What is Medical Tourism?
More and more people from the west are going to Asia to try medical tourism. You may be surprised to know that you can save much more and get more perks and advantages by getting treated far away from home. It is important that you only deal with reliable institutions too, so that you can ensure that operations stay safe and successful. Learn more about the process and find out the different benefits of going through one program.
A Brief Description
Medical tourism is described as the process of going to a different country to get medical treatment. Some of the common procedures done to traveling patients include dental work, heart surgery, plastic surgery and hip replacement. Based on the location and the type of procedure to be done, a medical trip can usually cost you anywhere between 10% and 50% of what you expect to pay in your own country.
The main advantage of medical tourism is that it provides a cheaper means to get the type of treatment done, even if you consider other expenses like hostel of World Laparoscopy Hospital accommodations, air fare, car rental services, dining and shopping. These are cheaper than domestic health care because of a variety of factors. Expect to get the same standard treatment or even better with top quality institutions from other nations. Some of the most popular medical tourism stops include Singapore, Thailand, Argentina and the Philippines.
Patients can travel halfway across the globe to receive various types of health care, including alternative care, psychiatric treatment, convalescent care and even for burial. Customers and service or health care providers from the other country usually communicate through informal means, to hasten the process and avoid very strict legal oversight. More than 50 countries have been named as a medical tourism destination. Some of these consider medical tourism as a major industry and are creating better buildings, facilities, equipment, as well as researching newer technologies to stay updated.
It is important that you research more about the institution and country you are eyeing on, since there are also unscrupulous agencies offering seemingly quality services and care online. You should talk to the right people and also communicate with previous patients to get honest feedback on what to expect about your treatment and vacation.
Things to Expect
A medical tourism package usually includes all the other factors to ensure that you have a safe, successful and enjoyable trip. Patients will be given preliminary meetings and diagnostic procedures before the actual surgery or treatment. They will also be given time to explore and tour around the new country to get the most out of their vacation. Expect to stay anywhere between 3 and 10 days when going to another country.
Today, Asian countries are the most popular destinations, with more and more Americans traveling to the East each year. European countries like Hungary, Ireland and Belgium are also offering excellent medical services. You can include a few personal reasons to determine which destination will fit your situation best.
Searching for Medical Tourism Packages Online
The internet is a very rich source of information if you want to look for the best medical tourism packages. A lot of medical groups and institutions have created their official web site to provide you with all the details you need to travel. You can get all the data, such as the price, what to expect from the procedure and the available surgeons and physicians. You can also make early reservations online for quick perks and promos. Here's how.
Checking Web Sites
Different medical institutions now have web sites on the internet where you can view the different offers and medical tourism packages. You will most like see sections, such as the background of the company, the mission and goals of the hospital, the available staff and doctors, patient testimonials, the procedures done, FAQs and how to contact them. When viewing the background, check how long the company has been existent and determine their mode of staying updated with the recent technological advances. You should also find out if they are affiliated with other well-known organizations or have accreditation with the JCI or Trent.
Read the FAQs or Frequently Asked Questions section, as well as the testimonials by previous patients to determine if the objectives of the company coincide with your own interests. You should read more about the specific procedure you are about to take and which doctor will be assigned to your case. Consult your own local physician about the medical institution you are eyeing on and ask for honest feedback.
You should find out more about the package you plan to get. Determine the kind of accommodations available, how you will be transported from the airport to your hostel of World Laparoscopy Hospital and finally, to the hospital, duration of the stay, if you are allowed a medical or travel companion and which areas you will most likely visit. Find out more about the country you are going to visit as well by visiting various web sites and online discussion boards.
Learn more about the country by talking to other past patients and travelers online. Learn about the pros and cons of getting medical treatment from one place and compare the prices with others available. You should also consider the distance of the other country from your origin. Ask about the possible risks and complications of having to travel very far after your type of treatment or surgery.
An online forum or discussion board will greatly help you determine which medical tourism package will best suit your case. There are special boards online where you can talk to patients all over the globe. You can also contact doctors online and ask them about the available technologies that should be available in a given country or hospital. You can ask for recommendations on the best physicians and surgeons, as well as the best accredited hospitals that can guarantee the safety and success of your operation.
An online discussion board will keep you updated about the latest changes in any given country or medical institution when it comes to medical tourism. You can take advantage of big promos and other perks depending on the season, by talking to frequent flyers. You can also make the necessary preparations by communicating with experts and other experienced medical travelers.
The Groups Helping Medical Tourism
Since medical tourism is very much a part of health care, it is only important that you review the several questions and issues raised about the subject. There are now a variety of agencies that continues to observe the activities and practices all over the globe, to ensure that patients get the best and safest medical treatment available. You have to learn more about the agencies so you can make the necessary precautions to stay safe and healthy.
About the Groups
There are a number of factors to consider when going for medical tourism. Some of the inclusions are quality assurance, evidence-based practices and medications and international health care accreditation. In America, the Joint Commission International or JCI is the most well-known accreditation group. Since 1999, the group has been checking and accrediting health care institutions outside the United States. Several medical institutions at present find that being accredited by JCI helps them get the trust of many American patients.
The Joint Commission is connected with JCI in America. The two groups are independent private groups that do not function for profit. These groups try to develop internationally and nationally recognized standards and processes to boost patient safety and health care. These groups work with different hospitals to ensure that the health care organizations meet the standards of patient care.
The Trent International Accreditation Scheme in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom is also considered an important agency when it comes to medical tourism. The schemes of accreditation groups can change in terms of cost, size, quality, skill and purpose. The cost to health care groups and hospitals can also change. A number of hospitals are aiming for dual international accreditation. JCI is responsible for attracting American patients, while Trent is good for attracting European clients.
Before you go for any medical group abroad, you have to check the background first and ask for a number of accreditations to make sure that you are only dealing with professionals who are well-trained and updated about the latest practices and technology. Not complying with this practice can lead to dangerous and life-threatening procedures.
Other Responsible Agencies
The Medical Tourism Association is a pioneer non-profit trade group for medical tourism. It is comprised of health care providers, international hospitals, insurance companies, medical travel advisers and other agencies that commit to providing patients with excellent health care globally. The three tenets of the agency are Communication, Education and Transparency.
The SOFIHA or Society for International Health Care Accreditation is another group that gives forums and discussions about standard practice and ideal patient care. The role of the group is to ensure that hospitals give the best environment for treating patients.
The UKAF or United Kingdom Accreditation Forum is another big network, comprised of accreditation groups with the objective of sharing new ideas and standard practice to help organizations implement standards safely and successfully. Some of the activities done by the network include training, evaluation, recuritment, monitoring and recognizing accreditation awards by different health institutions.
Tips on Medical Tourism
More and more medical tourists are going to different destinations each year to receive top quality treatment and world class accommodations. As a medical tourist, you get several advantages such as lower expenses, friendly accommodations and getting to see new sights and scenarios. You have to learn some tips first before you go abroad to stay safe and avoid any further complications. Here is some more information before you travel.
All experts highly recommend patients to do a lot of research first before they travel abroad. They can become victims to scams and unscrupulous individuals. Some may become victims of medical malpractice and other errors because the medical institution failed to comply with the given standards or does not have sufficient accreditation.
First, study and review the procedure you are going through. Are you healthy physically and mentally to undergo treatment? Know the different effects, results, risks and possible complications that can arise. You should also consider the health risks and other potential complications that may arise from traveling far distances or staying cramped inside the plane after surgery or treatment. Determine how much time you will need off from work, how long the treatment will take, if you need follow-up care and how long before you can return to your home country. Also check if you will need other types of treatment afterwards like physical therapy, etc.
Hospital and Surgeon Background
Since more and more hospitals are getting into medical tourism, you should now check for accreditation to ensure that the standards and medical practices sufficiently meet the requirements set by the biggest agencies. Check for accreditation by the JCI, Trent, ISO, JCAHO, etc. You can also compare hospitals and pick the ones that have received numerous awards and achievements.
Identify the success rate, which means how many successful operations and treatments have been done. The figures may be displayed in percentage. Check the available equipment and facilities and how often the institution upgrades these. You should also determine which particular procedures the hospital is known to be good at. Check if majority of the staff understands English or are English-speaking.
Talk to the surgeon who will be doing the surgery. Ask the necessary questions, such as your diet and exercise regimen days before the operation, medical and health hazards, possible risks and complications, medication regimen afterwards and the duration of hospitalization. You should ensure that the doctor is well-experienced in the type of surgery to be done. Ask for some referrals and talk to previous patients to get the full details.
Preparing the Documents
Some foreign countries will not require you to get a visa, but will require you to stay only for a limited period, such as 60 to 90 days. You should consider the distance and talk to your local physician to update him about the developments. Prepare your passport and visa, credit cards, traveler's check, identification cards, driver's license, etc. You should include IDs with your photo and full information on it, just in case you get lost or accidents occur.
What to Secure in Your Medical Tourism Package
Medical tourism packages are offered by various institutions from different countries all over the globe. Before you get one, you have to ensure that you are only dealing with professional and experienced groups and individuals. Also learn every detail and inclusion in the package to make sure that you are getting your money's worth. You can fall victim to unscrupulous bodies if you do not study your sources first. Here are some tips and tricks.
The Ideal Medical Tourism Package
A good medical tourism package will be well-documented, including all the details of your supposed trip or medical vacation. There should be quotations that specifically indicate why the total package will be priced as such. You should also be provided will all the wavers and coverage of protection available via your current insurance policy. Good hospitals will always inform you about state or national laws that might alter from the ones present in your home country, just so you can stay prepared and avoid any problems in the future.
The package should only come from medical institutions, clinics or hospitals that are accredited by the right agencies, like the JCI, Trent, ISO, etc. The quotation should include the name of the physicians and surgeons conducting the operation, the type of operation to be done, the duration of hospitalization, complete address and contact number of the place and other follow-up treatments and medications required. The package should entail all the features and added bonuses of your trip, if there are any, such as hostel of World Laparoscopy Hospital accommodations, transportation, meals and tours.
Your Insurance Policy
A good hospital will provide you a contract which you need to sign to agree to the terms of treatment. You will also be shown all your rights as a patient, such as the right to refuse treatment, the right to choose your doctor and the procedure to be done and the right to choose which place you want to stay. Of course, recommendations will be provided but it is always the patient who makes the final choice, regardless of the results.
Your current insurance policy may not cover medical tourism packages, but you may be referred to companies that now provide several benefits amount up to $100,000 or more to medical tourists. The insurance policy will cover all types of treatment, depending on the feature and premium. You can get protection even after the operation is complete or if you experience complications and other problems back in your home country, related to your previous surgery or treatment.
The medical tourism package, will usually require a down payment from you, before it is finalized. You can make the payment via credit card or money transfer online. You can also ask for a third party, such as an affiliated medical group in the States to guarantee your payment. You will most likely be asked to pay anywhere between 10% and 25% of the total cost. The final cost provided should be the same as the one you pay after treatment. You can pay the rest after you get treated.