Medical tourism research: New studies in Canada


The medical tourism research group at Simon Fraser University in Canada will continue its series of studies into global medical tourism, and has published studies on Barbados and Mongolia.
Lead researcher Valorie Crooks, a health geographer, recently received a $635,000 award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research for an eight-year period to further her research.

Her qualitative study focuses on Canadian medical tourism in Barbados, Guatemala, Mexico and India. Crooks hopes to gain a better understanding of the impacts of medical tourism for both Canada and the destination country.

By next year, she and her team of researchers hope to have a guide for Canadians who are considering medical tourism to help them carefully consider their options.

The latest research project for 2012 to 2015 compares the impact on a developing country’s own health care system. The aim is to find out what effect medical tourists from developed nations have on developing nations that they go to. The focus is on the long running argument as to whether medical tourists have a positive or negative impact on the local health system across: health human resources, domestic government involvement, investment, private health care, and public health care.

This project looks at case studies: Barbados; Guatemala City, Guatemala; Monterrey & Mexico City, Mexico; Bangalore & Chennai, India.

A new report,‘ An Overview of Medical Tourism in Barbados’ concludes that the local medical tourism industry is very small .The main activity is from Barbados Fertility Centre although other clinics are starting to get involved .The creation of a health and wellness tourism task force and the building of American World Clinics could slowly change that in the future.  

A research team travelled to Mongolia in April 2012 to develop a better understanding of the effects of outbound medical tourism in that country. This research was funded through a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. A short report has just been published: ”Outbound medical tourism from Mongolia”. It does not offer numbers, but says that the main reason Mongolians go elsewhere for treatment is dissatisfaction with and distrust of the public healthcare system, and absence of private healthcare.



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