Medical tourism is a term that describes the practice of traveling across international borders to obtain health care. The term also loosely defines the practice of healthcare providers delivering healthcare across international boundaries. Dental surgery, cardiac surgery, joint replacement and cosmetic surgeries are common healthcare services performed internationally. Medical tourism may also encompass psychiatry, convalescent care and other alternative treatments.
What Countries Participate in Medical Tourism?
Over 50 countries recognize medical tourism and participate. Some countries or medical schools have different levels of accreditation. These countries may not have state of the art equipment and ideal medical standards that may be dangerous for some of these “tourists”. If student volunteers, health professional trainees or researchers from economically developed countries are working in the country where they surgery is performed, then the same level of service may be provided in a resource-poor country.
India, Mexico and Thailand are some of the most popular locations for medical tourism. For instance, in India, they entice medical tourists by offering a $6,700 heart surgery. In another example, patients saved 80 percent on their hip resurfacing surgeries. The surgery in America would cost $48,000. The same surgery in India will cost $7,000 for equally adequate care.
Many hospitals in other countries meet or exceed the criteria set forth by institutions such as the Joint Commissions on Accreditation’s of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the Joint Commission International (JCI) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Millions of Americans visit Asia, South America and Mexico for medical tourism. Exotic vacations also accompany these trips to calm the patient and make the experience more palatable.
Select a Network that Can Verify the Hospital’s Standards
Patients that intend to receive healthcare abroad should consider joining a healthcare network. These networks can verify the level of service that they will receive once they arrive at the hospital. The quality of the hospital is listed on the website for the patients to peruse. The proficiency of the physician will also be described so that patients can monitor and select their level of care.