Recognized worldwide for providing quality medical education, what’s shocking about Russia is that the country has failed to build its own healthcare industry. And this is evident from the massively growing rate of Russian outbound medical tourism rate. Did you know that approximately 50,000 Russians medical travel annually? And that the most popular countries among Russians medical tourists are Germany, where almost 29 percent of the Russian patients travel for medical treatments every year, followed by Israel with 22 percent, Spain and China with 6 percent, South Korea 4 percent, India 4 percent and Thailand 2 percent.
Unlike UK and US medical tourists who seek treatments abroad primarily to save money as cost of treatment are fairly low in Asian countries than back home; you’ll be amazed to learn about the factors that are making Russian patients seek better medical care abroad. And let us tell you that there is more than just cost savings. Continue reading to learn about Russian patients’ motivation to cross borders.
Factor # 1—Hospitals and Medical Centers Poorly Equipped and Staffed
Despite the fact that Russia leads the medical education industry and is also producing highly qualified Russian doctors at the same time, the truth of the matter is that their numbers are inadequate. And this has unfortunately left medical centers and hospitals in the country poorly equipped and understaffed. The healthcare infrastructure is disappointing, making it one of the top reasons for Russians to seek healthcare and treatments overseas.
According to a recent survey conducted on Medical Tourism from Russia, 50% of Russians said that they travel overseas for higher quality of healthcare treatment and services, which are unavailable in their country, because the hospitals are either not properly equipped, don’t have proper infrastructure or are poorly staffed.
Factor # 2— Bureaucratic Hurdles and Government Rule
If you compare the Indian healthcare sector with Russia, you’ll be shocked to see the progress of the two over the span of 5 years. The healthcare sector of India stood at US $78.6 billion in the year 2012; however, it is expected to hit the mark of approximately US $158.2 billion in next year. In comparison, the healthcare industry of Russia for the same period still stands at US $86 billion.
If we got you wondering as to why we compared India with Russia, the reason is that the India’s healthcare system has evolved as a big segment because of the dynamic private-sector involvement, whereas the big reason why Russia is still struggling in healthcare is that it continues to be dominated by the government. The Russian healthcare industry has been under the government control for more than 100 years now. In fact, over 60 percent of the healthcare industry of Russian is dominated by the government and only a small chunk is headed by the private sector.
Bureaucratic obstacles abound the country’s healthcare system, resulting in problems like misdiagnosis, medical errors, and delayed diagnosis.
Factor # 3— Long Queues and Non-Responsive to Treatments
Long waiting lines to receive medical treatments in Russia has made many groups from middle and high income segment to medical travel. In Russia, long queues of patients wait to receive prescribed treatments. And what’s worse is that many patients, including elderly and children, are most often denied medical services as they are considered non-responsive to medical treatments. Therefore, they prefer to go outside Russia because patients of all ages get medical assistance in most cases.
Factor # 4— Not All Healthcare Treatments are Available in Russia
Another reason why outbound medical tourism in Russia is growing rapidly is that not all healthcare treatments are available in the country. Such as cyber-knife robotic radiosurgery, a popular non invasive medical treatment to treat tumors is not readily available in Russia. Besides this, other treatments like neurosurgery, orthopedic surgeries for children, and cancer treatments are not available in the country.