Medical Tourist 101: How to Be a Modern-Day Medical Tourist

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10/18/2012 | By: Guest Contributor

The lack of efficient medical insurance in the US, the high cost of health care in Europe and poor health care infrastructure in third world countries are all reasons why medical tourism is now a million-dollar industry, growing at a dramatic pace.

With so much on offer, the modern-day medical tourist is challenged to make the right choice when it comes to traveling abroad for health care.

We all know shopping for health care overseas is no picnic; it is hard to distinguish the good doctor, from the bad doctor, from the surgeon who might leave you with a permanent scar or the conditions of the location in which you would be staying while recovering. Needless to say, research is a paramount priority at this point-- but where to start?

The following is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to choose the right doctor in the right health care destination and what to watch out for when researching your treatment abroad.

Doctor’s Credentials:
When browsing a doctor’s website, always keep an eye out for his/her credentials, accreditations, memberships, affiliations with other health care establishments, education and years of experience in the area of specialty.

If you suspect anything in the doctor’s website, research it further. It is very important to feel safe and secure in the hands of your doctor.

Read Patient’s Testimonials:
Patient’s testimonials are always indicative of the doctor’s practice, reputation and stature among peers in the medical community. Read thoroughly into previous patient’s testimonials of their treatment experience with the doctor- their ratings and reasons.

Some doctor’s websites enable you to chat with previous patients to gain a more indepth understanding into his/her surgical experience. Watch out for the manipulative moles who act as actual patients praising the doctor with puff phrases that have no absolute substance.

They are easy to spot, when their testimonials lack in the technical details about the surgery, doctor’s treatment techniques, aftercare and the overall experience at the medical facility.

After you read patient’s testimonials and you are confident in your choice of the doctor, talking to your doctor face-to-face is another level of assurance that can put your concerns to rest. By a face-to-face meeting, we don’t mean you physically visit the doctor’s clinic.

Many physicians today are offering patients the opportunity to talk with them via Skype video conference to discuss treatment options, your expectations of the surgery and recovery period.

Look out for Skype icon and feel free to schedule an on line video conference with your doctor. But before you do, write down all your questions and concerns in a piece of paper; doctors don’t usually have the luxury of time.

Recuperating Overseas:
If there is one thing Americans can be thankful for in the US health care system, it is the post-operative care. In some instances, aftercare quality in the US can surpass the quality of the procedure itself.

Nonetheless this is not something patients should always expect from health care facilities abroad. Aftercare is a key element to the success of your treatment; however it is not taken seriously in many medical tourist destinations.

The following are some of the questions that you must ask your doctor or patient coordinator before you proceed with the treatment overseas:

How long should I stay to recuperate after the surgery?

Will I be checked on by the surgeon who performed my surgery before I leave the country?

If aftercare is needed in my home country, who should arrange this with and can I connect my doctors to communicate my issues to one another?

Will you provide nursing service in my hotel?

What to Pack:
Depending on the type of surgery you have , you might feel sore and immobile, so make sure you pack comfortable, easy to wear clothes.

If you are undergoing breast implants, pack loose, long t-shirts that can be easily worn during the first weeks after your surgery. Also, use an overnight bag with a handle and wheels and avoid using a shoulder bag.

Medical Supplies:
Some hosptial destinations, like Turkey, don’t provide patients with medical supplies for the surgery. This is not true of all Turkish Hospitals but its best to ask ahead of time in order to be fully prepared. Patients could be asked to buy all the necessary medical supplies before the surgery.

Refer to your patient coordinator to find out what medical supplies you should have at the ready before your procedure.

Health Care Laws Overseas:
IVF and assisted reproduction treatments are governed and regulated by many intricate laws that may vary according to each country. When traveling for IVF or surrogacy, your patient coordinator must provide you with sufficient information on IVF and surrogacy laws in your intended destination.

If you are considering surrogacy overseas, consult an attorney experienced in surrogacy and third party reproduction who is experience in international surrogacy law.

After the delivery of your child, there are tedious matters couples should be aware of, such as if couple wishes to bring the baby to their home country.

Depending on the surrogacy laws of each country, there are certain procedures, formalities and paper work to be completed before the couple can bring the baby to their home country.

Some countries like Germany, Norway and France ban surrogacy agreements; whereas surrogacy in India is legal and government regulation or legislation is absent.

Surrogacy in Armenia is allowed to heterosexual and same sex couple--however the surrogate mother in Armenia is to remain anonymous and may not meet the intended parents.

It is of great importance to educate yourself about IVF and surrogacy laws in your country and the intended destination to avoid any hassle or disappointment.

Buddy-Up with your Patient Coordinator:
Think of your patient coordinator as your travel agent of the destination you are traveling to. The patient coordinator‘s job is to ease and smooth your treatment overseas: setting your appointment with your doctor, making sure that you are on the proper medications needed prior to your procedure, and communicating any of your questions with the doctors.  In some cases a PC can help book your hotel accommodations and flight tickets, and follow up with you after the treatment.

It is not uncommon for the patient coordinator to furnish you with information on visa requirements and immigration entry laws of your medical destination, either.

A good patient coordinator should answer all your questions, from the crucial, life-and-death question to “where can I have the best sangria?” type of question (joke). No seriously, they are there to make this confusing process easy and stress free for you. The patient coordinator should be able to offer the CV of the physicians and reports of the hospital.

Additionally, the patient coordinator should have convincing and rational answer to the frequently asked question: what if something goes wrong in the surgery?

He/she should also have a back-up plan if something went wrong with the treatment. What is the legal framework of the country you are visiting?

Simply put: the ultimate duty of a patient coordinator is to make your medical trip as easy, convenient and hassle-free as possible!

Trust your Intuition:
If you think you have done your homework of extensive research and resourceful reading; trust your intuition, pack up and hop on a plane to the treatment destination of your choice.

Have Fun
Traveling is one of the most liberating and exhilarating experiences one can have. And traveling for medical tourism shouldn’t be viewed differently.

Patients traveling for health care overseas get the chance to recuperate in exotic locales, such as Mexico, Turkey, Cyprus, India and Hungary.

Whether you are traveling for tummy tuck in Cancun, or dental implants in Budapest, or just an excuse to travel, enjoy your medical vacation to the fullest and safest.

Speak to one of our Patient Corrdinators today:

US: 714 912-2893
UK: 020 8816-7668
International: +90 212 573 0221
Email: [email protected]




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