Thailand: The Medical Tourism Hub

It all started on February 2, 2002, when Bumrungrad International became the first hospital in Asia to achieve a JCI accreditation. Though the list of such hospitals has swelled now (see the list below), a decade ago it gave enormous credibility to not just the hospital but to the whole kingdom nation of Thailand. So, it’s no surprise that since then the medical tourism to Thailand has been steadily increasing, almost at an incredible rate with as many as 2.53 million medical tourists visiting Thailand in the year 2012 ( as per The Ministry of Health which works with Kasicom Research Centre). This has made Thailand the world’s most visited medical tourism destination.

In comparison to a competing nation like India, where the prices are about 20% lower than Thailand, tourist numbers are higher here for the fact that Thailand is considered to be a better tourist experience overall. While India has more specialized medical centres, Thailand offers mega-centres (Bumrungrad Hospital or Bangkok Hospital for instance) with full in-house services. Popular treatments range from organ transplants, orthopaedic treatments, cardiac surgeries, to cosmetic surgeries and dental treatments.

Being the capital and the largest city in Thailand, Bangkok is the country’s premier destination for medical tourism by default. Boosted with a newly developed international hospital, and an immensely popular tourism region; the southern town ofPhuket comes in second place. Other places with a high concentration of foreign tourists are now rising as options, such as Pattaya, HuaHin, Chiang Mai, and the island KohSamui.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of JCI accredited hospitals in Thailand –

  • Bumrungrad International
  • Bangkok Hospital
  • Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital
  • Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital
  • BNH Hospital
  • Chiangmai Ram Hospital
  • Vejthani Hospital
  • Praram 9 Hospital
  • Ramkhamhaeng Hospital
  • Synphaet Hospital
  • Yanhee Hospital
  • Central General Hospital
  • Chaophya Hospital
  • Phuket International Hospital
  • Pitsanuvej Hospital
  • Sikarin Hospital
  • Bangkok Hospital,HuaHin
  • Bangkok Hospital,Samui

For medical tourists, Thai hospitals are extremely customer friendly. Many Thai physicians hold professional certifications from the US or UK, and the hospitals offer interpreters in many of the most common languages spoken by their patients.

Thailand also offers a wide range of accommodation options in all service levels, a wide variety of good and affordable restaurants and the soothing presence of pristine beaches. For medical tourists searching for a number of smaller procedures, Thailand is a safe alternative. However, those who are searching for specific major surgeries may carefully weigh the benefits between Thailand and other competitors like India and Singapore.

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