Patient’s Guide: how to prepare for treatment abroad
Every year, millions of people travel to other countries to receive medical services. This phenomenon is commonly called medical tourism. If initially people from less developed countries went to foreign clinics to get qualified care, now one of the main reasons for such trips is savings.
The main directions of medical tourism are:
- Medical - a patient with a certain diagnosis chooses a clinic and a doctor and goes for a specific treatment
- Diagnostic - the patient doubts the diagnosis and goes for the advice of highly qualified specialists
- Wellness - the patient goes to another country to improve their overall well-being
Interest in foreign trips for medical purposes is also growing. More and more people want to get qualified assistance abroad.
Why want to be treated abroad?
There are several reasons for this, but we can distinguish the main ones:
- There is no trust in the domestic healthcare system
- High quality of medical services and service standards
- Lack of modern medical centers in the native country
- The opportunity to be treated in the best medical centers by world-class specialists
- Advanced technologies and the most modern devices
- The cost of treatment in many countries is lower than at home
- No need to collect endless papers and permits
- The possibility of combining treatment and rest in another country
- Confidentiality: many famous people are afraid of revealing information about their diseases or aesthetic operations
What countries choose for treatment abroad?
Germany and Israel traditionally top the rating of the most favorite countries. Switzerland, Spain, Austria, South Korea and China are also popular.
• Germany is a place for well-off patients. It is chosen by those for whom the cost does not matter much, but they want to get the famous German quality, accuracy and good service. And if rich pacients visit German medical centers, then German residents tend to save money and go to the Czech Republic, Hungary or Croatia for treatment.
• Israel is a more accessible and comfortable country. Usually people come here to diagnose serious diseases and treat cancer. It also attracts medical tourists and the possibility of recovery on the Dead Sea. Israel is visited by about 30 thousand patients every year, and this is not surprising: the promised land is famous for good medicine and relatively low prices for services, even though the rates for foreign citizens are on average 50% higher than for local residents. It is worth noting that the cost of treatment is not controlled by the Ministry of Health, so each clinic chooses what price policy to adhere to in relation to foreign patients.
Top 10 countries for medical tourism
Every year, the Association of Medical Tourism makes a rating of the best locations for medical tourism. To make the opinion as honest and unbiased as possible, experts evaluate dozens of criteria: reputation, high level of professionalism of doctors and clinics themselves, service, cost of treatment, rehabilitation period, etc.
In 2020, the top 10 places are as follows:
The Canadian health care system is one of the most efficient. One has only to look at the average life age of Canadians – 80.7 years.
Medicine in Canada is conditionally free, that is, partially funded by the state. Before visiting the country, tourists must purchase an international insurance policy.
They go to Canada for the treatment of infertility, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, to eliminate problems with the musculoskeletal system and the gastrointestinal tract.
The World Health Organization has named Singapore's clinics the best in Asia. The technical equipment of hospitals has always been a strong point of this country. They go to Singapore for the most advanced medical technologies, such as high-precision radiation therapy and minimally invasive robotic operations. Many people come here to treat infertility, eye diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. Alternative medicine (acupuncture, herbal medicine, aromatherapy, etc.) is also popular here.)
22 clinics in Singapore have received the JCI. Joint Commission International – the largest organization for the accreditation of medical institutions, the "Gold Standard of Healthcare". More than 600 medical institutions in 57 countries are accredited according to JCI standards.
Japan is famous all over the world for its high-tech minimally invasive surgery. In some areas, Japan is ahead of the health care of the leading Western countries, which is the result of the continuous development of technology and the high qualification of doctors. The excellent quality of medical services in Japan is combined with a relatively low cost. Prices for treatment are controlled by special Unified Fee Schedule regulations.
Spaniards have no equal in transplantology. They also come here because of oncology, gynecological and neurological diseases, and abdominal diseases. Women choose Spanish perinatal centers for childbirth. Spanish clinics employ doctors who are regularly included in the rankings of the best doctors in the world.
5. Great Britain
In the UK, all medical education institutions are publicly funded. Tourists from all over the world come here for plastic surgery, for the treatment of cancer, cardiac and reproductive diseases, as well as for organ transplants.
6. United Arab Emirates (Dubai)
Dubai is the center of medical tourism in the Middle East. In 2002, the first free economic zone, Dubai Healthcare City, was established here. It was created for organizations working in the field of healthcare. Today, the medical city is a huge healthcare complex, equipped with modern devices and facilities. Dubai Healthcare City has more than 80 clinics and 4,000 specialists.
7. Costa Rica
WHO ranked Costa Rica in the top 3 Latin American countries for treatment (and ranked higher than the US and New Zealand).
Costa Rica is a favorite destination for medical tourists from the United States and Canada. The cost of medical manipulations here is much cheaper, and the geographical proximity and magnificent views make it possible to combine treatment and a wonderful holiday. People come here for cosmetic and orthopedic operations, dental treatment and getting rid of infertility.
Israel is famous for its strong medical school. People from all over the world come here to treat cancer. According to the Israel Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for cancer is 86% here.
9. United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi)
The center of attraction for patients from all over the world in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Khalifa Medical Center, which is accredited by JCI. Highly qualified specialists perform cardiological and plastic surgery, organ transplantation. Part of the center is dedicated to the treatment of children's diseases.
Every year, India receives up to 400 thousand foreign tourists. People come here for organ transplants, treatment of cancer and hepatitis. Many people choose India because of the low cost of treatment, as well as the developed alternative medicine. India is also famous for the production of generic analogues of expensive medicines.
Independent organization of treatment abroad: stages
If you decide to organize treatment abroad on your own, then you will have to go through 4 large stages.
Stage 1. Choosing a country and clinic
The key stage: it is necessary to choose from a huge variety of options the place that is most suitable for you in terms of budget, qualification of doctors, convenience and climate.
Tips: choose a country where the field of medicine is strictly controlled by the state, and the clinic has an international JCI certificate.
If you have a diagnosis - read the forums, study the information on the Internet from your compatriots who have undergone similar treatment in other countries. Where was it? Are they satisfied with the service and the level of staff? How much did they spend and how long did it take them to get to the medical center?
Find foreign forums with reviews and read them carefully: you need to get as much information as possible from people who have passed the stages that are just ahead of you. However, remember that the World Wide Web has a huge number of paid reviews that are written by professional copywriters.
Do not stop at one clinic at once – choose several suitable options. In the next stages, many of them will be eliminated.
Pay attention to the following points:
* Do the necessary procedures take place in the clinic?
* Do you need a visa to visit this country?
* How quickly can you be accepted?
Stage 2. Approval of the trip and appointment with the doctor
After selecting several clinics, contact their representatives and specify the following points:
• What documents and certificates you need to take with you (as a rule, this is an extract from the medical history, the results of previous examinations (X-rays, CD-ROMs with information about CT/MRI/PET, etc.), preliminary conclusions)
• When you can get to the desired doctor
• Order of prices for the necessary procedures
• Duration of the rehabilitation period
• The required length of stay in the country (for booking accommodation and tickets, as well as budget planning)
• Is there an interpreter in the clinic's staff, or do you need to find one yourself
• Do you need a deposit (in some clinics, this is a prerequisite for making an appointment)
Based on the information received, make a final decision.
Stage 3. Collecting documents and obtaining a visa
Ask for an official invitation from the medical center –you can get a visa with it if it is necessary to enter the country. Collect certificates and documents, translate them into the language of the selected country (although many medical centers accept documents in English). Agree on the arrival date and buy tickets. Think through the logistics.
If you are going to receive outpatient treatment, book your accommodation. Find an interpreter if you do not speak the language of the country and do not know English.
Tips: you can save money on medical treatment abroad if you take out insurance at home. Many insurance companies will pay compensation if an insured event occurs, and there will be indications for treatment abroad.
Stage 4. Treatment, rehabilitation period, return
After passing all the necessary procedures, your doctor will give recommendations and tell you how to contact him. Arrange for a remote consultation upon your return to your home country.
Ask them to translate all the documents into native language so that they can be seen by doctors at your place of residence.
Organization of the trip by a medical agency
Of course, it is difficult to navigate independently in the world of medical tourism, especially without knowledge of languages. Considering different options, the patient may not take into account important nuances. Therefore, many people who need treatment abroad turn to specialized companies that organize such trips. In this case, the patient receives assistance in choosing a clinic and attending physician, as well as at all stages in preparing for the trip. Employees of the company help to translate documents, choose housing, independently communicate with representatives of the clinic, that is, take on all the routine work.
The most important thing is to find a medical facility for the patient with the best price - quality ratio, as they know the international medical market.
Our company will help you to organize your trip without your nerves and overpayments. We will save you time and money, and in return you will receive treatment in a foreign clinic that meets all your needs best.