Skift Take

Medical tourism touches multiple industries and helps grow jobs and local economies in ways that other kinds of tourism can't. Destinations known as medical travel havens are often the countries that have the most to gain from increased tourism.

seedlingsSome travelers visit destinations to get sun tans and eat great food. Others visit to get tummy tucks and cosmetic surgeries that are less expensive than at home.

Medical tourism is growing around the world and in some countries much faster than others. CNBC recently discussed the mass popularity of such travel in Brazil, where medical tourism is expected to increase 40 percent during the next five years. Brazil is second only to the U.S. in cosmetic surgeries, many of which are performed on international travelers, and surgeries often cost 30 to 50 percent less for the same quality service they’d receive in the U.S. or elsewhere.

International travelers visiting the U.S. also spent $26.1 million on medical and educational travel during the first six months of 2016, a 13.7 increase over the same period last year, according to U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office. Medical travel in South Korea is also booming and the country’s tourism board features medical travel planning resources on its website.

These five startups help travelers determine which destinations offer the best treatment and procedures for their personal healthcare and also help plan every aspect of the trip from flights to accommodations.

MediRoute helps travelers book travel and accommodations for procedures at accredited hospitals and clinics abroad and connects doctors and patients.

>>SkiftTake: Travelers want to make sure they’ll be treated by quality doctors if they’re investing in a trip abroad for medical treatment. That’s why it’s important for travelers and doctors to be as comfortable with one another as possible before a trip begins.

TraveDoc is an online doctor appointment scheduling service for people living abroad and traveling in a new country. TraveDoc lets travelers choose and schedule an appointment with a physician, dentist or specialist who speaks their language.

>>SkiftTake: Fear of not being able to communicate with doctors and other healthcare professionals is a major concern for most tourists and this causes them to avoid medical treatment abroad in many cases. Bridging the language barrier is much-needed and will go a long way toward making tourists feel comfortable getting help where and when they need it without having to worry if they’ll be understood.

Medigo is a marketplace for people to search, book, and arrange high quality medical treatment abroad. It connects travelers with a network of the best medical professionals in more than 300 clinics and 15 countries.

>>SkiftTake: Medigo segments each destination into a certain field of medicine, which narrows other types of procedures and healthcare that may be available in a particular city. Still, travelers get a sense of what’s going on with healthcare advancements in each country and Medigo brands each destination for what it’s widely known for, which can be advantageous.

GetTreated helps travelers with getting estimates for their medical procedures abroad and arranging their trip itinerary as well as having a team of medical professionals behind the scenes serving in advisor roles to the startup.

>>SkiftTake: Travelers want to know they’re using a service that medical professionals put their stamps of approval on, making GetTreated’s array of doctors on its advisor board a nice touch.

GloboMD is a marketplace for comparing a range of medical procedures abroad along with their costs. GlobMD will also help with accommodations and other concierge services while abroad.

>>SkiftTake: We like how GloboMD lists available accommodations and shows them on a map in relation to the locations of hospitals and medical clinics, showing travelers which options are most convenient for them.

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