Medical tourism is a term for people traveling to another country primarily to undergo medical care. The scope of medical care may include the diagnoses and treatments of serious illnesses like cancer, cosmetic surgeries and other aesthetical treatments to enhance one’s physical appearance or different types of comprehensive medical checkup for healthy individuals. Then, after the primary purpose of the travel is done and depending on the physical condition of the medical tourist, he or she may explore the tourist spots before going back to their home country.

Almost all kinds of healthcare services are offered by various countries and medical institutions

Why people should consider having treatment abroad?

Medical tourists used to come from less-developed countries to well-known medical facilities in highly-developed countries.  However, in recent years, there has been an increasing number of medical tourists from highly-developed to developing countries.

Reasons for Having Medical Treatment Abroad

  • Low prices for high-quality healthcare

    • This is the reason cited by most people who think of having medical treatment abroad. There are significant savings as shown by the following examples:
    • Heart bypass surgery would cost around $129,700 in the USA and $17,400.in Germany.
    • Medical tourists from the United States can save from 50 to 65%  if they go to Turkey for their medical treatments. Medical procedures are generally cheaper in Turkey because of lower labor cost, efficiency of operation and government support.
  • Highly-qualified Doctors and Modern, Well-Equipped Healthcare Facilities

When you’re sick you want to make sure that you’re being treated by competent doctors in hospitals with adequate diagnostic and other medical equipment. The standard of healthcare is one of the reasons why some patients in highly-developed countries are hesitant to have treatment abroad.

Medical tourists who decide to have medical treatment in Turkey will be pleasantly surprised to know that there are 46 JCI accredited healthcare facilities as of April 2018. What does a JCI accreditation mean? It means that the hospital is at least at par with the standards of the hospitals in the United States.

The Joint Commission International (JCI) is a US-based organization established in 1994 “to provide international clients education and consulting services.” Below are three of several outcomes expected from a JCI-accredited hospital:

  • A safe environment that reduces the risk for care recipients and caregivers.
  • Improved outcomes and patient satisfaction.
  • Enhanced efficiency
  • Reduced costs through standardized care

To maintain its JCI accreditation, healthcare facilities have to “keep up to date with new standards” and continuous performance improvement.

Other hospitals in Turkey are certified by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JACHO) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).  An ISO-certified hospital has a quality management system that promotes continual improvement for customer or patient satisfaction.

In addition to certifications by international organizations, Turkey’s Ministry of Health and the independent Turkish Medical Associations sets and monitors the local standards and guidelines for the  medical practitioners, hospitals and  healthcare facilities.

Turkey is host to the 6th World Conference on Parasitology,  the World Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Conference, the International Conference on Clinical and Medical Case Reports, the 5th Annual Conference on Stroke and Neurological Disorder and other international medical conferences and events in 2018. Medical practitioners  are updated with the latest in their areas of specialization.

  • Availability of A Wide Range of Medical Specialties

Illnesses need immediate medical attention. Some people consider medical treatment abroad because they could not get the needed treatment immediately in their home country. They are on a waiting list or the treatment is not available at all.

People who try to check with hospitals in Turkey, will be happy to know that there is almost no waiting  time for the diagnosis or treatment of a wide range of illnesses.  The country’s capability to provide high-quality healthcare services to medical tourists is the result of its aggressive  reforms through the  Health Transformation Program (HTP) and public-private partnerships (PPPs) that    started in 2003.

Hospitals and expensive medical equipment need investments. Government legislation allowed the Ministry of Health to use PPPs in building hospitals and health campuses nationwide.

As more healthcare facilities were completed, they were able to offer more hospital beds and medical specialties.

  • Beyond Medical Services

In addition to high-quality treatment from well-trained doctors, medical tourist will appreciate the extra services in hospitals abroad that may include the following:

  • Enough nurses to perform tasks that are performed by nursing assistants or aides in US or UK hospitals.
  • Being escorted instead of just being provided with directions to other areas in the hospital.
  • Doctors have more time to spend time with each patient.
  • More accommodating hospital personnel.


Before deciding to have medical treatment abroad, you should be ready to pay the medical bill out of pocket. If you have health insurance, ask the insurance company if your medical expensed will be covered. Can you file a claim for the reimbursement of your medical bills abroad?