standards. The Joint Commission International (JCI) and Global Healthcare Accreditation are both accrediting bodies that validate the quality and healthcare facility in countries across the world.

Emerging markets are becoming top destinations, but they often have less stringent regulations over healthcare services and standards. Unbiased non-profit accreditations focus on the needs and interests of medical travel patients, ensuring that they are seeking high-quality care abroad.

Minimisation of medical and legal risks in medical tourism destinations

In addition to the growing need to protect the interest of medical travel patients, the rise in medical tourism has prompted the need to minimise legal risks for physicians treating non-residents and medical tourists.

The Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) and Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC) have developed and updated two “Governing Law and Jurisdiction Agreement” agreements that “assist in establishing Canadian jurisdiction for any potential legal actions that may result from care or treatment provided by Canadian physicians or healthcare organisations to non-residents”.

As medical related tourism continues to increase, countries are ensuring that the interests and needs of their practicing physicians are protected.

This is an edited extract from the Medical Tourism – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.

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