How to choose a medical provider abroad when considering medical tourism?
Choosing medical care in a foreign country is a very important decision to make. A decision which comes with its risks, but also with tremendous advantages. As with any medical experience there are some risks that come along, and when the need to travel in a foreign country is added, you could says that these risks double.
There are a lot of factors to be taken into consideration and questions to ask before this experience. One of the most important ones is 'How to choose a medical provider abroad when considering medical tourism?'. There are so many options, so many clinics and hospitals claiming to be the best, to have modern equipment and the highest trained medical staff. Tough choice to make!
Steps to be made when choosing a clinic
Once you have chosen your country, you have to find a clinic. You can get the information you look for by using the internet or by calling them directly. In both ways, what you need to do is to find out as much information about the healthcare provider as possible. Ask for any literature or brochures they have, details of the background and qualifications of the physicians, credentials, testimonials from former patients and have some questions prepared for them. You should also find out as much as you can about the clinic from independent sources, such as online forums or review sites.
Check their licensing, accreditations and professional memberships
You should check the qualifications and credentials of any doctor or dentist before you book with them. First find out which are the most important associations in that respective country: American Medical Association (US), Mexican American Hispanic Physicians Association (Mexico), German Medical Association (Germany), etc. Any physician should be happy to show you their credentials and answer to whatever questions you might have. If they are unwilling to prove their qualifications, licenses or memberships, you should move on to another practitioner.
Also check if your chosen hospital or clinic is formally inspected and regulated by the relevant authorities in that country, for example the government health ministry.
Although association memberships, qualifications and registrations do not guarantee the surgeon's skill or the quality of work, they do confirm a commitment to national and international standards and practices.
Check their experience
After checking the credentials and everything you need to make sure they are a safe choice from the legal point of view, go to the next step. Check how many years of experience they have and how many patients with your medical condition they have treated or how many cosmetic surgeries they have performed, for example. Ask questions about the initial consultation, details about the surgical procedure, how long will it take, how it will be performed, what type of anesthetic will be used, what care will you receive after the surgery, how long will it take to recover, how long will it take until you would be able to go home. Most importantly, ask about the price: what is included and what not, make sure there are no hidden costs.
Have your questions prepared
Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- How often have the surgeon and anaesthetist worked together before?
- How often do they perform this procedure?
- Will the anesthetist perform a pre-op and a post-op evaluation?
- How much recovery time does the procedure entail?
- How long will you be hospitalized?
- Do they recommend that you are accompanied by a companion?
- How soon after the operation can you go home?
- Will the operation take place in a private hospital or at the doctor’s clinic?
- What are the success rates for the procedure? Do they have any clinical outcome data?
- What happens in the first day after surgery — what aftercare and rehabilitation is provided?
- Can they provide patient testimonials, or can you speak to past patients?
How to compare and choose among different medical providers?
Let's say you have already spoken to a number of physicians. But what do you do if all of them seemed the perfect choice? They all have years of experienced, they all are members of important associations, all have successfully performed the procedure you need, etc.
There are still some details which can help you make the difference:
- Price of the treatment.
- Reputation of the surgeons.
- Facilities of the clinic.
- Length of stay policy.
- Results of independent inspections and reports.
- Infection rates and return to theatre rates.
- Convenience (such as all-inclusive packages).
- Feedback from previous patients.
Also, do not ignore your gut instinct. If you have any reservations, or have second thoughts about a clinic for any reason, then move on to the next one. Treatment abroad may be cheaper, but it will still cost a significant amount of money, that is why you should choose somewhere that you trust and have confidence in. If any clinic tries hard sell techniques, move on straight away.
Remember, the results of your procedure, whether it’s cosmetic, dentistry or a bariatric surgery, will be with you for the rest of your life, so you need to do as much research as possible and be as sure as you can be about the choice you make. You need to feel confident in the clinic and surgeon who will be treating you, so ask as many questions as you need to. Any high quality clinic will be pleased to help put your mind at rest.
PlacidWay is a medical tourism company that partners with the best medical providers, in order to facilitate the best medical tourism experience for each and every patient. The company offers assistance with every detail of the journey and makes sure that people who choose medical care abroad will get the best out of this experience.