Is It Really About Sun, Sand, and Stitches? Planning for Research on Jamaica's Developing Medical Tourism Industry

By dr. Meghann Ormond - Medical tourism (MT) occurs when patients leave their home countries to intentionally access non-emergency medical care abroad. A number of criticisms exist regarding MT, including that it threatens patients' safety, continuity of care, and abilities to give informed consent.

A study led by the Medical Tourism Research Group at Simon Frasier University (Canada), funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health.

This Planning Grant proposes activities in Jamaica to lay the foundation for an Operating Grant. We focus on Jamaica because it is actively pursuing MT development. The Operating Grant will explore if and how MT stakeholders in specific countries in the Caribbean region assess the transferability of policy and planning initiatives from other countries prior to acting on them. Assessing transferability is important with trade policies that have direct ties to population health, as is the case with MT. Working with Jamaican collaborators from various sectors, we will undertake onsite research development activities in Oct/12 that will include holding meetings with MT stakeholders and touring public and private health care facilities. In undertaking these activities we will create a network of collaborators and knowledge end users to enable an integrated knowledge translation approach to the Operating Grant being developed. MT development in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean holds important implications for Canada. Canadian patients are traveling to the Caribbean for private medical care, Canadian companies are investing in the MT sector in the region, and Canada is a signatory to global declarations that work to ensure health globally. Our proposed activities are also consistent with CIHR's global health goals. This Planning Grant is premised on the exchange of knowledge and ideas across sectors through engagement with MT stakeholders, including our collaborators, in Jamaica. In addition to developing an Operating Grant, we will write an article for Globalization & Health and prepare a short report. These outputs will be circulated widely through our own and our collaborators' networks.

Research group:
dr. Meghann Ormond

dr. Valorie Crooks, Simon Frasier University, BC, Canada

mr. Rory Johnston, Simon Frasier University, BC, Canada

dr. Jeremy Snyder, Simon Frasier University, BC, Canada