Quality in health care and globalization of health services: Accreditation and regulatory oversight of medical tourism companies

Leigh G. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Patients are crossing national borders in search of affordable and timely health care. Many medical tourism companies are now involved in organizing cross-border health services. Despite the rapid expansion of the medical tourism industry, few standards exist to ensure that these businesses organize high-quality, competent international health care. Addressing the regulatory vacuum, 10 standards are proposed as a framework for regulating the medical tourism industry. Medical tourism companies should have to undergo accreditation review. Care should be arranged only at accredited international health-care facilities. Standards should be established to ensure that clients of medical tourism companies make informed choices. Continuity of care needs to become an integral feature of cross-border care. Restrictions should be placed on the use of waiver of liability forms by medical tourism companies. Medical tourism companies must ensure that they conform to relevant legislation governing privacy and confidentiality of patient information. Restrictions must be placed on the types of health services marketed by medical tourism companies. Representatives of medical tourism agencies should have to undergo training and certification. Medical travel insurance and medical complications insurance should be included in the health-care plans of patients traveling for care. To protect clients from financial losses, medical tourism companies should be mandated to contribute to compensation funds. Establishing high standards for the operation of medical tourism companies should reduce risks facing patients when they travel abroad for health care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbermzq078
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal for Quality in Health Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Accreditation
  • Globalization
  • Legal standards
  • Medical travel
  • Regulation and oversight


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