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Medical Tourism Tips

What a Medical Tourist Should Know and Do

You are uninsured or underinsured and would have to dig deep into your pockets to be able to afford health care at home. Or you have checked with your insurer and they wouldn't cover the costs of your surgery. Or there is such a long waitlist that it would be years before it's your turn. Or the treatment you want simply isn't available in your country. If that's the case, then medical tourism is the answer to your problem.

It's easy to hop on a plane and catch the next flight to your surgical destination. But before you do that there are a lot of things that you should know and do to make your medical tourism trip safe and successful. Here is a list that will assist you in planning...

Proper Research

The importance of research cannot be emphasized enough. It is the first step to successful medical travel. When equipped with the right information you can feel confident about your decision of going overseas for healthcare and have the right treatment in the right country at the right hospital and by the right surgeon. Make sure that you do your research on the following:

  1. The procedure: Are you the right candidate and is the procedure right for you? Compare the expectations that you have against those that are achievable through the surgery. Find out about the follow-up care that you will need, how much time you will need to take off from work, physical therapy that may be needed, possible risks and complications, etc.
  2. The hospital: Due to the rising popularity of medical tourism, many overseas hospitals have jumped into the business. When selecting the hospital that's right for your needs, you should consider many things:
    1. Accreditation: This gives you an idea of the hospital's commitment to quality. The accreditation could be local or international such as JCI, JCAHO, ISO, etc.
    2. Awards: This will tell you how recognized the hospital is locally and internationally.
    3. Facility and equipments: To get an idea of the quality standards and how advanced the technology used in the hospital is.
    4. Statistics: 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.
    5. Language: You should ensure that the hospital that you are going to has English speaking staff or at least has translators / interpreters.
  1. The surgeon: Check the qualifications of the surgeons that are employed by the hospital especially the surgeon(s) who will be treating you. Read about them to ensure they have the proper credentials certifications, training, repute, etc.
  2. The destination country: 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:
  1. Quality: Some countries have the repute for top quality cosmetic surgery while others are famous for their world class orthopedics so make your choice accordingly.
  1. Distance: 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 dental care.
  2. Cost: 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.

Keep Your Local Doctor Informed

You should always work with your local doctor and inform him about your decision to travel overseas for treatment. You may need his assistance before the surgery for any X-Rays and medical records/reports that are required by the overseas hospital. His help may be needed post surgery for removing any sutures, bandages, etc., or for any required follow-up checks. After your surgery, you should make sure that you get all the reports, X-Rays and letters from your overseas hospital to that regard.

Have All Your Important Documents In Order

You will need to make sure that you have the following documents in order. For each document, you should make copies and leave one set of copies at a safe place at home.

  1. Medical records: You will need to take with you all your medical records like report from the local surgeon about the illness you are treating, X-Rays, X-Ray reports, immunization record, prescriptions, attestation from your doctor about any unusual or narcotics containing drugs that you might be taking for medical reasons, and any other health records relevant to the surgery you are seeking. If you have any doubt about the legality of carrying a certain drug into a country, consult the embassy or consulate of that country first. If you wear glasses, carry a copy of your eyeglass prescription. To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep medicines in their original, labeled containers. Also check prescriptions for necessary refills. Remember to carry all your medical reports as well as any medicines in your carry-on luggage.
  2. Passport and visa: If you and/or your travel companion (if any) do not have a passport, you will need to acquire it. Some destination countries will need you to have a visa for entry. You should check with that country's embassy for the same. If a visa is required, you will have to apply for that.
  3. Credit cards, debit cards and travelers checks: Bring some local currency, travelers checks and one or two major credit cards and debit cards. Do not carry too much cash and avoid carrying unnecessary credit cards and debit cards. Make a note of the credit limit on each card that you bring. Note down the pin numbers on them and serial numbers on your travelers checks using code language. Leave a copy of this at home with a relative or friend. Talk to your credit card company and make arrangements to pay bills that will come due while you are away.
  4. Driver's license: Carry your driver's license and check it to make sure it will remain valid while you're traveling.

Keep Important Contact Information Handy

  1. Emergency contact information of your relatives and friends
  2. Embassy contact information of the country you are traveling to
  3. Hospital contact information
  4. Hotel contact number
  5. Your local surgeon's / doctor's contact information
  6. The contact information of your employer
  7. International helpline of your bank and credit card companies. The 1-800 numbers may not work from foreign locations.
  8. Contact information of insurance providers for automobile, home and other valuables

Be Prepared To Stay Longer/Shorter Than Expected

You should allow ample time for recovery after your surgery before you travel back home. So be prepared to stay longer as advised by your doctor. In some other cases you may not need to stay for as long as was expected.

For example, John Q was diagnosed with aortic aneurysm and blockage in his arteries and was prescribed aneurysm repair, heart catherization and stents or cardiac bypass(es) by his local cardiologist in the US. At the Indian hospital, his problem was solved by the aneurysm repair and the catherization and it was determined that he didn't need the stents or bypass(es). Thus, John could return home earlier than expected.

Work With A Medical Tourism Company

Last but not the least, work with a medical tourism provider. They 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 and surgeon profiles, medical records transfer, free 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, etc.

Due research and planning are vital to happy, safe and successful medical travel. Therefore, you must do your homework before boarding the plane.

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.

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Healthbase, an award-winning* medical tourism facilitator in USA, is the trusted source for global medical and dental choices, connecting patients to leading healthcare facilities worldwide. We arrange a variety of medical tourism services from basic consultations to full service treatment abroad. We help you to take care of all your medical tourism details from arranging the surgery and financing options to visas, travel, lodging and tourism.

Healthbase caters to the needs of individual consumers, self-funded businesses, insurance carriers, benefit consultants, insurance agents, and third party administrators seeking affordable medical travel and dental travel options. Our state-of-the-art, easy to use, information rich web-based system makes it easy to coordinate international medical care including necessary travel and accommodation for patients and their companions, all at one place.

The cost of surgical care at our ever growing network of affiliated institutions is typically a fraction of the cost of care in the U.S. with equal or superior outcomes. Healthbase arranges first class services for patients at major internationally accredited hospitals in Thailand, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, Belgium, Hungary, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Mexico, USA and is expanding to Canada, UK, Jordan,Taiwan, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, El Salvador and Guatemala.

We offer over two hundred medical, dental and cosmetic procedures in various categories: Orthopedic procedures such as hip replacement, Birmingham hip resurfacing, artificial knee replacement, rotator cuff repair, knee surgery; Cardiac and Vascular procedures like heart bypass (multiple coronary artery bypass graft or CABG), aortic aneurysm repair, heart valve repair, heat valve replacement, angioplasty, RF Ablation; Spinal procedures such as spine fusion, laminectomy, disc replacement; Weight-loss procedures like gastric bypass, lap band, gastric sleeve; Eye procedures like LASIK; Cosmetic and Plastic surgery procedures such as breast augmentation, face lift, rhinoplasty (nose surgery), liposuction; Dental procedures such as orthognathic surgery, dental bridges, dental implants, dental crowns; dental veneers; and hundreds of other procedures in the departments of Urology, General surgery, Wellness and many more. The savings are up to 80% of typical US hospital prices.

Medical Tourism, also termed as Medical Travel, Health Travel, Health Tourism, Global Healthcare, Medical Vacation, Medical Value Travel, Medical Treatment Abroad, International Medical, Surgical Tourism, Surgery Abroad, Surgical Trip, Healthcare Abroad, Medical Outsourcing, offshore Medical and Overseas Medical, is the act of traveling abroad to receive medical, dental and cosmetic care. Significantly lower cost for best practice care is usually the primary motivation behind medical tourism although some medical tourists go abroad for immediate availability of procedures and to seek treatments that are not available in their home country. Patients frequently also take advantage of the opportunity to vacation and tour inexpensively in the foreign country while they are visiting for health care. Signup to know more about medical or dental tourism.

* - Awarded the "Best Website for Accessing International Medical Information for Patients/Consumers" by Consumer Health World 2007.


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