As the standard of living goes up the types of ailments have also increased. The overall medical expenses have shot up considerably. The cost of treatment or surgery, the pre and post hospitalization care and the waiting time is very high in first world countries. All these factors have given rise to Tourism with a difference – Medical tourism.
Due to the vast differences in the cost of treatment people are opting to go to third world countries for the treatment. The countries currently leading in Medical tourism footfalls are – Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, India, Korea, Malaysia, Turkey etc.
People usually prefer to travel to other countries for treatments like cosmetic surgery, dental surgery, transplants, joint replacements etc.
What makes people choose Medical tourism:
- Treatments at low to very low cost
- Improved technology or at par with First world countries
- International travelling has become easy and is affordable
- Very low waiting period
Many countries have set up committees to ensure that medical tourism is promoted and given a lot of attention. Many special Medical Tourism Providers have come up, which basically are organizations which help a prospective patient get in touch with a hospital or clinic facility in the country of their choice.
These providers help in planning the travel by listing all the necessary requirements like – the medical facilities to be expected, the travel agencies, the medical professionals involved, hotels, resorts, insurance details and the service providers involved.
They also provide assistance in pre and post hospitalization care and incase extended stay is required. A local point of contact is also assigned to ensure that language barriers are not caused and the stay is hassle free. All these services cost extra.
Risks of Medical tourism:
Since the people opting for Medical tourism are usually from the first world countries and travel to third world countries, there can be many factors which can prove as a risk. The facilities provided in countries like US & UK may not be at par in the other countries. Also, countries like India, Thailand, South Africa etc. have a very different disease related epidemiology as compared to America or European countries. The incidence of infectious diseases like HIV, TB and typhoid are also very high in third world countries with tropical climate. The chances of contracting nosocomial infection are also higher.
Risk also increasing when there are complication in the surgery and longer post-op care is required. Travelling long hours immediately may cause deep vein thrombosis and also develop risk of pulmonary embolism.
To ensure that the patient welfare is maintained, several countries have come up with accreditation system for hospitals and health care providers and patients can check them out before deciding to get treated at such centres.
The main ones are – Accreditation Canada, Join Commission International of the United States and United Kingdom Accreditation Forum. They help the healthcare providers in meeting the standards and get accredited.
To avoid legal issues and other risks in a foreign land, it would be advisable to get a thorough check done at all levels and then proceed with the treatment.
For more information please read: http://www.costaricajourneys.com/medical-tourism/