Document Type : Review Article
Department of Hematology, Faculty of Medicine, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey
Department of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey
Medical tourism emerged when people were challenged with high costs and slow service in medical care. As a consequence of these issues, people started to look for medical treatment in other countries. Globalization accelerated the growth of medical tourism. Several “push” and “pull” factors play roles in the motivation of patients to become a medical tourist. This review addresses the different aspects of medical tourism in general, describes the development of medical tourism in Turkey, and describes experiences with medical tourism in the Bone Marrow Transplantation Center (BMTC) at Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey. Since January 2016, an international collaboration has existed between BMTC and the King Hamed University Hospital (KHUH) in Bahrain. Ten allogeneic stem cell transplantations (SCTs) have been performed on patients from Bahrain with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), Hodgkin lymphoma, and myelofibrosis. Furthermore, ten autologous SCT have been conducted on patients from Bahrain with multiple myeloma (MM), Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). In 2016, transplant-related mortality (TRM) at 100 days among Bahrain patients was 0% compared to 2.6% in all patients. Although these numbers are small, the first results show that the outcomes of international patients are similar to those of non-international patients. In our experience, the key to a successful collaboration between international hospitals is having close communication regarding the treatment of the international patient. The outcome of a large group of international compared with non-international patients should be further studied.