Medical Tourism simply refers to people who travel to a different country in order to get medical treatment. At one time it meant traveling from a less-developed country to a highly developed country that had good Hospitals and equipment and the know how to perform different procedures as the same level of care might be available in their own country at that time.
In recent years, medical tourism now refers to travel from developed countries to developing countries in order to get lower-priced treatments, while at the same time the standard of care is excellent.
Top Medical Procedures For Medical Tourism
Patients are now becoming more aware of their medical treatment choices. This means that traditionally popular elective cosmetics today are less common than dentistry. Meanwhile, ophthalmology procedures are also quite popular due to high standards and reasonable costs. Patients are also looking to receive more complex cardiology and orthopedic procedures in other advanced countries.
- Dentistry (Crowns, Veneers, Dental Implants)
- Plastic Surgery (Rhinoplasty, Breast Implants, Liposuction)
- Ophthalmology (Cataract Surgery, LASEK, LASIK)
- Hair Restoration and Hair transplant
- Bariatric Surgery (Gastric Bypass, Gastric Sleeve)
- Reproductive Medicine (IVF or In-Vitro Fertilization)
- Orthopedics (Spine Surgery, Hip Replacement, Knee Replacement)
- Dermatology (Acne Treatment, Mole Removal)
- Cardiology (Heart Valve Replacement, CABG Surgery)
- Oncology (Chemotherapy, Breast Cancer Treatment)
International Healthcare Accreditations
This is the process of certifying a certain level of quality for healthcare programs and providers across multiple countries of the world. International Healthcare Accreditation Organizations will certify a broad range of healthcare systems and programs like care centers, hospitals ambulatory care services and medical transport.
There are various accreditation schemes available based in a number of different countries, however, the most recognized and popular international accreditations include Temos, JCI or Joint Commission International and more accreditations that are recognized by the ISQua or International Society for Quality in Health Care.
Such accreditations signify that clinics and hospitals offer safe and reliable healthcare services to the highest of international standards. Regional and national accreditations are also valuable in research phase since they ensure that hospitals or clinics meet uniform standards. Other common accreditations include those given by the ISO or International Organization Standardization. For instance, a clinic or hospital with ISO 9001 certification demonstrates that they meet general regulatory and customer requirements.
Benefits of Medical Tourism
- You can save up to 70 percent on medical treatments when compared to US prices.
- As medical tourism continues to grow, hospitals and clinics also improve their treatments and methods in order to get accreditations and certifications from well-known institutions.
- Some of the treatments that people require are only available in foreign countries.
- Medical tourism is not just about getting treatment. People can also have a great time with tourism/travel and seeing new places. You get to meet new people from around the world and have many great experiences.
Medical Tourism Problems
Although medical tourism may seem to be a good alternative and give good value, it does carry some risks and potential issues.
The quality of post-operative care also varies, depending on the country and hospital. Furthermore, traveling long distances after surgery can heighten the risk of complications and if is always advisable to plan to stay longer to give yourself more recovery time before returning home.
Issues in quality of care may also arise from linguistic or cultural barriers creating misunderstandings between practitioner and patient. Medical details may be lost in translations such as doses and prescriptions. When you are researching a clinic or Hospital ensure that they have a translator available.
Receiving medical care internationally can subject medical tourists to certain legal issues. The limited nature of litigation in different countries is one of the main reasons for the accessibility of care overseas.
Some countries present themselves as an attractive medical tourism destination by providing some form of a legal solution for medical malpractice and should a problem occur, a patient might not be covered by adequate personal insurance and may not be able to seek compensation through malpractice lawsuits. When you travel for a Medical procedure ensure that you have adequate insurance to cover all eventualities.
Doctors and/or hospitals in some countries might be unable to pay for the financial damages given by a court to a patient who sued them, owing to the doctor and/or hospital not possessing the appropriate insurance cover as well as medical indemnity.
Major ethical issues also surround medical tourism. For instance, illegal purchase of tissues and organs for transplant had been studied and documented in countries like the Philippines, Colombia, China, and India.
Medical tourism also raises wider ethical issues for countries that promote it. For instance, some countries have become so busy and have prioritized foreigners over their local patients and are generally finding it difficult to get the care that they need.
See For Yourself
And finally, take a look at this insight from the world famous journalist, Morgan Spurlock, as he checks out the services on offer at Thailand’s incredible Bumrungrad Hospital: