International medical tourism relates to travel for purposes of visiting health care facilities in other countries. The person’s visit may have different goals. Basically it is possible to obtain high-quality health care services, or general health rehabilitation (recreation medical tourism). Most often, the patient travels to another country, if he can’t get the full treatment in his own country.
The Risks of Medical Tourism
Patients who travel on their own and do not use the services of an agency may be in danger. The most unpleasant situations that can happen are:
- The use of the services of low-skilled specialists. Everywhere you can find a clinic willing to provide medical services, but they are not always reputable. In pursuit of cheapness you might not get the desirable treatment. Therefore it is better to use the services of large, reputable, proven medical centres.
- Everyday problems. A person going to another country, usually worries about the fact that he does not know the local language, has no idea where the clinic is situated and cannot be sure- especially due to his own health concerns. However, all these problems are solved with the help of an agency who will meet you at the airport, provide an interpreter, accommodate you in a hotel. You will pick up the best clinic and they will take you to the clinic, so you don’t get lost.
- Fraud. A person can search the website, where the ‘owners’ present themselves as representatives of the German, Israel clinics or other countries with well-developed medicine. However, after the transfer of money to their accounts the patient will not receive any medical service. He will come to the place of treatment but no one meets him at the airport, and he is not expected in the clinic. You can suspect the fraud based on the low prices you were quoted for the treatment. To avoid fraud, it is wise to sign the contract with the people whose services you will use.
Benefits of Medical Tourism
Visit of another country for treatment has a number of advantages for the person and opens new opportunities. The most important benefits that make medical tourism attractive to millions people are:
- The opportunity to obtain high-quality health care, regardless of place of residence. The development of medicine is better in some countries (e.g., Germany). If a person cannot receive the appropriate treatment that allies with his expectations and therapeutic purposes, it is always possible to check the best clinics of developed countries.
- Cost Efficient. Sometimes the patient can be treated at home, but it will be even more expensive than abroad. Here the person can travel outside his country to save money, while receiving medical services of equivalent quality.
- Ability to use methods that are banned in the country of the patient’s residency. For example, in some states it is forbidden to use surrogate motherhood, alcoholism treated by sewing the skin capsules with disulfiram or perform organ transplants.
- The opportunity to receive high-quality service. Many patients prefer the comfort. Some diseases demand a lengthy period of treatment and subsequent rehabilitation. During this period the patient wants to stay in a comfortable environment. He is ready to increase the cost of treatment and travel abroad to get this.
- Access to prompt medical services. In some countries (Canada, UK), patients have to wait their turn before they can receive treatment. But in the meanwhile the disease progresses, so the earlier the treatment starts, the better the prognosis. These patients sometimes go to another country, to immediately begin treatment without waiting months for their turn.
Generally, medical tourism has far more pros than cons. It gives millions of people around the world an opportunity to improve their health, using the services of the best hospitals and doctors in the world.
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova