Public policy measures often result in some kind of unexpected or unforeseen consequence, and it is just as likely for the unintended consequence to be a positive one as it is to be a negative one. When the Australian government took steps to ensure its citizens had access to exceptional health and medical care, it could not have possibly imagined that the strength of its health care system would result in the country becoming a destination for medical tourism. Dymphna Boholt was quick to note that the economic impact extends beyond the medical industry and could potentially benefit a wide range of industries within the Australian economy.
With the rising demand for excellent medical care — combined with limited access to such a level of care in their own countries — medical tourism is becoming increasingly popular. Much of this demand is currently coming from China, and citizens with the means to do so are looking into the ways in which they can receive the high standard of medical care they are seeking. According to Boholt, entrepreneurs in Australia have taken notice of this rising demand and are quickly creating businesses designed to fill a rapidly growing need within the marketplace.
Despite the relatively recent rise in this demand, there are already businesses in place that seek to help potential medical tourists find specific medical care in Australia. One business has created an online video consultation tool in which Chinese citizens can speak to a doctor based out of Australia regarding the potential treatment options that might be available. Given Australia’s expertise in the treatment of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases along with cancer, diabetes and many others, the potential economic impact of medical tourism could be massive.