There are two ways to execute planning when it comes to medical travel. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and both will require a significant amount of research and effort on your part. I wanted to include some tips and ideas for both processes, based on information from Healthcare Hacks.
1. Do it on your own. Hit the internet hard and research medical facilities, patient recommendations, forums, etc.
- Depending on what type of procedure or treatment you need, different countries may be more advanced than others. For instance, Costa Rica is well-known for its impressive plastic surgeons while Mexico pulls in large groups for bariatric surgery and cancer treatments.
- Quality standards. You will need to research quality standards for hospitals and treatment facilities in the country you choose. As I’m constantly reiterationg – they need to be graded by some other agency than themselves for safety, cleanliness, etc.
- Cost effectiveness. Research accommodations and other costs as well as how much the actual procedure or treatment will cost in another country.
- Aftercare considerations. The hospital or treatment center will surely be equipped to deal with whatever you have come there for (because you will be researching this thoroughly before you go). However, in case there is an emergency, do they have a bigger or more advanced hospital close by?
- Network with others who have been through this and find referrals for treatment centers where you are going.
2. Find a medical tourism company or service.
If the task of doing it all yourself seems overwhelming, you can opt to contact a company that specializes in this kind of thing. They do everything from help you source out the best facility for your healthcare needs, to booking your travel for you. Each one operates a bit differently as far as the services they provide.
- A good company should have done all the background checking you would have otherwise had to do. They should be prepared to tell you about the facility and its certifications, biographies on the physicians, and even possibly refer you to patients who have gone through their company that are willing to speak to others.
- Some medical tourism companies offer services for a specific country only; while others are contracted with facilities all over the world.
- Quotes for procedures and treatments. Medical tourism companies will be able to get you quotes from many different facilites and for different procedures much more easily than you can.
- No direct cost to you. All of the medical tourism companies I have seen, receive their compensation from the hospitals they are contracted with, and not the patients/clients.