32-year old Rochelle went to a top-rated cosmetic surgery clinic in Tijuana where she got liposuction procedure for $6000 approximately. A few months later, one of her friends went through the same procedure at another hospital in the same Mexican city but paid $3200. Medical tourism industry is bracing similar problem as hospitality industry when people can pay different prices for same procedures in same town. It is increasingly becoming difficult to choose a medical center abroad that is genuinely authentic, safe, and qualified.
Many people in the medical tourism worldshop for healthcare options by comparing prices in a way they might shop for a car or clothes. What they do not realize is that the cost of a particular treatment procedure at one hospital can vary from another based on several factors. Sometime, this price difference might be double the amount or even more but the centers are not able to justify why there is a price difference. Everyone is selling quality, customer service, price. Again, how can a patient know about differences from one center to another?
We have listed a few important factors that one should consider while comparing the medical centers. So, the final selection score should depend on the key factors such as:
• Years Dealing with Medical Tourism- It is not about the years since when the medical center is functioning. It matters whether a center has experience in dealing with international patients. Specially, how long they have been providing a specific procedure which you are seeking.
• Business Ethics- Ethics are extremely important in the medical tourism sector. Patients should compare the providers to find out which center is more ethically obligated to maintain proper professional conduct, excellent treatment provision and patients’ privacy.
• Business Transparency- There should be complete transparency in everything related to the treatment procedures. You must know how you will be treated, by whom you will be treated, past real patient testimonials, and how much you have to pay for the treatment.
• Patient Communications- Phones, SMS, Email engagement - Quick and satisfactory responses to your queries show how responsible the provider is. Compare the centers that provide real-time fast communication with the patients using instant messaging services, online chat, SMS, email or phone. When the response is quick, you can decide fast.
• Patient Education- As a patient, you cannot be kept in the dark. You have all the rights to know and learn about all the important aspects related to your treatment. Thus, compare the providers considering various mediums and platforms they use to educate patients such as social media, blogs, articles, videos, infographics, etc. The education needs to be factual rather than sales/marketing oriented.
• Patient Online/Remote Consultation- For an international patient, online/remote consultation is very important. When a doctor offers consultation online, it opens the window for direct communication with the patients. You can ask all your queries and share worries with the expert. The centers offering remote consultation definitely should get priority over the ones that don’t.
• Patient Feedback- Lookout for the real feedback of the patients not just what is presented on a website. One of the best things to do here is to check the before and after pictures. This helps you to understand how successful the treatment was and what should be your realistic expectations.
• Patient Review- Reviews from the medical tourists provide an insight into what it is like to get a certain treatment abroad. Good review score signifies their experience has been good or exceeded the expectation.
• Price Transparency- Apart from the treatment cost, when the provider opens up about the other associated expenses, it results into price transparency. As a patient, you must be aware of the factors that may affect price transparency such as all-inclusive treatment cost, travel expenses such as air, hotel; upgraded quality prices, additional treatment, increased hospital stay, etc. And of course, there should not be any hidden cost.
• Fixed Price Packages- One of the best ways to avoid nasty surprises to your medical bills is to go for fixed price package. Compare which center is providing better ‘inclusions’ in the fixed price package before making a decision. A good fixed price package usually includes pre-op consultation, nursing care, surgeon fees, anesthetist fees, medicines, post-op consultations.
Comparing the medical centers will help you get the right treatment at the correct price with the best experience. PlacidWay believes in complete transparency and thus, we urge all the medical tourists to compare the medical centers.
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