Article reviwe — Health Tourism and Its Impact on Economy Essay Example

Referee Report on: Sharma, A, Rao, P.S & Pathi, S 2015, ‘Health Tourism and Its Impact on Economy’, IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, vol. 20, no. 3, pp.89-92.


Sharma et al. (2015) article places emphasise on the health tourism emergence as well as the challenges that health tourists face in developing countries, particularly India. With information globalisation and consumer empowerment, the authors posit that medical tourism involves persons serving as consumers deciding on the health needs, working out ways of being treated effectively, and searching for the most suitable provider. Medical tourism is not only concerned about the holiday trips as well as inexpensive procedures, but also the quality of technology and doctors, and care models pursed by countries creating this types of health tourism.


Medical tourism, according to the authors, was initially coined by the mass media and travel agencies with the aim of demonstrating the travelling practice that was growing rapidly across the globe to get health care. In this study, seek to meet three objectives; toexamine the different challenges that medical tourists face; to examine the health tourism industries’ economic support; and, to study opportunities availability to the medical tourists.

The authors espoused descriptive and secondary research, as the main method of gathering data. The information was gathered from different sources like; journals, news papers, published books, projects, unpublished thesis, web sites, and many others.

The authors observed that positioning tourism was the main driver of economic growth and sustainably harnessing its different and direct impacts on eradicating poverty and employment. Medical tourism, according to the article, is one of India’s largest generators of employment and has played important role in reducing poverty.

The authors point out that more medical tourist could be attracted to India by espousing suitable steps such as improving infrastructures. They further suggest that the Indian government should carry out capacity building programs with the aim of training service providers’ nonmedical as well as medical staff for cross-cultural sensitivities. Creative ideas such as providing a total package that comprises of tourism packages and medical services are the main success areas.

Making Indian health tourist centres more attractive, sufficient financial support and should be made available. According to the authors, there are many reasons why India attracts has been attracting medical tourists; government support and improved infrastructure facilities; no language-related barriers, personalised packages for medical tourists; foreign direct investment; quality services; and pocket-friendly prices.

Major concerns:

  1. The major concern of this study is that it lacks scientific soundness since the provided data have not been gathered empirically. In addition, the article does not have scientific statements, which are derived from and subject to the authors’ observations and experience. Clearly, lack of empirical data and overreliance on secondary research put the study results’ reliability under debate. An empirical study could have enabled to identify easily identify challenges associated with medical tourism; however, they largely neglected this aspect and could not highlight the relationship between different challenges, and the related causality. Lack of empirical evidence leave the study with inadequate contextual data that could enable the readers clearly understands the medical tourism phenomenon. Furthermore, the study has not highlighted the statistical associations between various variables. Therefore, it is challenging to determine the incidence or prevalence of foreign tourist and economic support, status of health tourists, and expenditure. The authors have not explained who, where, and what of medical tourism, since they did not use experimental approach to their study.
  2. The authors relied on secondary research method to gather information; in this sense, the authors gained vast amount of information from the secondary data sources, but the quantity is not one and the same as appropriateness. Most of the utilised studies, were utilised to answer different research objectives; therefore, the inappropriateness is attributed to the fact that most of the data were gathered different years. Some of the secondary data sources are outdated (such as Goodrich (1994); therefore they are unreliable since the information offered could be incomplete and irrelevant.
  3. Given that this research has generated further research ( health tourist centres financial stable),
    finding sustainable ways of makingthe conclusions drawn from this research lack clarity, which is crucial to eschew misguided arguments. The authors have not drawn valid conclusions since they their evidence was not gathered carefully even though their judgments do not withstand scrutiny. The authors have presented their conclusions in a way that cannot be reviewed by the readers and they are not convincing according to the evidence they have presented in their paper. For instance, they conclude that sustainable development through government support is very crucial for medical tourism, but fail to take into account other projects that could be affected when government give more support to one industry.
  4. The authors have continually emphasised the need for government support, but overlook the need for building an informational system related to quality and safety and also medical procedures effectiveness. As mentioned byOlkiewicz (2016), implementing coordinated health policies of health can help determine the development of a strong and separate sector of the country’s economy. However, this has not been demonstrated in theSharma et al. (2015) study, they focused more on reason for attracting medical tourists instead of how to overcome challenges associated with medical tourism.

Minor comments:

  1. The authors did not use graphics and figures to their advantage; for instance, although they have utilised three tables, they cannot be understood easily at a quick glance. The reader can only understand the tables after carefully reviewing the manuscript.
  2. The authors have not summarised their findings as evidenced in Tang (2015), where they established that medical tourism and economic growth are cointegrated. The article does not demonstrate any relationship between economic growth and medical tourism; instead, it focuses on the challenges of health tourism.


In sum, Sharma et al. (2015) paper offer a great insight regarding the various challenges that medical tourists face in India, the country’s economic support of health tourism industries, and opportunities availability for medical tourists. Even though the study lacks scientific rigor due to lack of empirical evidence, it deserves credit since it demonstrate how challenges associated with health tourist can be handled effectively.

Other References:

Olkiewicz, M 2016, ‘The impact of medical tourism on the quality of organizational and functional changes in the Polish healthcare system’, UTMS Journal of Economics, vol. 7, no. 1, pp.109–21.

Tang, C.F 2015, Medical Tourism and Its Implication on Malaysia’s Economic Growth, MPRA Paper, Chor Foon Tang: Penang, Malaysia Centre for Policy Research and International Studies.