Not all medical destinations are equal.
Choose a medical destination that matches both your medical needs and your personal needs. By asking yourself these questions, you have a better chance of selecting a medical destination that’s right for you.
17 questions to know your medical travel personal profile
- Do you need a highly specialized surgeon or physician?
- Do you need sophisticated state-of-the-art technology?
- Do you have to be relatively near to your home, family or friends?
- Is cost the most important factor?
- Are you on a tight schedule?
- Are you on a budget?
- Are you also making a holiday out of the trip?
- Does it matter if other people know you have had a medical procedure abroad?
- Are you concerned about language and communication?
- Does seeing poverty on a large scale bother you a lot?
- Are you concerned about social and cultural customs? Or religious practices?
- Is this a one-time-only event for you?
- Will you require some time for recovery before returning home?
- Will someone be accompanying you, or are you traveling alone?
- How well-traveled are you or have you ever lived abroad?
- What level of personal comfort do you want (a) in the hospital, (b) in non-hospital accommodations – from 3-star to 5-star? private standard or private VIP?
- Do you have a passport that is valid for at least six months?
11 questions about your medical travel procedure or treatment needs
- Is this major surgery?
- Is this elective surgery?
- Do you have access to all reports of investigations and recommendations of any doctor who has seen you?
- Does your local physician support your medical travel?
- Do you know the duration of each stage of your procedure will take?
- Pre-surgery preparations, surgery, immediate post-surgery recovery, and post-discharge care management?
- Is this “original” surgery, or corrective or follow-up surgery?
- Do you have any special physical or medical needs, allergies, or conditions?
- Are you concerned whether the hospital or clinic is certified?
- How worried are you about complications either during surgery or after surgery?
- What other concerns do you have?
How to Find The Best Hospital And Doctor
Are you ready to choose the best hospital or doctor to treat you? – All hospitals are not the same. Even the best hospitals in one country may not be as good for you as the best hospitals in another country. You may want to first choose a country to go to and then find a hospital or doctor there who can take care of you.
Choose the best quality hospital for your treatment that you can afford and that acknowledges that you need treatment and care especially as a medical traveler.
Is the hospital accredited? -Hospitals must be accredited, either by a country’s national health care accreditation board, or an international accreditation board.
The accreditation systems of Canada, Australia, and other western countries were established 70 years ago. Their review boards rigorously and regularly monitor patient outcomes, problems in surgery, and problems aftercare.
Compare these countries to India, United Arab Emirates, China, and others whose national accreditation boards are 10-15 years old or less. Do these countries have the same history, experience and monitors as the other countries?
Does the hospital have a medical tourism certification? – A hospital with MTQUA medical tourism certification understands that medical tourists are not ordinary patients. Because medical tourists are travelers, away from home and family, they need special attention in treatment and care in order to get the best possible, lasting results.
A medical tourism certified hospital works constantly to improve its own quality of care for medical tourists.
How do you pay the hospital? – Does the hospital take your insurance or health plan?
If you are a self-pay patient or sponsored by your government, what special financial arrangements does the hospital have so that your treatment is not interrupted if you can’t pay the bill immediately or in advance?
What is the amount and form (e.g. cash, bank transfer) of advance payment required?
Does the hospital offer you a doctor who has experience and success with your condition? – How does the hospital select a treating doctor for you? What choices do you have? Is there full disclosure of the success of the hospital and doctors in treating your condition?
Under what conditions can you request a second opinion? What if you change your mind and don’t want to undergo treatment?
What is the hospital’s reputation? – Does it have good reviews or high ratings on the internet? Internet ratings are not reliable especially for “foreign” hospitals as there are not enough inputs to show quality or reliability. Be very cautious of ratings, patient reviews, and word-of-mouth comments in forums.
How to find the medical destination that’s best for you
Choose a medical destination not just for its tourist attractions,
Be careful if choosing to go to a medical facility that is not in a major urban center. You want the best hospital and best doctor, don’t you? The best hospitals and the best doctors are rarely found outside the major cities in any country.
Be prepared to find differences among countries, and hospitals in these countries, as to
- Pain medication
- Diagnostic methods
- Right to life
- Right to die
- Patient information and patient rights
- Patient privacy
- And other health-related issues that may be important to you or your treatment
It is not possible to “certify” a country as a top medical destination. Even most cities or regions in a country cannot be considered good medical destinations.
Bangkok, Thailand, for example, has more than a dozen international-style hospitals that treat medical tourists. But the popular Thai beach resorts of Pattaya and Phuket have one international-style hospital each. Are Pattaya and Phuket as good a choice for you as Bangkok?
Depending on the treatment you are seeking and the risk you want to take as a trade off for quality, safety and cost, hospitals in any of these cities may be acceptable. It’s your decision.