Health Tourism - Iran's Growing Place

Health tourism vs. Medical Tourism

Health tourism is generally characterized as standardized travel outside one’s local environment for being kept in good condition, improvement, or healing of an individual’s wellbeing in mind and body.

Medical tourism is regarded as more organized travel outside one’s natural health care purview. General categories of procedures that medical travelers seek during healthcare trips are orthopedics and trauma surgery, aesthetics and cosmetic surgery, cardiology or cardiac surgery, bariatric surgery, dentistry, cancer treatment and aftercare.

According to international statistics over 7 million global citizens overpass borders annually to appreciate the prosperities and advantages of health tourism. So the health tourism, which also includes medical tourism as a part of it, is like an entry for medical tourists to receive economical and cheaper healthcare without trading off the quality.


Advantages of Medical and Health Tourism

There are 5 major factors that induce people to go abroad for health and medical care.

  1. The first and major reason is possibly affordability. Some countries like the U.S, England, Australia and some European countries where insurance does not cover all expenses are more likely to travel abroad for such cares. It also refers to cost-effectiveness of healthcare services in the target country.

  2. The second one is availability. Imagine a person is living in such a country where aesthetic surgery is not available or not trusted at all! Availability of high quality services in distinct ways in target countries attract people from all around the world.
  3. The third is accessibility. In some countries the waiting list to take in those services takes time or one might not find any, therefore Immediate access is valued by many people for which a country is accredited through many queries.
  4. Acceptability has the fourth place. In some cases, the fore mentioned services are not acceptable in one’s own country.
  5. Contribution to better services is the last of five major factors.  Patients may seek for exclusive attention and care during recovering wherein the target country is solely capable of offering such comfort.

In the past, medical tourism usually referred to those who traveled from less-developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for treatments inaccessible at home. Though, in recent years it refers to those from developed countries who travel to developing countries for economical medical treatments. The motive may be also for medical services unavailable or non-licensed in the home country. Overtime MT has been presumed as a trip for surgeries but time has changed the notion and one may travel for dentistry or fertility or etc.

Medical Tourism Becomes an Ideal Way

Since medical tourism gives patients time yet hope for having their services done in the most ideal way, it has become an appropriate context for those surgeries which are understood in target countries better and most. Gender reassignment surgery, for instance, is not accepted yet not appreciated in countries with religious base or cosmetic surgeries might not be acceptable in traditional areas as well. Accordingly, health tourism has started the right journey, however the steps are required to be taken wisely to turn into the most wanted target place in all aspects.

Target Destinations Should Match with International Standards

Before travelling or booking, being sure that your treatment is secure and protected is expected by a reliable provider. Organizations such as JCI (Joint Commission International), ISQua (The International Society for Quality in Health Care) and Temos (Trust, effective medicine, optimized services) are principally relevant to people considering treatment abroad, as these accrediting frames evaluate clinics and hospitals to a set of international standards.

Other considerations would be:

  • choosing a clinic, based on its location
  • Extending the stay in case of any rare circumstances
  • English speaking countries vs. non-English ones which the former imposes more costs
  • Being able to claim back the cost of the procedure from International Health Service

Iran’s Place in Health and Medical System

Among countries which offer acceptable yet affordable services with new methodology, Iran’s health system has been working on this demanding thus pleasing adventure over the past few decades purposefully. Being located in the middle east has effected on choosing as the final destination for those patients who seek to receive the best services in a temperate climate. Hospitable people is definitely the next reason to choose Iran to get medical treatments. Due to the sanctions which are imposed on Iran, Iranian Rial has lost countless value so it offers significantly lower cost treatments and after care services. Despite all the sanctions, Iran is consistently updating the medical enlightenment and principles that is purely perfect alongside 5-star hotels with top-notch facilities. In addition to all of the above, Iran is one of the must-see tourist destinations where patients can bind their medical trip with the vacation plans with an economical budget. English speaking staff and assistants are also very interesting for English speakers and last but not the least is the highly qualified surgeons and technologically advanced and highly equipped hospitals which affect the final determination undoubtedly. All in all, one can say that this country is in accordance with the five major factors mentioned above.

Medical treatments in Iran include Neurology, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Urology, Cardiology, Physiatrists, Dentistry and IVF and women fertility. On the other hand, cosmetic treatments are Dermatology, Hair transplant, Hair loss treatments and Cosmetic plastic surgery.

Almost all medical and health tourism centers a patient has planned to be hospitalized will be having the stages as follows:

  1. A quote by the patient with which the medical and personal information is clarified.
  2. Offering valid travel documents by the patient
  3.  Preparing travel documents by the Iranian health center
  4. Welcome stages at the airport and accommodating process
  5. Pre-operation consultation and check-ups
  6. Full instruction for the operation day given by the center
  7. After surgery care and nursing
  8. Post-operation visits to the surgeon/doctor and care if needed
  9. evaluate patient’s full recovery and provide him with all medical examinations, records, and instructions related, in case he needs a medical history report back home
  10. Escorting to the airport
  11. Being in contact with the patient to follow up proper and successful recovery.


To sum it up, given the above advantages, a bright future is foreseen for the Iranian health tourism segment.