Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Medical Travel - Do's and Don'ts

Nikhil Lamba

Medical travel has been a rapidly growing trend in the healthcare industry. With the ever increasing cost of medical treatment and the long waiting time in the developed nations, more and more people are willing to cross the borders to get treated.

Some of the major factors influencing the growth of medical tourism are:

1. Lower cost of treatment
2. Highly skilled doctors
3. No wait time
4. State of the art technology
5. Modern facilities

Even though there are many advantages to medical tourism, there are some concerns as well. In this article, I will discuss some basic points that medical tourists should keep in mind before finalizing their trip, to prevent from getting scammed.

The most important thing to begin with, when considering medical travel, is "RESEARCH". Here are some of the things to check online or with your known ones who have gone through this process.

1. Reputation of your medical tourism company - Many medical tourists take assistance from medical travel companies. Though this turns out a bit more expensive then going at it alone, it does saves you from a lot of hassles.

Hiring the right medical travel agency is key, and for that you should do a through check on the company. The Internet is a good place to see what people are saying about a particular company. Read reviews, if possible email people who have hired them earlier and get their feedback. Understand what you should be looking out for and learn from experience.

Do not choose a medical tourism company just on the bases of price. Reputation is what's important.

2. Reputation of the Doctor and Hospital - Don't leave this decision for the medical tourism company to make. Medical tourism companies are affiliated with some and not all the doctors and hospitals in the country of your interest. Do through research on doctors and choose the one that best suites your needs.

If you leave this decision for the medical travel companies, they just might choose a doctor that best suites their needs and not yours.

3. Before leaving the country, understand what is being offered to you and have that in writing and not promises. Understand everything from hotel stay to travel arrangements. Factor everything in and make sure there aren't any additional costs or taxes that you will have to make payments for. Understand what kind of arrangements will be made during an emergency or if anything untoward happens.

If you are going to be traveling within the country, make sure that the price you are paying for the entire package includes travel and lodging for that too.

4. Price for treatment - By checking a few local websites of doctors, you can get a really good idea of how much locals are charged for a particular treatment. Many a times medical tourists are charged a premium as their willingness to pay is higher. You can negotiate on price, if high, and know that quality will not be hampered.

In short, have a clear understanding of all the aspects of traveling for your medical treatment. Do through research and learn from others mistakes. Make up your own mind as to what you need and prevent from getting influenced.

With millions of people traveling to get operated for procedures like dental treatment, plastic surgery, orthopaedics, IVF treatment etc. medical travel has become safe and acceptable. But still, be cautious and do your research before taking a final decision.

Nikhil Lamba,
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