With a recent surge of popularity in Medical Tourism, eyes are turning to foreign nations in search of quality, affordable medical care. Yet, for every brave new soul that ventures to a foreign land for medical attention there is another one standing skeptical of the reliability of this health care trend. Images of third-world countries with rickety, rusty hospital beds and unsanitary IV’s flash through their mind bringing doubts that Medical Tourism could be anything besides simply unthinkable.
If you would consider yourself to be part of this second group of skeptics, you may be (pleasantly) surprised to know that Medical Tourism can be done in a way that is 100% trustworthy and safe–just as safe, if not even more, than the medical attention you would receive in your home country. If you would consider yourself to be part of the first group, ready to jump on a plane tomorrow for cost-efficient medical attention, it may be good to listen up and consider the necessary steps you should take in order to ensure your experience is safe and professional from beginning to end.
Medical Tourism: How To Stay Safe
Those little slips of paper go a long way when it comes to your safety in pursuing foreign medical attention. Quacks can slip in anywhere you go (even in your home country). It’s crucial to ensure that the practice and medical professional whom you will be working with have all the necessary accreditations to perform the specific procedure you’re looking for.
When checking the accreditation of various clinics and professionals, you’ll want to first understand the system of accreditation and which accrediting organizations to look for. You’ll have to be on the look out for accrediting organizations that will give accreditation to an organization for a fee, rather than thou roughly checking the quality of care. While accreditation is not an end-all-be-all for Medical Tourism it is certainly a good place for beginners to start.
According to News Medical, when it comes to medical tourism, the International Society for Quality (ISQua) in Health-Care is the top dog in accrediting organziations. As News Medical explains, these are the “accreditors of accreditors.” You’ll want to make sure any accrediting organization is first accredited by the ISQua.
2. Check The Country’s Standard Of Care
It’s important to note that in different countries, the standard of care for a specific procedure may vary. In the US, a doctor may need a certain level of education or a specific certification that a doctor abroad may not need in order to perform the same procedure. Ethical issues or legal practices may vary between countries. Similiarly, the overall expectations of acceptable forms of care will change from country to country, as well. Make sure to do your research on what other medical tourists are saying about countries around the world. Take some time to understand your countries of choice and it will go a long way in keeping you safe.
Costa Rica is known to be one of the top countries for Medical Tourism. The close proximity to the US, and its visa-free policy for US passport holders make it a hassle-free option. You will find a high quality of medical care here that is simply unmatchable for the cost.
3. Check Reviews And Get Advise From Previous Medical Tourists
Fortunately, medical tourism has come a long way and a sizeable number of medical tourists have paved an ever-developing road for newbies to traverse with a bit more ease than their predecessors. Make sure to check reviews and make sure whichever medical practice you choose is well known and well recommended by other foreigners. You can utilize great online resources, such as, Patients Beyond Borders, to help you find great clinics and professionals.
4. Check The Medical Professionals Credentials
If you’ve done your research on the country, and the specific medical clinic’s accredidation, it’s now time to ensure you choose the right medical professional. By choosing the best country, and best medical clinic, your chances of running into an inexperienced doctor are significantly reduced. However, it’s still important to take the time to research the specific medical professional you will work with.
What You Should Know About Your Doctor:
-How long have they been working for that specific clinic?
-What is their educational background?
-What is their experience in performing the specific procedure you’re looking for?
-What is their reputation? Have they worked with foreigners before? What do people say about their work?
Medical Tourism, although a fairly new concept among the first world, is a completely reliable and cost efficient way to receive quality medical attention. There will always be a level of risk involved in all things, but with a little prior research, Medical Tourism can be a safe and trustworthy alternative to the overly expensive medical care in your home country.
Do you have personal experience with Medical Tourism? What tips would you add to this list?