Globalization, defined as the growth in the international exchange of services, products and capital, has not left the healthcare arena untouched. According to the World Health Organization, the globalization of health can be seen in the “increasing mobility of health professionals across borders… the increase in foreign companies which provide health services and health insurance schemes… the use of new technologies, such as the internet, to provide health services across borders… and the increasing mobility of patients traveling abroad to access medical care.”
With regard to the latter, global healthcare, also known as medical tourism, has seen a vertiginous rise over the past decade. This rapid growth can be attributed to economic factors such as supply and demand and the lower cost of healthcare in some developing nations, as well to forces endemic to globalization such as the proliferation of trade agreements, the spread of technology and information transfer.
While it is clear that ever greater numbers of patients are traveling across borders for healthcare, there is very little reliable data concerning patient numbers, outcomes, types of healthcare services patients are seeking, levels of patient satisfaction, or the dynamics that influence patients to choose one provider or destination over another.
Global healthcare research is important as it can provide insight into issues such as population health management, patient mobility trends, healthcare delivery challenges, and care best practices, areas that impact the international patient experience.
The International Healthcare Research Center strives to provide patients with sound knowledge regarding medical tourism. Generally healthcare research is quantitative in nature; however, IHRC performs both quantitative and qualitative research to provide more detailed and accurate results. Through quantitative research it is possible to collect statistical healthcare data in different demographic locations and compare healthcare systems.
One of the primary goals of our research is to enhance the quality of services that medical tourists receive. Qualitative research evaluates the quality of care provided at international healthcare facilities; therefore, helping patients to gain a better understanding the services and benefits offered by healthcare providers around the world.
Global healthcare research has to be done on a regular basis so that the data we provide is current and encourages healthcare providers to effect improvements that benefit patient safety and their overall experience. Healthcare research acts like a bridge between the patients and the healthcare industry. It helps patients make better informed decisions and allows healthcare providers to improve their services.