Nearly a third of people surveyed around the world say they are open to the idea of medical tourism - traveling abroad to enjoy cheaper medical or dental treatment, according to a new Ipsos poll of 18,731 adults in 24 countries.
Indeed, 18 percent said they would definitely consider it. "The concept of medical tourism is well accepted in many countries," said Nicolas Boyon, senior vice president of Ipsos Public Affairs.
"With the exception of Japan there are at least one third of consumers in every country we covered that are open to the idea," he said in an interview.
Whether for economic reasons or perceptions of superior treatment elsewhere, for treatments ranging from cosmetic to life-saving surgeries, Indians, Indonesians, Russians, Mexicans and Poles were the most open to the idea of being medically mobile.
Thirty-one percent or more people in each of those countries said they would definitely consider traveling for a medical or dental treatment.
Conversely, people in Japan, South Korea, Spain and Sweden were least likely to be medical tourists.
Boyon said it was not surprising that men and women from emerging nations would be medically mobile if the treatments were cheaper.
"This probably reflects perceptions of medical care in other countries that is superior to what is available at home," he said.
But he was intrigued by the percentage of people in developed nations such as Italy, where 66 percent said they would definitely or probably consider medical tourism, along with Germany (48 percent), Canada (41 percent) and the United States, where 38 percent of people were open to the idea.
"It is a reflection that the medical profession is no longer protected from globalization," Boyon said.