In an era when disease crosses borders, it is no surprise that every year millions of international patients cross continents and countries to travel to medical tourism destinations for medical treatment. Medical tourism is one of today's fastest growing solutions for patients in search of the ultimate in quality care and the most affordable medical treatments. A recent report on medical tourism stated that by 2017, over 16 million Americans could be traveling abroad for medical care that includes everything from knee replacements and cosmetic surgery to open heart surgery and cancer treatments.
Israel is emerging as a popular medical tourism destination primarily due to its worldwide reputation for high quality healthcare and world-renowned medical facilities. Orthopaedic surgeries, oncology and cancer treatments, bone marrow transplants, fertility and IVF treatments and neurosurgery are available in Israel at reasonable prices. High prices of medical procedures as compared to medical tourism destinations such as Asia and South America and the on-going conflict with Palestine and other Arab countries are cause of concern to medical tourists coming to Israel.
Thousands of medical travellers have visited Israel in the last few years to avail themselves of the sophisticated healthcare and medical procedures. Medical tourists came for medical procedures that were not available or were very expensive in their home countries, including heart surgeries, oncology and cancer treatments, bone marrow transplants and fertility treatments. Israel records the highest numbers of procedures performed compared to anywhere else in the world. In 2006, 15,000 foreigners travelled to the country for medical procedures, bringing in $40 million of revenue.
Some seek relief for a variety of medical conditions at treatment centers and spas at the Dead Sea, a world-famous therapeutic resort. Patients with dermatological conditions, rheumatological diseases and lung diseases seek treatment at the Dead Sea. Treatments are based on a mixture of factors that are unique to the Dead Sea; mineral salts, Dead Sea mud, the oxygen rich atmosphere and the mineral sulphur springs of the region as well as the attenuated ultra-violet radiation.
Israel’s facilities are recognized throughout the world, with regular contacts maintained on a reciprocal basis with major medical and scientific research centers abroad. Another factor in choosing Israel is the comfortable climate and scenic locations which have a calming effect on patients. Israel is frequently the host venue for international medical conferences.
Patients from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa are drawn to Israel's quality healthcare services. Americans and Western Europeans come to avail themselves of high quality medical treatment at a very reasonable cost.
Israel has become a world-leader in cancer treatment. Most hospitals offer full-service and high-quality facilities and an expertise in oncology that has become world-renowned. Another area in which Israel ranks amongst the best in the world is in the orthopaedics industry. Patients arrive from all over the world for treatment for bone, ligament and joint deficiencies. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is known for its high success rates and considerably lower costs. Whilst the global average success rate for IVF is 20% per cycle, the success rate achieved in Israel is 25-30% per cycle. IVF costs $3,000-$3,500 in Israel, compared to $16,000-$20,000 in the U.S.
There are around 70 general hospitals and medical centers in Israel, the majority of which are owned and operated by the government and non-profit organizations. Israel hosts some of the most highly qualified and experienced doctors and surgeons in the world. The leading hospitals offer world-class medical facilities and equipment. English, Russian and Arabic are widely spoken by medical personnel.
The Israeli Ministry of Health is responsible for the control and management of health policies in the country, including the standardization and implementation of health regulations among the various hospitals and health centers in the nation.
Israel has made arrangements and agreements with 65 countries whereby citizens from these countries will no longer require a visa to enter Israel. The only requirement is a valid passport. Most African, Asian and Arab countries need to apply for a Visa through the Israeli embassy in their country.