Medical tourism is an increasingly popular phenomenon around the world. Countries such as Canada and Japan have particularly strong medical tourism relationships as they are two of the leading medical tourism destinations. The two countries have seen an increased number of people from Japan travelling to Canada for procedures that are not necessarily available or easily accessible in their own country. This article looks at the Canadian and Japanese medical tourism relationship and how the two countries can collaborate to improve it.
The unique medical system in Canada provides a variety of medical services that appeal to Japanese nationals. The comprehensive healthcare system offers universal access to a variety of services that Japanese people may not have access to in their own country, such as up-to-date medical technology and equipment. Furthermore, a number of Canadian hospitals are home to world-leading experts and specialists in a variety of medical fields, from cancer treatments to plastic surgery. In addition, Canada is a safe and politically stable environment and this can be seen in its welcoming attitude towards foreign visitors seeking medical care. This ensures that Japanese patients feel secure and relaxed during their visit.
In terms of Japanese nationals travelling to Canada for medical procedures, a growing number of people are doing so to receive medical treatment for a variety of ailments and diseases. According to Statistics Canada, in 2019 more than 9,000 Japanese nationals visited Canada for medical treatment, representing a 5.5 percent increase from the previous year. Furthermore, it is estimated that the majority of this number were individuals seeking out a highly specialized procedure, such as organ transplants, cancer treatments, or plastic/cosmetic surgery.
The average cost of medical treatments and services in Canada is significantly higher than in Japan, however, Japanese patients are willing to pay more for the quality of the health care and access to leading experts in their field. According to a survey conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, approximately 80 percent of visiting Japanese nationals stated that the quality of care they received was worth the higher costs associated with their treatment.
Despite the current success of the medical tourism relationship between Canada and Japan, there is much room for growth and improvement. In order to capitalize on the growing success of medical tourism more collaboration between the two countries is needed. For example, the Canadian government could work with Japanese airlines to offer direct international flights to simplify the medical tourism process for Japanese patients. In addition, Japanese insurance companies could create specialized health insurance policies explicitly designed for medical tourism to Canada, which would help to reduce the overall cost of the procedures.
Finally, greater educational and cultural understanding of the two countries is necessary to ensure that Japanese patients receive the best possible care while in Canada. Hospitals should develop comprehensive orientation and training courses that allow Japanese medical tourists to better understand Canadian culture, regulations, and laws. This could include resources such as language classes or cultural lectures to help Japanese visitors feel less isolated during their treatment.
Overall, the medical tourism relationship between Canada and Japan is thriving and is only set to expand further in the future. However, there is much room for improvement, particularly in terms of collaboration and better understanding of each other’s culture and healthcare system. By focusing on these areas, the two countries can ensure that future medical tourists are provided with the care and resources necessary to ensure a safe and successful trip.