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The Medical Tourism Hotspots

There are now around 50 countries recognized as medical tourism destinations. If you’re eyeing on vacationing in the Middle East and Asia Pacific, you have to learn more about the country and culture. It is very important that you also research more about the technologies available and the recent updates that each nation and institution has that applies to your specific condition. Here are some guidelines on the hot places and what to look for.

The Middle East

Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel are among the hottest countries to visit when going for medical tourism in the Middle East. Israel is quickly becoming a medical tourist hot spot, with over 15,000 visitors entering the country in 2006. In-vitro fertilization is one of the most popular procedures that foreigners go for in Israel. They also wish to view the Dead Sea, plus other historical and biblical landmarks.

Jordan is quickly growing as a medical tourism hotspot. In 2007 alone, over 200,000 visitors went and brought in more than $1 billion in revenue. Most of the foreigners come from Iraq, Sudan and Palestine. Compared to prices of health care in the United States, expect to save as much 75% on treatment. The World Bank rated Jordan 5th worldwide as a medical tourism hotspot.

The UAE or United Arab Emirates has also upgraded a lot of their equipment, facilities and practices to become competitive in the global market. More hospitals are aiming to get accreditation from the biggest agencies to attract more foreigners.

Asia and the Pacific

China is a favorite among medical tourists because of its unique approach to treatment. Chinese hospitals and institutions are widely known for fusing modern medical practices and technology with traditional Chinese medicine and therapeutic techniques. Stem cell treatment is one of the most common procedures that visitors go to China for. China is also very rich in culture, so you get the most out of your vacation by choosing this country.

Hong Kong is another popular medical tourist hub. All 12 private hospitals are accredited by Trent and ensure that patients only get the highest quality and standard of care available. Dual international accreditation is also acquired by the hospitals, with the second being from JCI. Hong Kong hospitals boast of having the latest technologies and equipment to ensure patient safety and well-being.

More Asian Destinations

Taiwan aims to become a big medical tourism center in the years to come. The government has been very active in providing funds and campaigns to help boost and advertise the different programs offered by hospitals and medical institutions. Some of the reasons that visitors go to Taiwan include the low cost of procedures and the many shopping places available. Some of the popular procedures that foreigners usually go for include bone marrow transplant, liver transplant, plastic surgery and joint replacement surgery.

Westerners prefer going to Asia because of its rich culture and cheap costs. You get the advantage of getting great packages and the best in accommodations and transportation. People in Asia are also known to be very warm and hospitable, making the places very ideal for both medical treatment and vacationing.


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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.

More Groups

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.


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The Different Treatments You Get in Medical Tourism

Medical tourism is fast becoming a preferred choice among individuals living in big countries like Canada, United Kingdom and the United States because of lower cost and added convenience and luxury. There are now various treatments available and people can expect to get the highest quality care available anywhere in the world. Some countries, however, are known to be experts in some types of treatment. Here are the different procedures.

About ACLS

ACLS stands for Anterior Cruciate Ligament Surgery or Repair. The procedure aims to reconnect a torn ACL ligament. There are 4 total ligaments that stabilize the knee, and ACL is one of these. Among the four, the ACL is the most commonly damaged. Some individuals choose to have ACLS abroad if they suddenly feel unstableness in their knee while playing sports, after a rehabilitation program or if the problem has long been existent.

The procedure generally takes around 1 to 2 hours. ACLS does not require patients to stay in the hospital. As a medical tourist, you can choose to get back to your hotel right after the procedure and continue to recuperate there. After a few days, you may take tours that do not require a lot of walking or heavy lifting. Patients can go back to their home country 1 to 2 days after the procedure.

About Hip Replacement

Total hip replacement or THR is one of the most common surgeries that patients look for abroad. The procedure involves rebuilding a damaged or deteriorated hip joint for it to return to optimal and functional condition. During the process, an artificial prosthesis can substitute for the damaged joint. A hip replacement is sought after by medical tourists who experience stiffness in their hips, thereby limiting leg movement, have problems with bending and are taking medications that lead to side effects or are not that effective. Patients can expect the surgery to last 1 to 3 hours.

When traveling abroad, you will be advised to take about 1 to 2 weeks off, since you will be staying inside the hospital for 4 to 10 days. Doctors will recommend patients to recuperate for 4 to 7 days before going back to their home country.

About Spinal Infusion

Some medical tourists go to destinations like Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia to undergo spinal infusion. The procedure involves linking two vertebrae to get rid of the friction and extra motion in between. The lumbar spinal fusion can treat various conditions, such as scoliosis, slipped disk, degenerated disk, herniated disk and other injuries. The procedure is done when other types of treatment are not working.

Patients may also undergo the surgery abroad, aside from having other types of spinal surgery. Other techniques may be incorporated based on the condition of the patient and the extent of the damage. Patients can expect the surgery to last 3 to 4 hours. When traveling abroad, you should book for a minimum of 1 week, since you will be hospitalized for 3 to 4 days after the operation. Patients can return to their home country after 5 to 7 days.


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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.

Reading Packages

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 hotel 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.

Joining Forums

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.


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