Medical Tourism Guide
Today, cheap yet world-class surgeries
are just a flight away. But the deluge of information available out
there can overwhelm anybody. So, here is a quick guide to medical tourism
to answer most of your questions about the phenomenon.
WHAT IS MEDICAL TOURISM?
Medical Tourism is the process of traveling
abroad to receive superior medical, dental and cosmetic care by highly
skilled surgeons at some of the most modern and state-of-the-art medical
facilities in the world...all at a fraction of the price in the US,
UK and Canada.
Medical Tourism gives the global medical
tourist the opportunity to get the best quality of medical surgery,
cosmetic plastic surgery and dental surgery at significantly lower costs.
While low costs are the primary motivation to travel abroad, some medical
tourists seek medical care overseas because of immediate availability
of procedures and sometimes the unavailability of certain procedures.
HISTORY OF MEDICAL TOURISM
Medical tourism is not a new concept.
It has been practiced by wealthy Europeans and Asians for decades when
they would travel within their continent and sometimes even to the US
to seek health related treatments.
MEDICAL TOURISM OFFERINGS
- Incredible Savings:
Savings depend upon where you choose to have your surgery and the cost
of the procedure in your home country. Compare a $7,000 hip resurfacing
in India with a $48,000 one in the US. That's more than 80% savings
even after you have paid for your travel, stay and vacation. In general
you are able to save at least 50% (say for a dental fix-up across the
border in Mexico).
- Excellent Quality:
The quality standards are superior to what you get in the US, UK or
Canada. Many international providers choose to be accredited by organizations
like JCI, JCAHO and ISO or by local accrediting organizations to demonstrate
their commitment to quality. If in doubt, read testimonials by patients
who have experienced treatment overseas.
- World-Class Facilities:
Most medical tourists will tell you that international hospital facilities
are comparable to 5-star hotels with luxurious accommodation, private
spacious rooms, and easy access to hospitality services.
- Access to Latest Technology:
The technology used by international health care providers is the latest
and the greatest. Providers invest heavily in new technology and training
- Surgeon Expertise:
Most surgeons catering to international patients have either been educated
or have received professional training at top schools in the US, UK
or in other countries in Europe. They are usually well-versed in English
and have experience serving foreign patients.
- No Wait-Lists:
Access to immediate service is what attracts those from countries that
have public health care system towards medical tourism. Canadians and
British prefer to have their hip resurfacing surgery or spine surgery
in India for a few thousand dollars than to live with a bad hip or back
for 2 years.
- Personalized Service:
Personalized service is another factor contributing to the popularity
of medical tourism. Most medical tourists vouch for the genuine and
excellent service that they receive from surgeons, nurses and other
medical staff alike. Most of them further go on to say that they have
never experienced such service at any hospital in the US, UK or Canada.
- Longer Hospital Stay:
One of the advantages of medical tourism is you get to stay in the hospital
for long without incurring hefty room charges. You can have a longer
hospital stay than possible in your local hospital back home under the
supervision of your surgeon and physical therapist.
- Great Convenience:
Given the ease of international travel combined with low airfares, your
life-changing surgery is just a flight away. Not just that, you can
even bring family and friends along.
- Travel Opportunities:
While the primary motivation for most customers is affordable surgery,
the opportunity to visit exotic destinations is an additional draw for
some. You can choose to have a relaxing recovery in a resort setting
or if your surgeon allows you can even enjoy other tourist attractions.
MEDICAL TOURISM AND SAFETY
Medical tourism is safe but only if you
do your homework properly. With the large amount of information that's
available out there and companies touting customers with "sun,
sand and surgery" packages, it's all too easy to fall into the
trap and end up at a wrong place to go under the knife by a wrong person.
So do your due diligence or work with a trusted medical tourism facilitator.
WHO SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN MEDICAL
Medical tourism has benefits for the
all global medical consumers at large. However, in general, most American
medical tourists are either uninsured, underinsured or those seeking
elective surgeries not covered under their insurance plans. Many Canadians
and Britons resort to medical tourism due to the never-ending wait-lists
in their respective country and because of the easy accessibility to
the needed surgeries that medical tourism accords.
WHICH COUNTRIES OFFER THE BEST SERVICES?
There are many countries that have the
infrastructure, technology and expertise to make them world-class medical
tourism destinations. And more and more countries are plunging into
the business. The most popular travel destinations are India, Singapore,
Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, Belgium,
and Argentina amongst others. Some of these countries are considered
best for cardiac surgery, others for orthopedic surgery and yet others
for cosmetic surgery.
CHOOSING YOUR DESTINATION COUNTRY
As mentioned above, today you have a
wide variety of countries to choose from for your medical tourism needs.
In such a market it's vital you make your selection wisely. Your decision
should be based on the following factors:
Some countries have the repute for top quality cosmetic surgery while
others are famous for their world class orthopedics so make your choice
A cross-border country would be a prudent choice than a far-off country
for small and quick dental works like bridging or cleaning so you do
not have to spend a lot on transportation. However, when considering
major dental work like full mouth restoration it might pay to travel
that long distance and go to the far-off country for low-cost high quality
Although quality should be compromised at no cost, yet cost can play
an important role when making your decision for which country and hospital
to choose. The costs involved are not just those related directly to
the surgery but also those involving transportation, accommodation and
other related costs.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PROVIDER
Just like there are many medical tourism
destinations, there are many providers who have medical tourism offerings.
Some of them are good and some not-so-good. How do you make your choice
in such a situation? Well, there are many things that can help you make
your choice. Firstly, don't get swayed by attractive packages and fancy
websites. Find out as much as you can through research. Learn from the
experience of others: Read and watch what others are saying about the
particular hospital, clinic or surgeon. Check out the facility pictures
and videos as that can give you a good idea of its standard of quality.
Other facts you should consider are:
This gives you an idea of the hospital's commitment to quality. The
accreditation could be local or international such as JCI, JCAHO, ISO,
This will tell you how recognized the hospital is locally and internationally.
- Facility and Equipments:
To get an idea of the quality standards and how advanced the technology
used in the hospital is.
Like success rate (especially for the medical department that you are
interested in), outpatients, inpatients, etc. For example: treats 300
international hip resurfacing patients annually with 100% success rate.
You should ensure that the hospital that you are going to has English
speaking staff or at least has translators / interpreters.
WILL MY HEALTH INSURANCE PAY FOR IT?
Insurance companies are keenly looking
into medical tourism as an option though most haven't adopted it into
their plans yet. If you do have it in your plan then coverage may vary.
Some insurers bear the full cost of treatment including airfare, hotel
accommodation, etc. for the patient as well as a companion. Other insurers
or plans may have different coverage. Check with your health insurer
SHOULD I COMBINE
SUN, SAND AND SEA WITH SURGERY?
Usually after a fresh cosmetic surgery,
you are advised not to expose your body to the sun or to sea water as
they can interfere with your recovery process and can leave long-time
or even permanent scars. The chemicals from sunscreen may also have
a deteriorating effect on the newly cosmeticized skin. But, you can
always choose to enjoy the "sun, sand and sea" before your
With certain other medical procedures
like cardiac or orthopedic surgeries, it's best for you to stay indoors
and relax, or exercise as instructed by your physical therapist after
In any case, you should concentrate more
on the medical part. Tourism should be done only if your surgeon does
not object to it. So, always consult your surgeon if you have travel
or tourism on your mind.
WHAT ARE MEDICAL TOURISM FACILITATORS?
Medical tourism facilitators like Healthbase
are specialized facilitators that connect you with the hospital of your
choice while providing all or some other valuable services like detailed
information about various procedures, detailed hospital profiles and
surgeon profiles, medical records transfer, free surgery quote, pre-
and post-consultation with the overseas hospital, feedback and testimonials
from previous patients, medical and dental loan financing, passport
and visa, airport pick-up and drop-off, hospital escort, tickets, travel
insurance, hotel booking, tourism services in the destination country,
This medical tourism guide is just a
starting step. You should do the proper required research before you
fly to your medical tourism destination.
You can learn more about the growing
trend of medical tourism, international healthcare facilities and surgeons
and the details of the medical tourism process by logging on to http://www.healthbase.com. Healthbase.com is a medical tourism facilitator
committed to providing low-cost high quality medical travel services
to the global medical consumer.