Medical tourism is a growing trend these days. The idea of getting medically treated, along with basking in the beautiful locales of foreign destinations at the same time can be exhilarating. This has begun to capture the fancy of people worldwide, with India, Malaysia and Mexico being amongst the most preferred destinations.
Medical tourism provides cost-effective treatments that may not be available in the home country, along with the opportunity to explore a new place and culture. This blissful experience can turn sour if the patient does not make a well informed decision.
Listed below are some major follies, which should be avoided as a medical tourist, so as to have a pleasant and purposeful trip:
- Choosing Non-Accredited Hospitals
It is very essential to ensure that the chosen hospital is accredited, i.e. “approved by an official review board after the hospital has met all the standards set for medical tourism”. An accredited hospital has to abide by internationally accepted rules and regulations regarding medical code and professional ethics.
By choosing an accredited hospital, the patient safeguards his right to quality health care and globally recognized medical procedures. A non-accredited hospital has little reason to show its patients any transparency. Some insurance companies can also refuse to cover the cost of treatment accorded by non-accredited hospitals.
- Making Decisions Purely Based On Costs
Attributing cost the highest priority, when deciding on a destination for treatment, is a grave error. More often than not, in the effort to save money, the patient can end up compromising on quality of healthcare to a critical extent.
An MTA Medical Tourism Patient Survey, conducted in 2013, found that nearly 80% of the demand for medical travel is driven by cost savings. This is acceptable, provided that the patient still has satisfaction and health as prime concerns.
While budgeting the trip and other medical expenses is important, it should never be at the cost of quality care.
While planning a trip, remember that quality always overrides cost.
- Not Taking A Second Opinion
It is always advisable to take a second opinion before proceeding with any kind of medical treatment or surgery. In the case of medical tourism, a second consultation is doubly weighted as this makes the patient aware of all his/her options. A second opinion is also required by many insurance companies to provide monetary coverage.
Not taking a second opinion may lead to the patient having an incomplete knowledge of his/her need for treatment, which will indirectly lead to poor decisions.
Being Uninformed About The Procedure
This is one of the most common reasons why patients are left unsatisfied with the end result of their medical treatment. Being ill-informed about the details of the procedure, recovery time and its side-effects may leave the patient with unsettled expectations.
The patient should gather maximum information about the treatment, to be mentally and physically prepared for every situation.
- Going Without A Travel Companion
Medical tourism trips can be strenuous enough without having to deal with appointments,buying medicine and making payments all by yourself.It is always better to have a spouse, friend or parent, travel and stay with the patient throughout your treatment. They will not only help with the nuisances of the procedure, but will also provide the emotional support s/he requires.
- Not Getting Tourism Insurance
Tourism insurance shields a patient financially from any extremity that happens on a medical tourism visit, such as scheduled appointments, complications and travel emergencies.Medical tourism without insurance can prove costly if things ever go awry.
In cases of complications, a medical travel insurance coverage can save as much as $50,000.
- Not Going Through Contracts Thoroughly
It is very important to read the hospital contracts (including the fine print) in its entirety, so that the patient is fully aware of the terms and conditions of his/her stay at the hospital, including payment options. The patient should always read through every line and clause, so that s/he knows what exactly s/he is signing up for.