Medical tourism refers to people traveling to a country other than their own to obtain medical treatment. In the past this usually referred to those who traveled from less-developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for treatment unavailable at home. Today we are experiencing both qualitative and quantitative shifts in patient mobility, as people travel from richer to less-developed countries in order to access health services. Such shift is mostly driven by the relative low-cost of treatments in less developed nations, the availability of inexpensive flights and increased marketing and online consumer information about the availability of medical services. The motivation may be also for medical services unavailable or illegal in the home country.
Medical tourism most often is for surgeries (cosmetic or otherwise) or similar treatments, though people also travel for dental tourism or fertility tourism. People with rare conditions may travel to countries where the treatment is better understood. However, almost all types of health care are available, including psychiatry, alternative medicine, convalescent care, and even burial services.Health tourism is a wider term for travel that focus on medical treatments and the use of healthcare services. It covers a wide field of health-oriented, tourism ranging from preventive and health-conductive treatment to rehabilitation and curative forms of travel. Wellness tourism is a related field.