Millions of patients are resorting to obtain treatment in foreign countries in order to save costs, avoid long waiting time, and undergo better quality treatment.
Medical tourists are individuals travelling abroad for medical treatment. As a prospective medical tourist, you might often get confused while attempting to make decisions about your medical trip. Deciding on the destination country, the stay, the right medical travel agent are the most basic, yet the most crucial decisions and require a lot of research.
It often happens that the presence of excessive and even contrasting information on medical tourism prevents one from taking appropriate decisions. Hence, it is necessary that while researching, you exhaust all sources of information and at the same time, learn about the shortcoming of these various sources.
The following points will help you gain comprehensive knowledge about the the benefits and pitfalls of the various available sources of information on medical tourism.
Hospitals can provide you thorough information on the procedure and costs and with medical tourism facilitators, you can connect with them from any part of the world.
Hospitals are the ultimate source of information on medical issues. Your hospital abroad can provide you information on possible methods of treatment, preoperative and postoperative care, technology and equipment used and other important things. They even suggest preferable hotels and tourist guides for your convenience.
The shortcoming of hospitals as a source of information on medical tourism is that any hospital shall advocate itself as the best. In such cases, a hospital with an accreditation should be considered as one with an upper hand over a non-accredited hospital.
The recommended method of treatment is another thing that you should thoroughly research upon. A number of times, the hospital recommends treatments that are in it’s capacity to perform, disregarding alternative options that could be quicker and smoother. For example, robot assisted prostate surgery is a relatively advanced technique and allows for a quicker recovery process. However, many hospitals do not possess this technology and might not even impart awareness of such a technique.
· Friends and Relatives
Friends and relatives are a great source for giving realistic and reliable information. They help you create an understanding of the “Do’s and Don’t’s” of the treatment by reciting their experiences.
Family members can also provide much needed moral support. Knowing that your relative/friend underwent a similar procedure successfully is bound to boost your confidence. Reading patient experiences on websites of medical tourism facilitators can also greatly help.
In many psychological experiments, laws of conformity point to the conclusion that you are substantially more confident to face an alien situation after knowing that a familiar person has been successful under the same.
There are, at the same time, chances that their accounts are exaggerated, or even misleading. Remember that their experiences are specific to them and that you cannot blindly follow their advice without referring to other sources. You can turn to books, the internet and professional medical practitioners for further advice and information.
· Medical Tourism agencies
By virtue of being agents in the industry of Medical Tourism, Medical Tourism Agencies or ‘Facilitators’ are bound to know the A, B, C’s of it. Medical facilitators greatly simplify the process of availing treatment abroad for a patient. Making a patient informed through the simple service of providing a cost estimate can benefit the patient in keeping track of his finances.
Till a great extent, they make the right decision for you, keeping in mind your illness, preferable method of treatment, possible language barriers, cultural considerations, cost considerations and more.
However, what you should realize is that the market for medical facilitators is competitive. In an attempt to become your facilitator, agencies will provide you with options that are lucrative, but without adequate research on your part, you will not know whether the array of options are in your personal best interest.
Be prudent while deciding your facilitator. Study about competing facilitators, look at their pros and cons and see who provides the maximum variety of options before you make the final call.
· Local Doctors
Local doctors are as essential a source of information, as any other. The initial diagnosis of the illness always takes place at the local hospital. This means that your local medical practitioner gives you the immediate treatment, as well as information on how best to take care, get treated and cured.
However, local doctors as information providers can also be faulty. You can suffer due their possible lack of knowledge and experience. In such cases, it is best to get second opinions from another local doctor, or from a reputed clinic abroad. You can even ask for your doctor abroad to suggest alternate treatment plans and for his/her opinion on the basis of your reports.
Always remember to rely on only the credible sources of information while browsing the internet. Websites that end with .gov or .org are usually reliable.
The Internet is probably the biggest source of information on anything and everything, medical tourism being a small part of it. You can learn about a foreign country’s culture, their level of hospitality, pre procedure care for your treatment, and many other such things from this storehouse of knowledge. You can even compare costs of treatment at various hospitals, as well as at various destinations. All this information is just a drop in the ocean.
The only thing to be worried about while consuming information online is to differentiate the credible from the non-credible information. The Internet allows the freedom of speech for people. At the same time, there is a lot of space for bogus data.
Refer to sites while are credible. Credibility of a website can usually be identified by its very name, site design or writing style. For example, you can count on a report published by World Health Organization, or International Medical Travel Journal to be credible. Also, websites with a clear site layout and good english can be considered reliable.
· Patient Testimonials
Patient testimonials are a more diversified version of the information received from friends and family. They do the same job as friend/family, that is, providing information based on real experiences. They are the best source of information when it comes to choosing between a variety of destinations, hospitals and facilitators.
Patient testimonials, though, can often be manipulated. The Internet is the biggest platform where such testimonials are showcased. It is easy for testimonials to be based on aspects that are different from what you are looking for. It is hence advisable that patients testimonials be relied upon only partially.
Being well informed is the key to becoming an ideal medical tourist. There is a lot of information that you need to gather in order to take a successful medical trip. Hence, it is imperative that this information is accurate, reliable and ultimately fruitful.