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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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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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