With the growth of medical tourism, there are a lot of destinations where you can go for a peaceful, relaxing and affordable treatment. After finalizing a destination, it can be a difficult task selecting a particular hospital for treatment considering you're sitting thousands of miles away and only have the respective hospitals' websites to compare and make a choice.
To make it easier for a medical tourism patient, we have assembled 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 a few clinics and then use the following considerations to select their final hospital.
International accreditation bodies take the guesswork out of the hospital research process by evaluating hospitals and examining if they meet certain healthcare standards. Hence, the first thing a patient should check is if the hospital has any international accreditation.
Popular and reputed accreditation include Joint Commission International (JCI), Accreditation Canada International (ACI), Australian Council for Healthcare Standards International (ACHSI) and QHA Trent Accreditation.
During your research, it is important to consider the distance to a medical tourism destination. In case of a debilitating 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 published a chapter on health considerations for air travel.
It is a good idea to compare prices between different hospitals if you are cost sensitive. A hospital in a developed country like Belgium will have different prices than the one in a developing country like India. But remember, 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.
During your communication with the hospital, it is a good idea to 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.
Upon request, a hospital should be happy to provide the safety level for the hospital. You should check for complaints, reviews and accidents. You should also inquire about any recent infection episodes and inspections by regulatory bodies.
Find out what facilities are provided by a particular hospital. Does the hospital provide airport pickup? What languages are spoken by the hospital staff and 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.
Find out 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 trade off 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.