Global competition is emerging in the healthcare industry. Wealthy patients from developing countries have travelled long to developed countries for high-quality medicare. Now, a growing number of less affluent patients from developed counties are also traveling to regions once characterized as the third world. These patients are seeking high-quality medical care at affordable prices. Reports on the number of patients traveling abroad for healthcare are scattered, but all tell the same story. An estimated 500,000 Americans travelled abroad for treatment in 2005. A majority travelled to Mexico and other Latin American Countries; but Americans were also among the estimated 250,000 foreign patients who sought care in Singapore, the 500,000 in India. The cost savings for patients seeking medical care is significant.
According to the estimate of a research firm 1 n 2006, the medical tourism industry grossed about $60 billion worldwide and is likely to go up to $100 billion by 2012 end. Patients who are not familiar with specific medical facilities abroad can coordinate their treatment through medical travel intermediaries. These services work like specialized travel agents. They investigate health care providers to ensure quality and screen customers to assess those who are physically well enough to travel. They often have doctors and nurses on staff to assess the medical efficacy of procedures and help patients select physicians and hospital.