In this line of research, I look at how the medical and long-term care needs of different transnationally-mobile populations (e.g., economic migrants, retirement migrants and so-called 'medical tourists') are being supported and met in an era of intensified global mobility.
My work examines the key trends challenging conventional nationally-containerised thinking about sources, directions, subjects and relations of care by paying attention to transnational configurations of formal (i.e., state, private and voluntary) and informal (i.e., family and community) care provision.
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Media coverage and reviews
Most recent publications
Here's what I've been publishing in this research area...
Ormond, M. (2020) ‘International medical travel, or medical tourism’, in A. Kobayashi (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, 2nd Edition, London: Elsevier, 373-377.
Each year, millions of people around the world, disenfranchised by the restrictive national laws and unresponsive health systems in their countries of residence, circumvent these barriers by travelling to countries where their desired medical treatment is more accessible to them. These patients’ international medical travels (IMT), sometimes referred to as “medical tourism,” have drawn popular, political, commercial and scholarly attention, first, to the diverse global patchwork of healthcare ideologies and practices; second, to the national containerization of health care; and, third, to the consequences of IMT in traveling patients’ source, transit and receiving countries.
Ormond, M. and Lunt, N. (2019) 'Transnational medical travel: Patient mobility, shifting health system entitlements and attachments', Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. [Open access]
Transnational medical travel – the temporary movement by patients across national borders in order to address medical concerns abroad that are (considered to be) unable to be sufficiently met within their countries of residence – is an important therapeutic coping strategy used by growing proportions of peoples with a diverse range of mobility profiles and intensities of global moorings. Studying this phenomenon provides useful insight into a rapidly globalising era of health governance, where an ever-wider array of state and non-state actors are transcending the increasingly restrictive national containerisations of health care and engaging in cross-border action to effectively address contemporary health challenges at both individual and collective levels. In our introduction to this special issue on transnational medical travel, we draw on both ‘medical tourism’ and migrant health scholarship to acknowledge the diversity of motivations among migrant and non-migrant patients alike and the complex nature of mobile patients’ attachments to the multiple places in which they seek care. We then bring attention to how dynamic structural issues in mobile patients’ countries of residence and destination shape their attachments to places and health systems over time, examining the linkages between vitality of the political and social systems in these places to which they are differently attached and their dis/satisfaction and dis/enfranchisement with them.
Ormond, M. and Nah, A. (2019) ‘Constructing healthcare-related “deservingness” in an entrepreneurial state: (Re)producing “desirable”, “acceptable” and “disposable” migrants through the lens of risk in Malaysia’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. [Open access]
In recent years, scholars have focused on the concept of healthcare deservingness, observing that healthcare professionals, state authorities and the broader public make moral judgements about which migrants are deserving of health care and which are not. Such literature tends to focus on migrants with irregular status. This article examines how state calculations of healthcare deservingness have also been applied to authorised migrants. Focusing on Malaysia, we examine the ways in which state authorities construct migrants as ‘desirable’, ‘acceptable’ and ‘disposable’, differentiated through calculations of their biological and economic risks and potential contribution to ‘the nation’. To do this, we analyse recent government and commercial policies, plans and practices to reflect on how such biopolitical orderings create the conditions for risk entrepreneurship – where public and private actors capitalise on profit-making opportunities that emerge from the construction of risky subjects and risky scenarios – while reinforcing hierarchies of healthcare deservingness that exacerbate health inequalities by privileging migrants with greater economic capital and legitimising the exclusion of poor migrants.
Additional publications in this area
Ormond, M. and Kaspar, H. (2019) ‘Medical travel/tourism and the city’, in I. Vojnovic, A. Pearson, A. Gershim, A. Allen and G. de Verteuil (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Global Urban Health, Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN: 978-1138206250
Ormond, M. and Kaspar, H. (2019) ‘South-South medical tourism’, in E. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and P. Daley (eds), Routledge Handbook of South-South Relations, Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN: 9781317229148
Ormond, M. and Toyota, M. (2018) ‘Rethinking care through transnational health and long-term care practices’, in V. Crooks, G. Andrews and J. Pearce (eds), Routledge Handbook of Health Geography, Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 237-243.
Ormond, M. and Lim, C.H. (2018) The Private Healthcare Sector in Johor: Trends and Prospects, Singapore: ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute. https://www.iseas.edu.sg/images/pdf/TRS17_18.pdf[Open access]
Moghavvemi, S., Ormond, M., Musa, G., Mohamed Isa, C.R., Thirumoorthi, T., bin Mustapha, M.Z., Kanapathy, K. and John Chiremel Chand, J. (2017) ‘Connecting with prospective medical tourists online: A cross-sectional analysis of private hospital websites promoting medical tourism in India, Malaysia and Thailand’, Tourism Management, 58, February, 154-163. DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2016.10.010
Crooks, V.A., Ormond, M. and Jin, K.N. (2017) ‘Reflections on “medical tourism” from the 2016 Global Healthcare Policy and Management Forum’, BMC Proceedings, 11(Suppl 8):6, 1-4. [Open access]
Ormond, M. and Sulianti, D. (2017) ‘More than medical tourism: Lessons from Indonesia and Malaysia on South-South intra-regional medical travel’, Current Issues in Tourism, 20(1), 94-110. DOI:10.1080/13683500.2014.937324
Ormond, M., Chan, C.K. and Verghis, S. (2017) ‘Healthcare entitlements for citizens and trans-border mobile peoples in Southeast Asia’, in A. McGregor, L. Law and F. Miller (eds), Handbook of Southeast Asian Development¸ Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 186-197.
Klijs, J., Ormond, M., Mainil, T., Peerlings, J. and Heijman, W. (2016) ‘A state-level analysis of the economic impacts of medical tourism in Malaysia’, Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, 30:1, 1-26. DOI: 10.1111/apel.12132
Ormond, M. (2016) ‘Knowledge transfer in the “medical tourism” industry: The role of transnational migrant patients and health workers’, in F. Thomas (ed.), Handbook of Migration and Health, London: Edward Elgar, pp. 498-514.
Ormond, M. and Toyota, M. (2016) ‘Confronting economic precariousness through international retirement migration: Japan’s old-age ‘economic refugees’ and Germany’s ‘exported grannies’’, in J.M. Rickley-Boyd, K. Hannam and M. Mostafanezhad (eds), Tourism and Leisure Mobilities: Politics, Work and Play, Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 134-146.
Johnston, R., Crooks, V.A. and Ormond, M. (2015) ‘Policy implications of medical tourism development in destination countries: Revisiting and revising an existing framework by examining the case of Jamaica’, Globalization and Health. http://www.globalizationandhealth.com/content/11/1/29 [Open access]
Bell, D., Holliday, R., Ormond, M., and Mainil, T. (2015) ‘Transnational healthcare, cross-border perspectives’, Social Science and Medicine, 124, 284-289. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.11.014
Ormond, M. (2015) 'Solidarity by demand? Exit and voice in international medical travel - The case of Indonesia', Social Science and Medicine, 124, 305-312. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.06.007
Ormond, M. (2015) ‘What’s where? Why there? And why care? A geography of responsibility in medical tourism’, in N. Lunt, J. Hanefeld and D. Horsfall (eds), Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility, London: Edward Elgar, pp. 123-132.
Ormond, M. and Mainil, T. (2015) ‘Government and governance strategies in medical tourism’, in N. Lunt, J. Hanefeld and D. Horsfall (eds), Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility, London: Edward Elgar, pp. 154-163.
Ormond, M. (2015; online first in 2013) ‘En route: Transport and embodiment in international medical travel journeys between Indonesia and Malaysia’, Mobilities, 10(2). DOI:10.1080/17450101.2013.857812
Ormond, M. (2014) ‘Medical tourism’, in C.M. Hall, A. Williams and A. Lew (eds), The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Tourism, London: John Wiley & Sons, 425-434.
Ormond, M., Wong, K.M. and Chan, C.K. (2014) ‘Medical tourism in Malaysia: How can we better identify and manage its advantages and disadvantages?’ Global Health Action, 7(25201). DOI:10.3402/gha.v7.25201
Ormond, M. (2014) ‘Resorting to Plan J: Popular perceptions of Singaporean retirement migration to Johor, Malaysia’, Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 23(1), 1-26.
Ormond, M. (2013) Neoliberal Governance and International Medical Travel in Malaysia, Abingdon: Routledge.
Ormond, M. (2013) ‘Harnessing “diasporic” medical mobilities’, in F. Thomas and J. Gideon (eds), Migration, Health and Inequality, London: Zed Books, pp. 150-162.
Ormond, M. (2012) ‘Claiming “cultural competence”: The promotion of multi-ethnic Malaysia as a medical tourism destination’, in C.M. Hall (ed.), Medical Tourism: The Ethics, Regulation, and Marketing of Health Mobility, Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 187-200.
Ormond, M. and Sothern, M. (2012) ‘You, too, can be an international medical traveller: Reading medical travel guidebooks’, Health and Place, 18(5), 935-941.
Ormond, M. (2011) ‘Shifting subjects of healthcare: Placing “medical tourism” in the context of Malaysian domestic healthcare reform’, Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 52(3), 247-259.
Ormond, M. (2011) ‘Medical tourism, medical exile: Responding to the cross-border pursuit of healthcare in Malaysia’, in C. Minca and T. Oakes (eds), Real Tourism: Practice, Care and Politics in Contemporary Travel, Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 143-161.
Ormond, M. (2008) ‘“First world treatments at third world prices”: The real costs of medical tourism’, in R. Anand and S. Gupta (eds), Medical Tourism – A Growth Industry, Pune, India: Icfai Books, pp. 69-77.
Here's what I've been up to in this research area...
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (JEMS)
Co-editor of the special issue 'Transnational medical travel: Patient mobility, shifting health system entitlements and attachments' with Neil Lunt
Social Science and Medicine
Co-editor of the special issue on international medical travel with David Bell, Ruth Holliday and Tomas Mainil
Medical Mobilities blog
The Medical Mobilities blog tracked the developing field of research on 'medical tourism' or international medical travel over the length of a decade, charting the publication of new books and special journal issues.
Medical Travel Listserv
Founder of the Medical Travel Listserv, which functions as a space in which a community of researchers working on themes related to medical tourism/international medical travel can share news with one another.
People are talking...
‘How hospitals in India, Malaysia and Thailand use website to promote medical tourism’, International Medical Travel Journal, 12 December.
‘Non-Economic Handicaps in Malaysia's Medical Tourism Good Business and the Standard of Healthcare Delivery’, International Business Review, 15 July.
‘Medical tourism is not global: Are Asian hospitals targeting the wrong markets?’ International Medical Travel Journal, 10 December.
‘New study highlights impact of medical tourism on domestic healthcare’, International Medical Travel Journal, 7 August.
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Ormond, M. (2013) Neoliberal Governance and International Medical Travel in Malaysia, Abingdon: Routledge.
"This book addresses a large number of vitally important issues affecting the provision of healthcare in many ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ countries. [...] What this insightful, challenging and beautifully written book demonstrates is that the destinations, routes and points of departure of medical travel are formed by specific geographies, historical relationships and power struggles. [...] This book is not only about Malaysia. In many ways it provides a model for analysing and evaluating medical travel in any destination. It makes a significant contribution to debates on medical travel and will no doubt prove its influence as this important field develops."
- Ruth Holliday, University of Leeds, UK (The Australian Geographer, 2015)
"Neoliberal Governance and International Medical Travel in Malaysia is a well-researched study on the development of international medical travel (IMT) in Malaysia. […] Each chapter presents a well-articulated argument substantiated by multi-layered case studies, making the book an up-to-date and perfect contribution to the definition of IMT. [...] the book’s meticulous research and robust conceptual framework, along with its discussion on methodology, make it a useful guide on how issues in the IMT need to be further analysed and tackled at various geographical levels, i.e. from regional to global."
- Audrey Bochaton, Department of Geography, University of Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense, France (Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 2015)
"Ormond successfully demonstrates the growing complexities of, and challenges to, administering national healthcare systems within increasingly permeable borders. Her book provides great insight into the difficulties facing healthcare systems that are increasingly reliant on other nations, philanthropic organizations, and corporations to provide appropriate health care. [...] Ormond’s book provides an excellent description of neoliberal practices and the impacts of international travel for health care on public health."
- Krystyna Adams, Simon Fraser University, Canada (The Canadian Geographer, 2015)