The Globalization of Health Care

The Globalization of Health Care



The Globalization of Health Care

Factors Responsible For Globalization of Healthcare

Globally, healthcare systems are caught up in a crisis to meet the demands of the public. At the core of these problems is the widespread scarcity of healthcare professionals. These shortages are created by a simple function of demand outstripping the supply of these professionals (Reading, 2010). The global health sector has responded by offering greater incentive to attract more professionals to different parts of the world where their services are required (Hill, 2013). The developed world has regularly used this approach to attract qualified health professionals from third world countries. This has contributed to a mass migration of health workers leading to a subsequent scarcity in less developed countries. The advancement of technology has also allowed for the free and rapid transfer of healthcare skills, professionals and equipment to different parts of the world (Reading, 2010). Communication has made it possible for different healthcare establishments to set up new premises and overcome coordination and administration practices. The advancement in communication has also opened up the flow of information on healthcare management practices, new medical discoveries and other important information that has revolutionized the quality of services offered by healthcare professionals (Hill, 2013). Communication and transport changes have allowed the spread of first-class hospitals to far-flung locations such as Asia and Africa where complex treatments are available. Conversely, this advancement in transport and communication has also facilitated the quick spread of diseases into new territories where they evolve and mutate into foreign variations (Hill, 2013). This increased spread of diseases also promotes the globalization of healthcare as these newer strains and mutations are made known to the rest of the world (Reading, 2010). In conclusion, globalization has helped the world by facilitating the spread of medical skills and equipment to everyone and ensuring they can access proper health.

Beneficiaries and Losers in the Globalization of Healthcare

            On first glance, most analysts and stakeholders assume that the larger implications of globalization have been positive and beneficial. Investors in the transport and communication sector are some of the biggest beneficiaries of healthcare globalization. Most healthcare establishments have installed advanced communication systems in their offices, wards, operating theaters and other areas. These communication measures serve to further the goal of the establishment of offering fast and quality healthcare services (Hill, 2013). Moreover, developments in transport systems have allowed healthcare institutions to undertake complex medical procedures such as organ transplants with ease (Reading, 2010). Hospitals can deliver critical patients to advanced facilities using helicopters and in the process, save lives. Economically, poor citizens of a country stand to benefit from the globalization of healthcare. This is because most of them are unable to afford the high cost of healthcare. With the effects of globalization, most of them can access the basic healthcare services with the help of government support through subsidization. In some developed countries, underprivileged citizens are even offered free healthcare (Reading, 2010). While these benefits are numerous, several parties stand to lose from the globalization in the healthcare sector. The strain of healthcare globalization is felt by the medical professionals, institutions and citizens that have embraced globalization fully. In such countries, the liberalization is often accompanied by a strain on the physical, financial and human resources (Hill, 2013). Hospitals and clinics are crowded with ailing locals and immigrants seeking to get subsidized treatment. The national budget for health is constantly overstretched while the healthcare professionals are overworked and underpaid. This is the true cost of globalizing the health care. Ultimately, the state is the biggest loser in this change of trend as it is left to deal with emerging union resistance, drops in quality provision of healthcare and an influx of immigrants seeking greener pastures on their territory.

Risks Associated With Globalization of Healthcare

            While globalization of healthcare has been painted as a beneficial phenomenon, several risks are present that have negative consequences on the sector. The rising internationalization of health risks is one such concern. The consequences of this phenomenon are manifested at the population levels where plagues and infections attack a whole society, or at the economic level where total health systems degenerate and collapse under the pressure of increased dependence. Globalization in healthcare has also led to the adverse changes in the lifestyles of people in third world countries (Hill, 2013). The advancement of communication has contributed to the spread of health awareness messages and information on unhealthy habits such as smoking, consuming junk food and alcoholism. With a more informed market, most of these companies have relocated to third world countries where communication flow and other features of globalization have not been realized fully (Reading, 2010).

            These and other risks can be mitigated by adopting high standards in the delivery of healthcare services. The government should step in and reorganize the health sector to ensure that it is provided with the necessary human and financial resources to deal with the rising demand. Immigration policies should also be reviewed to incorporate a proper approach towards foreigner that are attracted to the favorable health benefits in a particular state. These two policy approaches can be effective in regulating the health sector if adopted and implemented to the latter. There are possibilities of bureaucracy when handling foreigners that have been relocated to work in different parts of the world (Hill, 2013). The difference in cultures and languages may present a risk to the effectiveness of healthcare provision. However, the universality of the English language has reduced most of the issues concerning communication.

Opinion on Globalization of Healthcare

            Overall, globalization within the healthcare sector can be said to be a good thing. Reviewing the research done by different scholars, it is evident that it has changed the way in which health stakeholders administer services and run their institutions. In the health sector, the preservation of human life is the main objective. However, to do so, the sector requires time, money and human resources among other things. Globalization has managed to avail these fundamental requirements and in the process, assisted in the efforts to cure and eradicate most diseases in the world. A large percentage of the global population are underprivileged and cannot access the basic healthcare services such as insurance and dental check ups. Globalization in the healthcare sector has managed to make affordable medical service a reality. For this and other benefits, I strongly agree that globalization is a good thing to have occurred in the world. However, while supporting it, care should be taken to mitigate the harmful effects of globalization. The political consequences of globalization involve opening up the borders to states and continents (Hill, 2013). This can allow the invasion of foreign diseases and conditions that can threaten the lives of all the citizens of a country and in the process reverse the gains made by globalization.


Hill, C. W. L. (2013). International business: Competing in the global marketplace. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Reading, J. P. (2010). Who’s Responsible for This? The Globalization of Healthcare in Developing Countries. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 17, 2, 367-387.

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