Health Tourism in United States

a scenic view of a bridge over a river with a boat, representing health tourism in the United States

In this article you will find answers for the:

  • Why the US for Medical Tourism?

  • Top Medical Treatments in the US.

  • American Healthcare Progress.

  • Hospital Accreditation in the USA.

  • Medical Services in America.

The USA is a country in North America composed of 50 states. It is the home of 4.3 % of the world's total population, 324 million people. It is one of the world's superpowers that pioneer in many technological advancements including military technology. It is the world’s 3rd largest country by landmass and population. Traveling from the Pacific Trails to the Californian deserts and Maryland's horse riding fete is breathtaking.

In the past decade, the United States has seen a significant increase in the number of medical tourists - patients traveling from their home countries to seek medical care. The rise has been so substantial that the U.S. cross-border exports of health-related personal travel services doubled from $1.6 billion in 2003 to $3.3 billion in 2013.

Explore Your Options in the US! Request Free Support for Health Tourism and Find Top Clinics.

Among the throngs of travelers, a diverse group of individuals can be found. They come from all corners of the world, but the largest groups hail from the Caribbean, Europe, and Central America. Each year, between 100,000 and 200,000 people enter the U.S., listing health treatment as their primary reason for visiting.

Take, for example, Maria, a middle-aged woman from the Caribbean. She had been struggling with a complex cardiac condition and her local doctors recommended seeking advanced medical care. After researching her options, she decided to travel to the United States, drawn by the high-quality services and advanced medical care available.

Similarly, Ahmed, a businessman from the Middle East, chose to travel to the Mayo Clinic for a specialized procedure. The clinic, known for its high-quality medical care, had an office in his home country and helped him arrange his travel. He was reassured by the fact that many of the health professionals at the clinic were trained in U.S. hospitals.

Then there's Ana, a young woman from Central America. She needed a complicated cosmetic surgery procedure that wasn't available in her home country. After hearing about the success stories from a Florida hospital that caters specifically to health travelers from the Caribbean and Latin America, she decided to make the journey.

These stories are just a few examples of the growing trend of medical tourism to the United States. Despite the challenges, such as restrictive visa requirements and language barriers, the U.S. continues to attract medical tourists due to its high-quality healthcare services and proximity to large patient markets. The trend is expected to continue, contributing to the growth of the U.S. healthcare industry.

The United States has become a significant player in the medical tourism sector due to its advanced healthcare system and contributions to medical science. Despite higher costs compared to many other countries, the quality of care in the U.S. ensures value for money.

Medical tourism can be categorized into three types: outbound (traveling to a foreign country for treatment), inbound (traveling to one's home country from abroad for treatment), and domestic (traveling within one's home country for treatment).

The U.S. offers a range of popular services for medical tourists, including cancer treatment and cardiology. The U.S. boasts about 6,093 hospitals, providing medical tourists with a wide range of healthcare facilities across the country. To be prepared to travel to the US, medical tourists will need to do extensive research and legal consultations to address potential challenges such as visa and registration issues, language barriers, and concerns about the quality of care.

Medical Tourism to the US: Statistical Trends and Key Insights

The United States has emerged as a significant player in the global medical tourism market, according to a report titled "Medical Tourism: A Prescription for a Healthier Economy" by the World Travel & Tourism Council. The report highlights the United States' dominant position in both inbound and outbound medical tourism, demonstrating the country's pivotal role in this rapidly growing sector.

In 2017, the United States was the largest destination market for inbound medical tourism spending, bringing in nearly US$4 billion. This accounts for 36% of global medical tourism spending and 1.9% of total inbound tourism spending in the country. The United States' position as the top destination for medical tourism is a testament to the high quality of healthcare services available in the country, attracting patients from around the globe seeking top-tier medical care.

In addition to being a leading destination for medical tourists, the United States is also the world's top-origin market for outbound medical tourism. In 2017, US citizens spent around US$2.3 billion on medical services abroad, particularly in North America and Latin America. This accounts for 20% of global outbound spending on medical tourism and 1.7% of the total US outbound Travel & Tourism expenditure.

Interestingly, despite the significant amount spent by US citizens on medical services abroad, the revenue from inbound medical tourism exceeded the outbound spending by US$1.6 billion in 2017. This indicates that the United States' medical tourism sector provides a net benefit to the country's GDP.

In conclusion, the United States plays a crucial role in the global medical tourism market, both as a leading destination for medical tourists and as the top-origin market for outbound medical tourism. As the sector continues to grow, the United States is well-positioned to continue benefiting from the economic opportunities presented by medical tourism.

See treatments published directly by medical institutions Medical Packages in the United States

Why the USA for Medical Tourism?

The U.S. healthcare system is renowned for its high-quality medical treatment and services, justifying the premium costs associated with its healthcare. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is committed to enhancing the quality of healthcare services by utilizing advanced tools, equipment, and research.

Following the identification of shortcomings in healthcare facilities by the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (NHQDR), the U.S. government has prioritized improvements in these areas. The rigorous education and training standards for doctors and nurses ensure that healthcare teams are highly skilled and competent.

The increasing number of hospitals and clinical setups in the U.S. has helped reduce waiting times for patients. Additionally, innovative strategies such as the Medicare Shared Savings Program and the Accountable Care Organisation (ACO) Model have been implemented. In these models, ACOs are tasked with managing both the quality of care and costs for Medicare beneficiaries, further enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the U.S. healthcare system.

World-Class Medical Facilities in the U.S.

The U.S. offers top-tier medical facilities equipped with the latest technology and equipment. If you're considering medical tourism in the U.S., here are some key facilities to be aware of:

Ambulatory Surgical Centers: These outpatient surgical facilities allow you to undergo surgical procedures outside a traditional hospital setting. They offer healthcare services at a lower cost compared to hospitals and nursing homes, and minimize your exposure to infection risks.

Blood Banks: The U.S. has numerous blood banks, providing a critical resource during emergencies when immediate blood transfusion is required. This is particularly beneficial for medical tourists who may not have relatives or friends in the U.S. to donate blood.

Imaging and Radiology Centers: These specialized centers focus on diagnostic imaging services, including ultrasounds, CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays. While hospitals and clinics offer these services, these dedicated centers often provide them at a lower cost.

Urgent Care Facilities: These facilities cater to patients requiring immediate medical attention but whose conditions are not severe enough for an emergency room. The teams at these facilities specialize in acute care and can handle a range of issues, from fractures and broken bones to viral illnesses and various tests.

Medical Devices & Equipment: The U.S. medical device industry is substantial, with a market size of $110 billion. Hospitals are equipped with advanced electro-medical devices such as pacemakers, MRI machines, patient-monitoring systems, and diagnostic imaging equipment. Other commonly used devices include X-Ray machines, blood transfusion devices, and catheters.

In summary, the U.S. provides a comprehensive range of world-class medical facilities and services, making it a preferred destination for medical tourists worldwide.

Diverse Healthcare Organizations in the U.S.

According to the AHA Annual Survey, the U.S. is home to approximately 6,093 hospitals. This extensive network of healthcare facilities is a significant advantage for international patients considering medical tourism in the U.S., as it provides access to medical services across the country. The types of hospitals include nongovernment not-for-profit community hospitals, investor-owned (for-profit) community hospitals, state and local government community hospitals, federal government hospitals, and non-federal psychiatric hospitals. This diversity ensures a wide range of healthcare options to suit the specific needs and preferences of each patient.

Hospital Accreditation System in the USA

Accreditation plays a critical role in assuring the quality of healthcare in the United States. It is a rigorous process that healthcare organizations voluntarily undergo to demonstrate their commitment to maintaining high standards of care and safety.

The Joint Commission International (JCI) is one of the most recognized and respected accreditation bodies in the world. It provides a framework for organizations to strive for excellence in delivering patient care. The JCI accreditation process involves a comprehensive evaluation of the organization's practices and procedures, ensuring they meet internationally recognized healthcare standards.

The accreditation mechanisms include:

Standards Compliance: Healthcare organizations must comply with a set of standards that cover various areas of patient care, including patient rights, patient safety, infection control, medication management, and the quality of care.

On-Site Surveys: Accreditation involves regular on-site surveys conducted by trained surveyors who assess the organization's compliance with the standards. These surveys provide an opportunity for the organization to demonstrate its commitment to quality and safety.

Continuous Improvement: Accreditation is not a one-time event but a continuous process of improvement. Healthcare organizations are expected to monitor their performance and make ongoing improvements to maintain their accreditation status.

Education and Training: The accreditation process also involves education and training for healthcare professionals to ensure they are up-to-date with the latest standards and best practices in patient care.

Patient Involvement: Accreditation also encourages patient involvement in their care. It promotes transparency and open communication between healthcare providers and patients, which is crucial for patient safety and satisfaction.

In the context of medical tourism, accreditation assures international patients that the healthcare organization they choose for their treatment meets international standards of care and safety. It provides a level of trust and confidence in the quality of care they will receive.

However, it's important to note that while accreditation is a strong indicator of quality, it does not guarantee the absence of medical errors or complications. Patients should always do their own research and ask questions about the healthcare organization's accreditation status, the qualifications of its healthcare professionals, and the quality of care they provide.

To help you prepare for medical treatment in the USA we put together a research guide for you Navigating U.S. Medical Tourism.

Top Medical Treatments in the USA for Foreigners

According to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), there are 40 medical specialties in the U.S., including Anesthesiology, Cardiology, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Gastroenterology, Hematology/Oncology, Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology (ENT), Pathology, Pediatrics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), Psychiatry, Radiology, Surgery, and Urology.

While the U.S. excels in many medical procedures, certain treatments stand out for their popularity among medical tourists. For instance, the U.S. is often noted for its innovative cancer treatments and complex heart surgeries. The U.S. is a preferred destination for a wide range of treatments, from routine procedures to highly specialized surgeries. The U.S. healthcare system handles a significant volume of procedures each year, contributing to the country's reputation as a leading destination for medical tourism.
The U.S. offers a wide range of medical procedures, many of which are popular among medical tourists. While specific statistics on the number of procedures performed are not readily available, the U.S.'s reputation as a leading destination for medical tourism speaks to the high volume and quality of procedures performed. As medical tourism continues to grow, the U.S. is likely to remain a top choice for patients seeking high-quality, specialized medical care.

Among the top sought after treatments are Stem cell treatment is one of the top sought-after treatments in the US, known for its cutting-edge research and innovative therapies. Additionally, the country offers medical treatment options for foreigners, including free cancer treatment programs, ensuring access to quality healthcare regardless of nationality. When it comes to cancer treatment, the US is home to renowned hospitals specializing in different types of cancer, such as pancreatic and prostate cancer. However, it's important to note that the cost of cancer treatment in the US can vary depending on factors such as the type and stage of cancer, treatment plan, and hospital choice. Other sought-after treatments in the US include LU 177 treatment, MND (Motor Neuron Disease) treatment, vitiligo treatment, retinitis pigmentosa treatment, and psoriasis treatment. While the cost of medical treatment in the US can be higher compared to other countries, the country offers advanced healthcare facilities and expertise, making it a preferred choice for many seeking specialized medical care.

How USA compares to other destinations? Read Top Medical Tourism Destinations Worldwide

Safety in the USA

The U.S. has adamant security attention. A well-trained military, a very well-serving police force, and intelligence units: The Central Investigation Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Still, tourists need to be cautious and be aware of their surroundings at all times as there’s still exists the risk of petty crimes.

USA Quick Facts

• Capital: Washington D.C.
• Population: About 331.9 million people 
• Major infectious diseases: Human Papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis (A, B, and C), Tuberculosis, and pneumonia.
• Degree of risk: Low
• Passport validity: your passport must have at least six months of validity before your intended stay. This though doesn't apply to all countries. Some states can be allowed a passport only valid for their stay.
• Mandatory Vaccinations: For up-to-date information on vaccination policies for visitors to the US, please refer to official sources.
• Currency restrictions for entry: although there is no limit for currency import or export in the USA, amounts equivalent to or exceeding $10,000 must be declared to the International Transport Currency and Monetary Instruments (FinCEN 105)
• Emergency Telephone Numbers: 911


Washington D.C.
Washington, D.C. is the capital city of the United States, located on the east coast. It is known for its political significance, iconic landmarks like the White House and U.S. Capitol, and vibrant cultural scene. The city has a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. Washington, D.C. attracts millions of visitors annually to explore its historical sites and experience the seat of American power.
New York
New York is a bustling city in the northeastern United States, renowned for its vibrant energy and iconic landmarks. It is the most populous city in the country, with a population of over 8 million people. Located on the east coast, New York is a global hub for finance, culture, and the arts. The city experiences a humid subtropical climate with hot summers and cold winters. New York City is home to famous attractions such as Times Square, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty, attracting millions of visitors from around the world each year.
Los Angeles
Los Angeles, often referred to as LA, is a vibrant city located on the west coast of the United States in the state of California. It is the largest city in California and the second-most populous city in the country, with a population of over 3.9 million people. Known for its sunny weather and beautiful beaches, Los Angeles offers a diverse cultural scene, a thriving entertainment industry, and a rich history. The city is home to famous landmarks such as Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and the iconic Hollywood Sign. With its pleasant Mediterranean climate, Los Angeles enjoys mild winters and warm summers, making it a popular destination for residents and tourists alike.
Chicago is a dynamic city located in the Midwest region of the United States. It is the third-most populous city in the country, with a population of over 2.7 million people. Situated on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago is known for its stunning skyline, diverse architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. The city is a hub for finance, commerce, technology, and the arts, making it a major economic and cultural center. Chicago is famous for its deep-dish pizza, jazz music, and iconic landmarks such as Millennium Park and Navy Pier. With its four distinct seasons, Chicago experiences hot summers and cold winters, offering a diverse range of activities and attractions throughout the year.


Weather Description

The weather in the United States varies greatly due to its large size and diverse geographical features. In general, the United States experiences a wide range of climates, including tropical, desert, Mediterranean, temperate, and subarctic. On the East Coast, the northeastern states typically have hot summers and cold winters, with snowfall common in many areas. The mid-Atlantic states have milder winters and warmer summers, while the southeastern states experience hot and humid weather throughout much of the year. Moving westward, the central states of the United States, known as the Midwest, have a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. Tornadoes are most common in this region during the spring and early summer. The western part of the United States is known for its diverse weather patterns. The Pacific Northwest has a mild climate with abundant rainfall, while California experiences a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The southwestern states, such as Arizona and Nevada, have arid or desert climates with extremely hot temperatures during the summer. In the Rocky Mountain region, including states like Colorado and Montana, the climate varies depending on elevation. Higher elevations have cooler temperatures and more precipitation, while lower elevations experience milder winters and hotter summers. Moving further north, the northern states and Alaska have a subarctic or Arctic climate, characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers. Alaska, in particular, experiences extreme temperature variations, with very cold winters and mild summers. Hawaii, located in the Pacific Ocean, has a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round and a wet and dry season. It's important to note that weather patterns can vary within each region and are influenced by factors such as ocean currents, elevation, and geographical features. It is always advisable to check the local weather forecast for specific locations within the United States when planning travel or activities.

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