The growth of medical tourism has made it easy and affordable to get medical treatments anywhere in the world. There are a lot of destinations where you can go for a peaceful, relaxing and affordable treatment. After you have finalized a destination, it is still a tiresome task selecting a particular hospital for treatment. As you are thousands of miles away from your destination with access of respective hospitals’ websites to compare and make a choice. It becomes quite difficult to finalize your choice.
To make it easier for a medical tourism patient, we have drawn together a seven step checklist that will aid a medical tourist for selecting a hospital abroad for treatment. It is advisable to the medical tourist to shortlist few options and then use the following considerations to select their final hospital.
Look for accreditation of the hospital you plan on getting medical treatment. International accreditation bodies take the guesswork out of the hospital research process. They have evaluated hospitals and then given accreditation if they meet certain healthcare standards. You will be able to understand the standard of the place you plan on visiting.
Popular and reputed hospital accreditation include Joint Commission International (JCI), Accreditation Canada International (ACI), Australian Council for Healthcare Standards International (ACHSI), QHA Trent Accreditation, Quality Council of India (QCI), National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH), etc.
During your research, it is important to consider the distance to the medical tourism destination. In case of a debilitating health condition, it is important to choose a destination which is not very far.
Going to a hospital abroad is for the patient’s own benefit but air travel can complicate the condition. Consult with your local doctor about all the risks involved with air travel. World Health Organization has a section dedicated on health considerations for air travel. Generally, it is beneficial to choose a medical travel destination within the same continent. This will save long distance travelling before/after the surgery as well as to minimize costs.
The first thing to consider before choosing a hospital abroad is the expense. Make detailed comparison prices between different hospitals. Look for developing country like India where you can have the best facility in a cost effective price than of a developed country in Europe or USA. Also different hospitals within the same country can also have widely different prices for the same condition. Hence, it is important to clarify the cost of your treatment with your hospital before booking your trip.
4. Doctors and Hospital Staff
During your process of finalizing a hospital it is best to start communication with the hospital. Ask about the doctor who will treat you. Most hospitals have doctors’ profiles listed on their website. Check the profile for the doctor’s basic training qualification, and the amount and the kind of experience for the doctor in that medical field. In addition to checking the doctor’s profile, you should inquire about the hospital staff that will attend you as well. Collect information before your final call.
5. Safety Profile
While you research for your hospital ask them to provide the safety level for the hospital. You should check for complaints, reviews and accidents. Also look into any information about any recent infection episodes and inspections by regulatory bodies.
Check out what facilities are provided by a particular hospital before you finalize. Enquire if the hospital provides airport pickup? What languages are spoken by the hospital staff and if there are translators available? Does the hospital help arrange travel logistics for you? What kind of rooms are available and assigned to you? If cost is a consideration, definitely ask if you have pay extra to obtain certain facilities. Consider all facilities then make the final call for your medical treatment.
7. Medical Equipment and Technology
The checklist remains incomplete without all the information related to the procedure you want to get treatment for. Are there any new technologies or equipment available for that treatment? You can also ask the hospital if any new types or methods of treatment are available. A good hospital will often update its equipment with new developments in the medical field.
Before zeroing in on a hospital, it is important to ask which of the above seven points matter most to you? It is often a tradeoff between different considerations. For example, if cost saving is your top priority, the hospital you choose might not have the most up and coming up medical technology available. So, consider your priorities and use our checklist above to make an informed choice.