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I’ve posted safety and informational tips on finding quality medical care abroad before, but I wanted to include these tips in conjunction with the previous post. It includes some insightful and unique information on medical travel research–follow these guidelines from the San Francisco Sentinel when learning more about medical travel abroad:

Accreditation is key. Joint Commission International is the organization that makes sure foreign institutions are meeting necessary standards. Try to find a hospital or facility that is JCI certified.

Look for affiliations. Hospitals linked to prominent American institutions can provide additional comfort that standards are being met. For example, Johns Hopkins has its own international medical center in Singapore.

Flight times matter. If you’ve just had major surgery, getting on a long post-surgery flight may not be an immediate option. Consider adding on some recuperation time in your host country, or look to the increasing number of short-haul options in places like Mexico and Costa Rica.

Bring back your files. Complications happen, so make sure your hometown doctors have all the information they need for any follow-ups. Don’t head back to the U.S. without your X-rays, bloodwork, prescriptions.

 Avoid trouble spots. If a country is embroiled in political or social unrest, there’s no sense in taking any chances. There are plenty of safe, stable options. “I understand why people want to stay at their local hospital,” says Hambleton, who went back to the same Monterrey hospital for hand surgery last year. “But the facilities abroad are phenomenal — and if you’re an American, you go straight to the top of the list.”