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What is medical tourism?

The event of travelling to foreign countries for obtaining medical treatment is medical tourism. Earlier many people use to travel to some selected western countries to have better access to quality treatments. But today this has changed a lot as there is excellent scope to get quality treatments in many developing countries. What inspires people to choose such countries can range from unavailability of certain medical services in their own countries to extremely high cost of a treatment in their own lands. All kinds of healthcare options today are available in many countries like convalescent care, fertility problems, alternative medicine, psychiatry and many more at a highly affordable rate.

Who are medical tourists?

Medical tourists are people who travel from one country to another to seek quality treatments. They can be of two types: - elective medical tourists who travel not for any medical emergency and there are tourists who travel for major surgeries which are better priced in other countries. Among them we have people who travel for the following reasons:

  • People who are living as expatriates in different countries and are recommended in various medical tourism destinations by their employers to get both quality treatments and save money.
  • Those who travel back to their own countries which are different from their place of work to get treatments done which allows them to spend time with their family.
  • For many surgeries, travel enthusiasts choose to fly to destinations like India and Thailand where they get to club their holidays, usually such tourists fly for elective surgeries.

Which all documents do I need to carry with me when I travel?

  • Carry all your medical record documents along with you even if you have shared it earlier. Take a list of medications even if it is for a minor allergy.
  • Also be sure of the legal actions that you may take if something goes wrong, so educate yourself a bit on that and carry the documents pertinent for the country. If you have these documents it will be easy for insurance companies to help you and substantiate your claim in case of breach of agreement.
  • Carry all your insurance related documents, test reports and mail all these things to yourself over email
  • Carry the agreement document of the hospital which is ready to operate you.
  • Carry all the visa related documents when you are travelling abroad.

Why should I work with a medical tourism service agency?

It is not necessary to work with a medical tourism service agency. You can reach out to an overseas hospital directly and get your appointment and plan your bookings and stay in the country all by yourself. However, there are several advantages of working with a medical tourism agency as they manage everything for you and help you make right decisions. Some of the benefits of working with a medical tourism service agencies are:

  • All their affiliate hospitals are personally inspected by them on parameters like infrastructure, facilities, doctors and others to ensure that patients referred by them only get best experience
  • Medical tourism agencies can help you secure some discounts on your treatment cost as they have business relationships with the hospitals and provide them business in bulk
  • They have tie-ups with hotels, interpreters/translators, cab service providers etc so they can organize all this for you at good rates.
  • Being locals they tell you about do’s and don’ts for the country so that you do not get into an unpleasant situation.
  • They will have a list of past patient contacts with whom you can be connected so that you may hear a firsthand experience story in terms of the procedure they have undergone, the country, the hospital, the doctor and even the place of accommodation.
  • They become your trusted single point of contact in case of any query or doubt.

And lastly all these services come for free, then why not entrust them with your total care.

Why should I consider medical treatments or surgical procedure in India, Thailand or Mexico?

Indian, Mexican or Thai healthcare industry has come a very long way and is now spearheaded by some of the highly qualified surgeons, doctors and experienced medical practitioners around the world. Some of the reasons why you should consider them are

  • The hospitals have accreditations from JCI (Joint Commission International), QHA Trent, Accreditation Canada and so on to testify their quality norms and safety standards.
  • The hospitals work in a way to ensure maximum safety and comforts for patients with least chances of contracting infection.
  • The cultural emphasis on education in these countries has allowed an ambiance where most of the physicians have managed to acquire skills and knowledge in super specialties in various fields.
  • The hospitals in our networks in these countries have multi specialty facilities
  • India also have a rich history of various other alternative and holistic treatment options like Meditation, Ayurveda, Naturopathic medicine, Yoga and Allopathic treatments which are complete by itself.
  • In a country like India it is very easy to communicate since most of the people speak fluent English and you may not need a translator to accompany you everywhere, so you can save your cost out there.
  • The country has historical attractions like Taj Mahal, the sun kissed beaches of Goa and Kerala, heritage land Rajasthan or the cool and chilling Himalayas where you can hike
  • Again at the same time the Thai Spa and beauty treatments are something for which people fly from various countries, so you can enjoy the pristine beaches after you are operated and have a great time.
  • In countries like Mexico or South Korea you can have a time of your life experiencing their fabulous cuisine and the picture perfect frame snaps that are worth framing. Their culture is something which can be described as unparalleled.

Why is medical care so cheap in certain countries?

It is easy to find quite a number of countries that have done excellent in terms of developing their technologies serving in healthcare industry. The quality can be really at par with the quality norms implemented by countries which have stable economy. In fact as earlier stated the private hospitals in South Korea, India, Poland, Thailand are very well equipped with tools and devices as may be found in some of the most advanced hospitals around the world.

Some of the reasons why medical treatments are far cheaper in the top medical destination countries are

  • Some of these countries lack the comprehensive legal system which is prevalent in countries where treatment is expensive.
  • Cheaper medical supplies and medication cost
  • Less amount of red tape involved
  • Cheaper labour cost
  • Construction cost for infrastructure is lower
  • Real estate value costs are low
  • Government taxes are low
  • Lesser amount of administrative paper works
  • No emergency room bad debt
  • Exchange rates are favourable
  • No emergency room bad debts
  • With medical tourism patients no accounts receivable collections issued.

How to prepare for my medical travel?

Whenever you are travelling abroad, there are certain things that you must keep in mind and prepare yourself accordingly. In this way you will never be in a crisis situation especially when one of your main purposes of travelling is medical tourism. Below are some of the points you must keep in mind when travelling abroad

  • Get a budget recommendation and take 1.25 times more than your budget just in order to be sure
  • Carry all your documents and tag them with labels for easy browsing
  • Study a bit about the countries you are visiting, about its culture and history so that you do not make any drastic mistake while dealing with the locals
  • Study about the weather at the time of your visit and pack your clothes accordingly
  • Take a look at the travel options that may suit you in and around the city where you are getting operated and inform your medical tourist service agency so that they can suggest you the suitable plan
  • Ask for telephonic appointment with your doctor. Any patient is bound to feel good and confident if they have a word with their doctor beforehand
  • Go through the immunization procedure as may be required in that country and consult your own physician once.
  • Do a research about the hospital where you are likely to receive treatment
  • Talk to some past patients who have undergone the same operation as you will and get some reviews.
  • Get all the contacts and detail of your country’s consulate where you are planning to visit for surgery.
  • Always keep your passport handy
  • Keep the emergency helpline numbers handy, like that of police in case of any trouble or harassment

What are the steps involved in the whole process?

There are very simple steps to follow which have been enlisted below:

Step 1: Send your initial enquiry with all the information you seek to us

Step 2: We will also send you a medical quote request form for filling. This questionnaire will comprise of the nature of your disease, all the kinds of diagnostic reports that are available with you and various medical records such as CT scan, ECG, MRI scans or the test reports of the tests and analysis conducted by your personal doctor like X-Rays and so on. With all these information we will get a solution from our board of certified medical practitioners who can analyze and answer your queries depending on your past and present medical history.

Step 3: More reports may be asked if required in scanned copies.

Step 4: Based on all the above your will hear and receive full information from the doctors and medical consultants who will advice you on your medical treatment with approximate cost and rough planning stating your duration of stay including both pre operative and post operative extra stay as may be required.

Step 5: You will get some options with cost details for your stay at any of the cities which are suitable for your specific treatment. Full view details of hotel, guest houses and service apartments will be shared by our team. Profile of doctors who will be attending you shall be shared with brief synopsis of the hospitals where your medical treatment has been suggested. Step 6: you must next proceed to get consent from your local physician to fly down to the selected country and also inform us about the consent along with the medical trip making status or condition.

Step 6: : you must next proceed to get consent from your local physician to fly down to the selected country and also inform us about the consent along with the medical trip making status or condition.

Step 7: A pre registration or indemnity or consent bond will be sent to you for agreement with the hospital in that country for your proper medical treatment with them. Go through it carefully and sign.

Step 8: The medical treatment full cost or the surgery cost has to be paid next, and this shall be paid directly to the hospital to book the OT or the appointment of doctor and category of room that can be selected by you.

Step 9: You can expect to hear from us via email stating your medical treatment dates and your suggested travel dates to visit the country.

Step 10: For special medical emergencies you have to proceed for specific country Visa. A confirmed medical appointment with your medical specialist or the hospital that you have booked has to be carried by you. This document will be sent by us to you for your speedy Visa clearance in the respective country.

Step 11: proceed to book your tickets to fly to the country and keep us informed regarding your International arrival and departure flight details with timings, terminals and flight numbers.

Step 12: You will be received by our representative or hospital representative. It is our onus to take you for a city orientation and subsequent familiarization with guest house, hotel or service apartment where your stay has been planned.

Step 13: After this we will arrange your meeting with the specialist or the doctors of the hospital who will be responsible for your treatment at the hospital where your surgery or treatment has been planned. From here onwards your treatment will commence.

Step 14: After the completion of your medical treatment or surgery you shall be discharged from the hospital with final clearance of bill as per your post operative stay requirement recommended by your medical specialists. Stay at your accommodation till you receive clearance from doctor and you may return back to your country or you can choose from the delectable number of vacation and holiday options as per your time and choice.

Step 15: for the generic medicines carry medications and prescriptions or drugs as may be recommended by the attending medical specialist or doctors to carry to your own nation. You can then continue with your post treatment follow up hereafter if there are any via email communication with your doctor or medical specialist.

What happens if something goes wrong in my treatment?

In a foreign land if something goes wrong, you can either resort to your consulate for help or take legal course of action. So it is better that you read about it in advance so that you do not feel cheated and helpless in such situations. But then there are risks involved always whenever you are going under the knife, be it in some foreign land or your own.

But the brighter side of this story is that international patients have good amount of leverage in insuring the optimal possible outcomes from such a medical tourism package. This leverage is a result of any well reputed hospitals striving to secure an international brand image in the medical industry. They are extremely conscious about the fact that one mistake from their side in dealing with any international patient can have them end up miserably in the bold headlines of international news media. So your safety is of utmost importance to them