Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand has offered services to international patients, starting long before the concept of medical tourism became globally popular. It is seen to be with or ahead of the global treatment trends.
The latest target market for the hospital is LGBTQ individuals and their families, particularly from the USA. This segment is one that many top medical tourism destinations have avoided, due to cultural and legal problems.
The hospital and Thailand in generally one of the most LGBT-friendly destinations in the world. Bangkok is a hugely popular travel destination for LGBT travellers. The city is an extremely tolerant society where gay, lesbian, and transsexual lifestyles are largely accepted as a natural way of life, and the capital is the centre of gay culture in Thailand.
According to Bumrungrad International; “LGBT patients continue to face stigma and discrimination, while social acceptance is improving. This stigma and discrimination can result in negative experiences that combine with lack of access to many destinations. LGBT patients are often seeking a welcoming environment and professionals who are well informed about LGBT health topics. Taking an open, non-judgmental sexual and social history is key to building trust with LGBT patients. Rather than making assumptions about patients based on appearance or sexual behaviour, clinicians should ask open-ended questions, and use the terms and pronouns patients use to describe themselves. As with all patients. to effectively serve LGBT patients, medical staff must understand the cultural context of their patients’ lives, modify practice policies and environments to be inclusive, take detailed and non-judgmental histories, stay informed and educated about the health issues most important to their patients, and reflect upon personal attitudes that might prevent them from providing the kind of affirmative care that LGBT people need.”
Laura Carabello adds, “To attract this growing market sector, in addition to fostering a welcoming environment and improving education on LGBT-specific health concerns, all medical staff members should be trained to interact respectfully with LGBT patients. Health care settings should develop and prominently display non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”