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Medical tourism from Russia
The Russians have discovered medical tourism quite recently — just over 15 years ago. Frankly speaking some recovery of this area was observed in the early 1990s, but it was not of a mass character: a trip for treatment abroad not only for surgery but also for resort and spa treatment was more of an exception than a common practice. Similarly to the rest of the world the development of medical tourism abroad in Russia was influenced by the development of culture of traveling. As soon as the Russians "settled" abroad, got used to apply the services of travel agencies first, and then to arrange foreign holidays on their own, and that arose a need for more extensive use of the infrastructure of foreign countries as well, including their medical support. Nowadays Russian patients are the most welcome guests of all hospitals in the world.
However, the Russian way of development of medical tourism abroad has its own specific characteristics. The first distinguishing feature is the reason for the Russians to travel abroad for medical treatments. On the contrary to citizens of the US or the UK, patients from Russia go abroad for treatment because they can not find the proper level of service, and sometimes the required equipment or doctors with professional skills in the country. Meanwhile the cost of medical services is of secondary importance: the Russians are ready to pay for guaranteed recovery from disease and a high level of service.
According to the statistics of the exhibition in Moscow
"Treatment abroad / Medshow"
52% of Russian citizens who applied for medical support abroad in 2017,
did it due to the unavailability to solve their medical problems in Russia.
Due to this fact another feature of the Russian medical tourism is its geography. Americans and Europeans require treatment abroad because the cost of medicine in their countries is too high, that is why the main flows of patients from USA, Canada and Europe go to Asia — India, Thailand, China, South Korea, etc. Meantime these countries are trusted less among the Russians: the Russian patient prefers to acquire treatment in Europe and Israel, a little less in the US.
According to the statistics of MedShow.ru the first place in number of Russian patients among European countries is occupied by Germany: every fifth Russian who travels for treatment abroad wishes to go to this country. Whereas the most popular destination of medical tourism in Russia is Israel: this country gains 25% of all Russian citizens traveling for treatment abroad. In the top of most preferable for the Russians countries are: Germany (15%), China (10%), Hungary (7%), South Korea (5%), Czech Republic (5%), USA (4%), Bulgaria (3%), India (2%), Turkey (2%), Slovenia (2%), Italy (2%).
Survey of popular destinations of medical tourism in Russia
|Country of treatment||% of traveling fortreatment abroad from Russia|
What kind of medical services are the Russians looking for in foreign medical institutions? According to the research of organizers of the Moscow International Exhibition "Treatment abroad", the most popular medical services are in the field of cardiology, cardiosurgery, transplantation, oncology, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics, eye surgery, plastic surgery. Furthermore the Russians appeal to the foreign specialists for arranging an accurate diagnosis frequently.
The prospects for development of a medical tourism in global scale as well as in a national one are almost unlimited. The improvement of medical base allows more and more of new countries to be included in the industry: up to date, the development of this type of tourism is supported at the governmental level in 50 (!) states.
As far as Russia is concerned, as it was mentioned previously, it has exclusively outbound medical tourism, that means: all the prospects depend primarily on economic and political stability in the country. Experts in the field of economics and political science predict that the prosperity and mobility of Russians will grow, and as a result the number of traveling abroad Russians for medical services will increase. Speaking about unpredictable, but desired changes, the first thing to mention is the rather narrow geography of traveling on medical treatment abroad from Russia. One of the reasons is the low awareness of Russian citizens about the high quality of services and excellent qualifications of doctors from Asian countries which are considered to be doubtful among the Russians so far, but whose advantages are highly appreciated by the Americans and the Europeans for a long time.
Despite the fact that medical tourism in Russia is only at its initial stage, more and more citizens are showing interest in this industry, that makes the market players to develop not just their own business, but the information field as well: more expert information appears in the Internet, articles on medical tourism are published not only in the specialized press but also in the national prominent magazines, overseas exhibitions on treatment are arranged. Thus, it is fair to assume that the medical tourism for Russians will overcome the borders of Israel and Germany in upcoming years, and the Russians will become regular visitors of the resorts, clinics and health centers all over the world.
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