If you have reservations about medical tourism, you are not alone. Most normal people would frown at the thought of having a heart bypass or a hip resurfacing procedure in a country they have never set their foot in before. And, if you further revealed that the host is a third-world country, they would probably faint.
Though such impressions largely stem from our lack of knowledge about the foreign land, to say that medical tourism is without issues would not only be wrong, but also misleading. However, the good news is there are possible solutions for every issue associated with medical tourism to help you successfully achieve your objective of low cost high quality medical or dental care overseas.
Here are top 5 medical tourism concerns usually cited by people along with practical ways of getting around them.
Concern #1: Unfamiliarity with the Overseas Provider
How can I trust a provider I have never visited before and hardly know anything about?
What You Can Do
This is a justified concern. Although in most cases you are deprived of the luxury of physically checking out the overseas facility before commencing your trip, there is still a lot you can do to ascertain it meets your standards and requirements before committing to it.
For instance, gather information like hospital profile, its accreditations and affiliations, surgeon qualifications, ask for previous patient testimonials, and so on.
"Based on the hospital profile, their success and infection rates that I saw on the website, I was quite comfortable seeking treatment overseas. Healthbase provided the doctors’ bios and all of the procedures they had performed which really put me at ease," says Joe Lindt, a Coloradoan who had his triple cardiac bypass surgery in India last year coordinated by Healthbase.
Concern #2: Concerns about aftercare
What about follow-up care? Who can I contact if I need help after I return?
What You Can Do
In general, most international providers allow a longer hospital stay compared to US providers so foreign patients have ample time to recover under the supervision of their surgeon, physical therapist and medical team before going back to their country.
Additionally, it is also advised that you keep your local doctor informed about your medical travel trip as you might need his help with furnishing medical records needed before the surgery and for any follow-up care after your return. Before returning home, make sure to ask your overseas provider for all post-op reports, X-Rays, lab reports and letters so aftercare is made easy.
For peace of mind before, during and after your medical travel trip, we recommend you work with a medical tourism facilitator that not only pre-screens overseas hospitals for quality and makes logistics arrangements but also connects you with local providers at home for any follow-up care needed.
Concern #3: Weak Malpractice Laws
Weak malpractice laws overseas means you have little legal recourse in case of a surgery gone bad. What can I do if faced with such a situation?
What you can do
Medical malpractice can occur overseas just as it can and does in the US. However, it should be understood that low malpractice insurance costs is one of the main reasons why healthcare is so much cheaper abroad. To avoid or minimize instances of botched jobs use only high quality healthcare providers, which means those that are accredited or have demonstrated their commitment towards quality.
If for any reason you are dissatisfied with the service provided, try to resolve the matter by talking with your provider. If there was a mistake on their part they will do everything they can to fix it. So rest assured that if you have done your homework well in selecting the right provider and surgeon expertise, you will get the care you were promised.
Additionally, if you use a specialized medical tourism facilitator they will be there to work with the hospital on your behalf should there be any issues. You can also avail yourself of new insurance products that are being developed to protect individuals against medical malpractice specifically for out-of-domicile medical travel.
Concern #4: Long Flight
How do I deal with long flights involved in my overseas medical travel trip?
What You Can Do
One solution is to choose a destination that's geographically closer to home so your flight is shorter. Another plausible solution is to fly business class on the return leg of the journey so you have more room to move about.
Richard Paquette, a bilateral hip resurfacing patient suggests, "I think that one should consider maximum comfort on their return flight. If you are not an average size individual I would highly consider the additional costs of returning business class if at all possible."
Richard Paquette snorkeling in California just 12 weeks
after his bilateral hip resurfacing surgery in India
Concern #5: Being away from family and friends at the time you need them the most
How will I be able to manage it all in the foreign country by myself?
What You Can Do
Patients are encouraged to go with a companion. Not only will you have some company down there during your treatment and recuperation, but also you will have help in case you need it. Make sure you have international calling cards to keep in touch with your family back home. Most overseas providers also provide Internet connection in your room so you can stay in touch with them through email. Lastly, think positively. You are going overseas just for a few weeks and when you return home you will be with your near and dear ones during recovery.
Seeking medical care is never without concerns whether sought at home or overseas. However, through proper planning and preparation you can get around these concerns and enjoy a happy, safe and successful medical travel experience.
To aid you in your arrangement of logistics involved in medical tourism, like surgeon and provider selection, scheduling of surgery, travel, rehabilitation, aftercare and so on, you may want to seek help from a medical tourism facilitator that specializes in connecting you with top quality hospital and providing valuable services like detailed information about hospitals and surgeons, online medical records transfer, free surgery quote, pre- and post-consultation with the overseas hospital, medical and dental loan financing, immigration document services like passport and visa acquisition, airport pick-up and drop-off, hospital escort, language translation, air tickets booking, travel insurance, hotel booking, tourism services in the destination country, feedback and testimonials from previous patients, and many more.
Healthbase, a Boston-based medical tourism and dental tourism facilitator, is a one-stop source for global medical and dental choices, connecting patients to leading healthcare providers around the world. Healthbase coordinates over 200 for a fraction of the cost in the US with equal or superior outcomes. To ensure that patients receive the best care possible, Healthbase works mainly with hospitals that have international accreditations like JCI. Healthbase caters to the needs of individual consumers, self-funded businesses, insurance carriers, health benefit plan consultants, third party administrators and those using Consumer Directed Healthcare Plans (CDHPs) or voluntary benefits plans seeking affordable medical travel and dental travel options. To learn more, call 1-888-691-4584, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.Healthbase.com