When looking for medical providers abroad, a multitude of factors and considerations need to be addressed by each individual. Assessing the services, benefits, and drawbacks of any specific provider need to be fully researched by a medical tourist in order to gauge the quality of services and effectiveness of treatments. Medical travelers also need to take into consideration such things as location, services rendered, and patient care, post-op support and follow-up.
When looking for medical providers abroad, some of the first questions an individual may want answered include:
- Convenience - where is the facility located? How will I get there?
- Customized services - will the facility be able to meet my specific needs?
- Acknowledging risks - what are the risks involved not only traveling to this destination, but of my specific surgical procedure or treatment? Is staff at this facility open and honest about all potential risks of such procedures or treatments?
- Providing unique solutions - will the facility be able to cater their services to meet my specific needs?
- Are they open to the prospect of working with me to solve my particular problem or issue?
- Quality of service - is this facility accredited and approved not only according to their country's accreditation levels, but also by international accreditation facilities such as JCI (Joint Commission International)?
The Joint Commission is an American healthcare accreditation organization that evaluates medical facilities based on standards of care. The international branch of the Joint Commission inspects facilities and takes into consideration key factors before offering their "stamp of approval". Such considerations include but are not limited to:
- Medical staff credentials and training
- Nursing staff credentials and training
- Medication Management
- Infection Control
- Environment of Care
- Patient Rights
- Provision of Care Treatment Services
Many American patients don't take the time to check the credentials of their own physicians, surgeons, or medical care facilities, but it is strongly suggested that they do so. Even more importantly, anyone traveling overseas for medical care should research the credentials, experience, and expertise of doctors or surgeons who will be providing for their care.
A patient should be able to access adequate information to answer such questions. The basic questions for determining the acceptability of medical services abroad may include factors such as:
- Assurance and safety
- Recovery support services
Don't take anything for granted. Take the time and make the effort to research credentials and look for accreditations by domestic as well as international accrediting boards and organizations. Make sure the potential doctors or surgeons who may be providing care are credentialed, trained, and experienced in the field of surgery or in the treatments or procedures that are offered.
Superlatives, state-of-the-art and high-tech facilities may be found throughout the globe. The same goes for surgeons, physicians and healthcare professionals who offer excellent services for American and international travelers. While cost savings are a major consideration for medical travelers today, look beyond the dollar sign and make sure that services rendered provide quality health care technologies that will best meet your healthcare needs.