Metaverse is an effective technology shaping different sectors, and medical tourism is one of these sectors. Medical tourism is the practice of traveling to another country to receive medical treatment. This practice is often selected due to lower costs, shorter wait times, and access to specialized care not available locally. Experts now consider the integration of metaverse technology with the practice.

According to Omnia Health’s analysis, the medical tourism industry, valued at $54.4 billion in 2020, will grow to over $200 billion by 2027. This situation will be a significant transformation through the integration of metaverse technology. The industry faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic with restrictions on travel. This has catalyzed the adoption of digital solutions such as telemedicine and virtual reality (VR) to bridge geographic gaps and enhance patient care.

The metaverse allows users to interact in real-time environments via avatars. This emerging technology is seen as a potential game-changer for medical tourism; it offers immersive pre-operative insights and virtual consultations, thereby fostering trust and decision-making among prospective patients.

metaverse in medical tourism

Metaverse’s advantages for medical tourism

Prospective patients can virtually explore hospitals, accommodation, and local attractions. With this exploration, they can make informed decisions about their medical journeys. Also, metaverse can allow patients to establish early contact with healthcare providers, discuss treatment options, and set expectations for recovery. In addition to these, metaverse can be combined with VR for mental health support; VR can host support groups and counseling sessions, aiding patients in managing pre-surgery anxiety and post-surgery recovery. Moreover, post-operative care and rehabilitation can continue through VR. This circumstance enables patients to adhere to treatment plans from their homes, reducing the need for frequent travel for follow-up visits.

Can metaverse-based health facilities be developed?

Last October, the UAE-based Thumbay Group introduced the region’s first Metaverse Hospital. Visitors can virtually tour the facility via their avatars and consult with doctors. Also, they can explore treatment spaces digitally and make payments with cryptocurrencies. This initiative aims to reduce wait times and overcome geographical limitations, making medical care more accessible.

At Arab Health 2022, the UAE Ministry of Health and Community Protection unveiled a metaverse-based customer service center. This center highlights the sector’s move towards immersive digital customer care solutions.

The full impact of the metaverse on medical tourism is still being assessed. Its integration of real-world and virtual care shows promising prospects for future healthcare and patient engagement.