Dental Tribune Europe

Medical tourism: 65 per cent of dental patients would do it again

By Dental Tribune International
March 26, 2012

LONDON, UK: A UK online adviser for medical treatment has investigated the latest trends in overseas travel for dental treatment. The company conducted a survey that revealed new insights into the travel destination, kind of treatment and patients’ satisfaction with procedures and services abroad. The study is the largest of its kind in Europe.

According to the medical advice websiteTreatment Abroad, little research has been conducted on patients’ experiences and satisfaction with the treatment and services in other countries. Thus, the website recently conducted an online survey of 1,045 respondents, of whom 55 per cent were UK citizens.

The survey revealed that patients had travelled to other countries mainly for cosmetic surgery (34 per cent) and dental treatment (30 per cent), followed by orthopaedic surgery (7 per cent), obesity surgery (7 per cent) and infertility treatment (6 per cent). A smaller number of patients had travelled for eye surgery or cancer therapy, among others.

More women had travelled abroad for treatment than men. The survey showed that overall 63 per cent of the patients were female, while only 37 per cent were male. For dental treatment only, the split was 52 per cent to 48 per cent.

The majority of those who had travelled abroad for treatment were 40 to 49 years old (25 per cent) and the second largest age group was 50 to 59 (22 per cent). The survey showed that 64 per cent of the dental patients were over the age of 50.

Hungary was the most popular destination for dental treatment (32 per cent), followed by Poland (14 per cent) and Turkey (11 per cent). Dentistry treatment involved mostly dental implants (42 per cent), crowns (20 per cent) and dental bridges (11 per cent), but a number of patients had also travelled for root-canal treatment (5.2 per cent) and veneers (4.3 per cent).

The survey found that the dental patients had made the most trips because treatment involved several sessions. Of all respondents treated for dental problems, almost 32 per cent made one trip, another 32 per cent made two trips, about 19 per cent made three trips and 17 per cent made four or more trips. The respondents stayed for an average of 15 days.

For most respondents, cost was the deciding factor for travelling abroad for treatment. The majority of the patients treated for dental problems (94.5 per cent) reported that it was very or quite important to them to save on their treatment costs. Approximately 20 per cent spent less than £1,000 (€1,200) and another 20 per cent spent between £1,000 and £2,000. About three-quarters of the respondents had to pay for any aftercare and follow-up treatment in their own country, and for the cost of tests and investigations done in their own country before travelling.

The level of satisfaction with treatment was generally high in the survey. Eighty-eight per cent of the respondents who had undergone dental treatment abroad stated that they were very or quite satisfied with their experience. Almost 65 per cent had no reservations about repeating the trip.

The reasons for the patients’ satisfaction included the quality of work, good results, facilities, aftercare, low price, and professionalism of the staff, among others. However, patients complained, for example, about unnecessary treatment and that corrective treatment was sometimes needed because complex treatments that would have involved several visits were completed in fewer sessions.

The researchers were surprised to find that 51 per cent of the respondents had travelled for treatment to a country they had never been to before and that less than one in ten respondents had special travel insurance for medical treatment in another country. About 32 per cent did not have any travel insurance.

Treatment Abroad is a web portal on medical tourism services for people seeking information about surgery, dentistry and infertility treatment abroad. The site is run by Intuition Communication, a web publisher in the health-care sector.

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