Medical tourism is perhaps one of the currently fastest growing markets in the world. It has been increasing rapidly as international patients are discovering affordable and quality healthcare on hospitals abroad. From having been a marginal occurrence, it has started to revolutionize international health care as an increasing number of hospitals are opening up to receive the increasing numbers of medical tourists.
These medical tourists comes from all types of countries, all looking for affordable and quality health care. Hospitals aiming to respond to this increase in medical travellers have built up first class facilities with modern equipments and are staffed with highly qualified medical personnel. For many medical tourists these international hospitals have provided solutions when being subjugated to domestic healthcare issues, such as not being sufficiently covered by insurance, line-ups and type of medical treatment available.
The fact remains that medical services are being outsourced just like so many other types of businesses have been before. Questions will always remain whether or not this is the best way to go about, but as millions of people have been undergoing successful operations abroad more are likely to follow. Many hospitals abroad have even been able to prove higher rates of operation success compared to many hospitals in the Western world! As a result medical tourism is likely to increase.
Why travel abroad for surgery?
Lower costs is the main reason to travel abroad for surgery. Some international hospitals can charge much less than Western hospitals because their overall costs are much lower. These lower costs are affected by in general lower salaries, rentals, electricity and administration etc.
The quality of healthcare on many foreign hospitals is excellent and could be hard to obtain at home, at least not for the amount of money that you would be willing to pay. Many of the hospitals can offer you, a private room, delicious food and a personal attendant for a very low cost besides excellent health care.
The shortage of line-ups is another main advantage with health care abroad. In most cases you will be able to expect immediate treatment for your ailment. So even if you might have access to free health care or the ability to afford it, line-ups for certain medical procedures at your local hospital can be discouraging. International hospitals targeting international patients often have nonexistent queues that enables you to undergo your medical procedure whenever is suitable to your needs.
Flexibility is yet another advantage as many of the hospitals abroad can cater to your specific requirements and wishes. You can decide for yourself what type of operation you wish to undertake and how much of the other services you wish to include.
Which destination to choose ?
Depending on the medical procedure you wish to undertake, certain destinations might be better suitable than others to cater to your specific requirements. Singapore has emerged as a medical centre for very advanced cutting edge procedures. India has been able to offer quality operations for a very low cost. Thailand has much experience in medical tourism and seems to have developed a very attractive health care package for foreigners. We have on our website chosen to focus on 12 major medical destinations. These are spread all over the world, and hopefully you will be able to find a destination that suites your to requirements. (read more about destinations)
One of the main disadvantages with going abroad for a medical treatment is if a complication would occur. When choosing which hospital to go to for your medical procedure, it is therefore of outmost importance to make an assessment of what types of insurance/guarantees the hospital might be able to offer you if something should go wrong. Some of the questions that needs to be answered are:
1. What type of insurance are you covered by if anything should go wrong?
2. Can you receive a financial compensation?
3. Do they offer free follow up procedures (if not, to what costs)?
4. How well prepared is your local hospital to deal with post treatment complications?
Quality on hospitals
Most of the hospitals in our destination countries have rigorous health practising standards and relies on a well educated staff to be able to meet the high standards set by medical travellers. Many of the doctors in the destination countries are also well educated, experienced and have been practising abroad and/or are members of doctors associations guaranteeing that a high quality is achieved. Additionally several international hospitals cooperate with prestigious hospitals in the west such as John Hopkins & Harvard Medical School. Many hospitals on our lists are also JCI or ISO 9001:2000 certified, indicating that they are actively working with quality assurance systems as a way of their daily practices. And finally it should be indicated that many hospitals have been able to provide an impressive track record on several surgeries performed. As always certain hospitals & clinics might not be able to deliver the quality of care to be expected. Therefore we urge our readers to be critical and to carefully investigate the pros and cons on the hospital that you have in mind. Our travelchecklists is a tool that facilitates this process.