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What Is Known About The Patient's Experience Of Medical Tourism? A Scoping Review

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Background: Medical tourism is understood as travel abroad with the intention of obtaining non-emergencymedical services. This practice is the subject of increasing interest, but little is known about its scope.Methods: A comprehensive scoping review of published academic articles, media sources, and grey literaturereports was performed to answer the question: what is known about the patient’s experience of medical tourism?The review was accomplished in three steps: (1) identifying the question and relevant literature; (2) selecting theliterature; (3) charting, collating, and summarizing the information. Overall themes were identified from this process.Results: 291 sources were identified for review from the databases searched, the majority of which were mediapieces (n = 176). A further 57 sources were included for review after hand searching reference lists. Of the 348sources that were gathered, 216 were ultimately included in this scoping review. Only a small minority of sourcesreported on empirical studies that involved the collection of primary data (n = 5). The four themes identified viathe review were: (1) decision-making (e.g., push and pull factors that operate to shape patients’ decisions); (2)motivations (e.g., procedure-, cost-, and travel-based factors motivating patients to seek care abroad); (3) risks (e.g.,health and travel risks); and (4) first-hand accounts (e.g., patients’ experiential accounts of having gone abroad formedical care). These themes represent the most discussed issues about the patient’s experience of medical tourismin the English-language academic, media, and grey literatures.Conclusions: This review demonstrates the need for additional research on numerous issues, including: (1)understanding how multiple information sources are consulted and evaluated by patients before deciding uponmedical tourism; (2) examining how patients understand the risks of care abroad; (3) gathering patients’prospective and retrospective accounts; and (4) the push and pull factors, as well as the motives of patients toparticipate in medical tourism. The findings from this scoping review and the knowledge gaps it uncovered alsodemonstrate that there is great potential for new contributions to our understanding of the patient’s experience ofmedical tourism.
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Crooks et al. BMC Health Services Research 2010, 10:266
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BMC Health Services Research
Document title
What Is Known About The Patient's Experience Of Medical Tourism? A Scoping Review
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