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Public Roles In Developing The Health Travel Sector

E. J. McCarthy
Published 2015 · Business

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The much-publicized emergence of international health tourism and medical travel (the term ‘health travel’ is adopted herein) often appeals to governments seeking new ways to stimulate economic development and relieve pressure on public budgets for the delivery of health care. With this expansion of activity come questions regarding effective steps governments can take to develop health travel in the national interest. Considerations for public development of health travel are described, with the focus on planning challenges specific to the sub-sector. These include overcoming deficiencies in external market information (Type I challenges) and developing health travel in ways that improve local health care capabilities and benefit local patients (Type 2 challenges). A hierarchy of goals and their interrelationships are described, and a continuum of roles governments that can adopt in supporting the development of health travel are presented. The experiences of select countries are reviewed that assess progression along the continuum, and lessons to date are summarized.
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