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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.

Doing Research

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.


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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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Risks and Issues Around Medical Tourism

Medical tourism can cover a variety of practices and procedures. As much as you need to review the benefits and advantages, it is equally vital to learn about the possible risks and other issues about the trip. Some patients have suffered life-threatening conditions because of errors and lack of research. You have to know more about the potential risks before you consider going abroad for treatment. Here are some more tips and guidelines.

Knowing the Risks

Medical tourism also includes a number of risks, compared to getting health care from local sources. A number of countries experience sporadic infectious diseases once in a while. These include Thailand, Malaysia, India and the Philippines. The diseases may not be present in other nations like the United States and European countries. Weakened individuals may be exposed to the problems, like malaria, HIV, avian flu, tuberculosis and typhoid. Some of these diseases are considered rare in first world countries.

The quality of care pre and post-operative can also differ, based on the country and medical institution. Some of the standards may be different from what you were accustomed to in America. Trent and JCI can ensure that you get the best standards of care in these countries. If you travel long distances after undergoing surgery, you can also boost the risk of developing other problems and complications. Some of the causes of complications include being cramped and staying immobile for a long period of time inside an airplane. It is vital that you include several days off after surgery before going back to your country to get better and recover faster.

Legalities

Some complaints that you can easily pass on in your country may not be as easy to deal with when traveling abroad. The policies and rules may change drastically thereby limiting patients’ abilities to get satisfactory results after any given procedure. If you get medical treatment overseas, you may be unfamiliar to some legalities and regulations. The limited regulations in some countries can explain the lower cost of health care. Some individuals have been victims of medical malpractice and inadequate care stemming from lack of equipment and tools, inexperienced doctors and incompetent programs. Some institutions and medical experts may not even afford some of the financial damages that come from lawsuits.

About Ethics

One problem that medical tourism may cause is that locals no longer can receive quality and standard care because hospitals and doctors are focusing more on foreign patients who can pay more and afford drastic procedures. Although foreigners may no longer have problems when it comes to paying and waiting, the locals will have to deal with the increased cost of care that local institutions are offering globally.

Pioneering modern technologies can also mean that some devices and medications are not yet fully proven to provide all the beneficial effects. It is not uncommon to see some foreign patients come back and experience very bad side effects after a few months, because of unconventional therapy and practices. Always research all the equipment you are going to use and the procedure you are planning to go through.


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Medical Tourism FAQs

The process may still be unfamiliar to you, but you will find that medical tourism can be very convenient and easy, once you understand the rules and find the right people and agencies that can help you. Medical tourism is quickly becoming a big sector, especially among Asian countries. More and more Americans and Britons are going to new places to spend less and get some much needed rest and relaxation. Here are some common questions.

When and how do I pay for my treatment abroad?

In most cases, getting a medical tourism package will require you to provide a partial or down payment to the medical institution. There may be third agencies involved to ensure that your payment stays safe and documented. Once you arrive at the destination country, you will pay after the treatment is done at the medical institution or hospital. You may pay using your credit card, a PayPal account, cash and check, depending on the institution and the online preference available.

Most foreigners make reservations and other preparations online. You can start your own PayPal account and pay for the down payment instantly. You only need to provide credit to your account using your credit card or via money transfer. An email will be sent to you confirming that the payment has been received. You may show this to the hospital once you arrive at the destination country.

How can I make sure that I am dealing with reliable institutions?

Only deal with internationally accredited hospitals. Accreditation may come from different bodies, such as the ISO, JCI and Trent. Being accredited means that the medical institution has been approved by the right agencies and comply with the standards and regulations set by top groups worldwide. You should also talk to the physician and surgeon who will conduct the surgery. This way, you can ensure that the professional has had more than enough training and experience to deal with your case. The success rate will also increase if you deal with well-trained professionals and experts.

Double check and review the diagnosis provided by your local physician with the one made by your doctor overseas. You can then ensure if you really have the condition and needs the right approach or surgery to get well.

How can I ensure that I will stay safe and comfortable throughout the trip?

Visit the official web site of the hospital or medical institution where you are going to. You should check how often they upgrade their equipment and tools, as well as which technologies are already available in their area. The tools and facilities available should be modern, with regards to your case. This way, you get the highest quality of treatment possible without having to pay as much.

You should also consult your travel agent and check out the plan and schedule provided. Find out more about your hotel accommodations, the city where you are staying and what other things are included in the package, such as food, transportation and other freebies. Find out how many days you are supposed to stay and which airlines will take you to and from the country of destination.


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