Turkey Opens Its Doors To Health Travelers

Centrally located West and East, Turkey is in a unique position to serve Americans and Western Europeans as easily as Middle Easterners and Eastern Europeans.

Just as automobiles and electronics became globally competitive over the past few decades, high-quality healthcare now has also become available around the world.  In fact, did you know that this year an estimated five million patients will cross borders for a medical procedure?  And another 15 million will travel to a foreign country for wellness, spa treatments, traditional and preventive medicine.

It may come as a surprise to patients and healthcare consumers that Turkey ranks high as a global healthcare hub, in good company with established medical tourism destinations such as India, Thailand and Singapore. Centrally located West and East, Turkey is in a unique position to serve Americans and Western Europeans as easily as Middle Easterners and Eastern Europeans. 

In our research for Patients Beyond Borders, now the leading consumer reference guide for medical tourism, I’ve journeyed to Turkey twice in the past year, visiting hospitals, talking with doctors, interviewing international patients. It’s clear that in Turkey, medical tourists can find world-class wellness facilities, along with nearly every imaginable medical procedure—all at a fraction of the prices typically charged in the United States and Europe.  The nearly 100,000 patients who visited Turkey last year have discovered this, and Turkey expects to attract more than 1 million medical travelers by 2015!

Turkey has long welcomed vacationers with its history, culture, scenery, and cuisine.  Thus, an expansion of traditional Turkish hospitality into the healthcare sector is a natural. Turkey has recently gone through a comprehensive healthcare restructuring: new investments and government support have raised the quality of the nation’s health services, increased the availability of state-of-the-art treatments, and promoted the use of innovative medical technologies. All are attracting medical travelers in greatly increasing numbers. 

As Turkey’s status as a global political and economic power has grown in recent years, so has its healthcare delivery system. Turkey now boasts more hospitals accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI, the foremost healthcare accrediting body worldwide) than any other country in the world. Of the entire roster of American-accredited facilities in 36 countries outside the United States, Turkey boasts more than 12 percent. Its total—33 as of this writing, with new additions annually—is more than those of Thailand and India combined, and more than any other single country in the world!

Turkey’s JCI-accredited hospitals offer a full range of treatments through a network of locations employing approximately 20,000 healthcare professionals, including more than 3,000 physicians. Some of its best hospitals boast affiliations with prestigious medical centers in the United States, including Harvard Medical International in Boston, Johns Hopkins Medicine International in Baltimore, and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

International patients, particularly those in the US and Canada, will find travel times to Turkey dramatically shorter than the 25+ hour hauls to countries further East. While most of Turkey’s patients arrive for medical care from nearby neighboring countries, Turkey also wants to attract the more than 80 million un- or under-insured patients in the United State, who are increasingly seeking affordable alternatives to the high-price of care on their own shores.

Patients with diagnosed medical conditions can find what they are looking for in Turkey, ranging from bone marrow transplantation to in vitro fertilization. Other sought-after specialties include cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, genetic testing, neurosurgery, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, and dentistry.

Many medical travelers seeking elective surgery they cannot afford at home will find the price is right in Turkey. For example, a rhinoplasty (“nose job”) in Turkey costs, on average, about a third of what it costs in the United States. A knee replacement priced at $43,000 in the United States may cost around US$12,000 in Turkey, including the hospital stay.

The leading healthcare groups are located in Turkey’s three largest cities—Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. They offer “one-stop” service to foreign patients, covering all arrangements from the day of request to the day of departure. Hospital staffs handle everything from setting up initial consultations to booking accommodations.

Turkey also attracts health-conscious travelers who want to maintain and promote wellness through comprehensive checkups, health screenings, and health-promoting spa experiences. Turkey is a natural venue for wellness travel; its thermal spa resorts and mud baths attract about a half-million visitors annually.

I’m so impressed with Turkey’s healthcare offerings that I have written a special Turkey Edition of the Patients Beyond Borders series. In it, I profile eleven Turkish hospitals and hospital-groups that are ready to serve the medical traveler. Is that you? Whether you are seeking a health-promoting week at a luxury spa or a long-postponed hip replacement too expensive to undergo at home, Turkey may well be the best healthcare destination for you.

For more information, international patients from USA can visit www.medicaltourisminturkey.org or can contact with www.keyglobalhealthcaresolutions.com for health care arrangements in Turkey from USA.