Integrating Wellness Into Medical Tourism And Global Healthcare by DR PREM JAGYASI

Integrated wellness practices are likely to be a permanent feature in the global healthcare and medical tourism industry. So if you find your physician prescribing breathing exercises, yoga, Tai Chi or other unconventional treatments along with medications, do not get surprised. The practice is evolving and is yet to get into the mainstream. Healthcare providers have acknowledged health and wellness are inseparable and a holistic personalized approach to treatment is the only way to proper healing.

The overall perception of healthcare and wellness is changing. People are looking for balanced wellness practices in the clinical setting with proven outcomes. The massive socio-economic damage inflicted by the pandemic and the growing awareness of self wellbeing has pushed forward the need for this integration.

Research by World Economic Forum released a few years before revealed chronic ailments kill over 36 million people every year and are projected to kill tens of millions more in the near future. The global economic impact of chronic diseases led by cancer, diabetes, mental ailments, heart diseases and respiratory diseases could touch $47 billion by 2030.

Wrong approach leading to health disasters

For long, we have got used to quick-fixing our health and wellness issues through reactive medicine for quick respite from the problems. This long-built practice has impacted the basics of healthcare and failed to address the root concern. Global healthcare has reached a stage where reactive medicine is not helping in reducing the mortality rates or the incidences of disease.  There is a dire need to change our approach to healthcare emphasizing preventative wellness practices for the prevention of diseases and better health management at a reduced cost enabling an enhanced quality of life.

Integrating wellness practices could be a game-changer in medical tourism

Medical tourism is around 60-100 billion industry today and has the potential to touch 200 billion in the next 5-7 years although we do not have accurate figures. Nearly, 25 million people are traveling all over the world for varied medical services. On the other hand, wellness tourism is already a 700 billion industry according to GWI data.

Typical services in integrated wellness practices

With curated personalized programs, healthcare providers are reorienting their offerings enabling a pleasant and fruitful medical tourism experience for the patients.

1. Preliminary health and wellness assessment

It will include clinical evaluation of the guest’s physical and psychological health through checkups and diagnostic assessments followed by a wellness treatment plan created by a team of medical professionals and certified wellness experts.

There will be a post-treatment assessment based on which wellness experts in coordination with physicians will chalk out the wellness treatment plan.

2. Specialized medical therapies and biohacking

Biohacking, the practice to manipulate our brain and body for enhanced cognitive functions has been a well-established trend in the wellness industry for quite some time. Many health and wellness providers are incorporating this into their integrative wellness programs.

3. Rehabilitation

A patient who has undergone a hip replacement or any major surgery or stroke will need additional therapeutic support to get back into the right frame of body and mind. A different model of integrative wellness programs is required where round-the-clock medical assistance and other rehabilitation therapies run in parallel.

4. Aesthetics and Dermatology

Increased image-consciousness coupled with advanced non-or minimally invasive treatments have been driving the medical aesthetics market. Providers of aesthetic services are also including a series of integrated wellness treatments including ultrasound, laser therapies, injections, fillers and other body contouring treatments leading to the evolution of Medical spas or Medispas.

5. Annual wellness programs

Service offerings of healthcare and wellness resorts/centers will see a major shift with curated and personalized annual wellness programs. People will prefer long-term wellness stays and year-round health and wellness follow-ups through these packaged programs helping them to adapt to both preventative and reactive medicine. People will be invited for a revisit to health and wellness resorts and facilities or asked to follow integrated guided programs at home.


Future outlook

Wellness practices and therapies are melding with conventional medical treatments. Toeing the growth, wellness spas and resorts are redesigning their offerings with specialized diagnostic services and therapies. Medical tourism destinations are gearing up in offering integrated wellness treatments either through the under-the-same-roof facility or by creating strategic partnerships with reputed and established clinics, resorts, and spas.

Integrated wellness practices will accelerate medical tourism growth as more people will be seeking preventative care in a pleasurable vacationing ambiance. Not only affluent health tourists, but the democratization of wellness practices within varied price ranges would also attract a broader customer segment.

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