MedRetreat – Medical Tourism

May 26, 2009

Considering Medical Tourism – Inform Your Doctor

If you are considering traveling abroad for medical treatment, what is commonly referred to as “medical tourism,”  your doctor will most likely not support your decision and will advise you to remain in the U.S.  Such advice is certainly to be expected. To begin with, your local doctors in the U.S. are concerned for your safety and well-being and do not have the same information that you have about the hospital and doctor that you will administer you care abroad.

However, if you have diligently researched and obtained all the pertinent information about the hospital and doctor that will be treating you abroad, you may want to schedule a brief appointment with your U.S. doctor to share and discuss all the information that you have gathered. After your doctor sees all the board certifications, credentials, and accreditations of your chosen doctor and hospital, he/she will most likely support your decision and even offer follow-up care, if needed, upon your return home. 

Rest assured that the US is not the only country that has rigorous healthcare standards and strong patient rights.  Joint Commission International (JCAHO within the US) accredits many hospitals throughout the world. If fact, you may be surprised to learn that your local hospital has lost accreditation due to poor quality standards.  Check to see if your hospital is accredited by the JCAHO.

One of the most efficient and reliable ways of obtaining detailed information about foreign hospitals and doctors is to work with a reputable medical tourism facilitation agency, like MedRetreat.  Such agencies will have long-established working relationships with their affiliate hospitals and can quickly connect you to their provider network.

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May 21, 2009

More Americans Considering Medical Tourism

According to a new Gallup Poll, more and more Americans are considering medical tourism as an alternative to their pain, rather than waiting on Congress to overhaul our health care system and mandate a national delivery system.  With approximately 50 million uninsured citizens and another 25 million underinsured, our system has simply priced too many people out of the market for common medical procedures such as cancer treatment, heart bypass, hip or knee replacements, and cosmetic surgery. As a result, many Americans have begun seeking treatment overseas, where the price of such procedures is a small fraction of the same treatment in the U.S. 

According to the Gallup Poll, almost 30% of the respondents indicated that they would consider treatment abroad for medical procedures such as heart bypass, hip or knee replacement, cosmetic, and cancer. 

When asked about their willingness to travel abroad for medical care without health insurance 51% of the respondents indicated that they would consider it, “assuming equal quality and significantly cheaper cost.” 

The results of this poll indicate that more Americans are learning that medical tourism is a viable option to alleviating their pain without destroying their financial health. 

For more information about medical tourism, please visit MedRetreat, the leading U.S.-based medical tourism facilitation agency.

May 18, 2009

Medical Tourism – Your Hotel Accommodations

The hotel stay is an integral part of the medical tourism experience and should not be overlooked. Once released from the overseas hospital, you will most likely proceed to a hotel to continue your recuperation before flying home. On average, the typical length of time spent in a hotel post-op is between 7 to 14 days, of course depending on the procedure performed. The price, amenities, comfort, security and proximity to the hospitals vary substantially in all the different medical travel destinations.

If you are working with a reputable medical tourism agency, they have hand selected the hotels that they offer for the purposes of recuperation. Check with your agent to insure that the hotels that they are offering meet all the criteria that are important to you, and even better, check to see if that have personally stayed there. Chances are, if your agent has been in business long enough to have developed a good reputation, they have had many clients that have stayed in their hotel affiliates, meaning that they have more bargaining power to insure that any dissatisfaction you encounter will be dealt with immediately. Keep in mind that the majority of your stay will likely be in the hotel, so you don’t want to overlook this important factor

Important Hotel Amenities  For a Medical Retreat 

  • Meals
  • Room for companion
  • Private rooms
  • Television (English Language programs)
  • Internet Access – Wi-Fi or Ethernet Connection
  • Mini Refrigerators
  • Showers
  • Sitting Stool for Shower
  • Welcome kit – Soap and towels
  • Electrical outlets – voltage converters
  • Handicap Access
  • Frequent Linen Changes
  • Attentive Customer Service
  • Experience in Hosting Medical Tourists
  • Pool and Exercise Room for Physical Therapy 

For more information about medical tourism, please visit MedRetreat.

May 14, 2009

Medical Tourism Success – It’s All In The Relationships

When choosing a service or product, most people base their final decision on the quality of the relationship they have with their merchant or sales person. If you think about it, relationships are the true heart and soul of all business transactions.
 
When traveling abroad for healthcare, one of the best ways to ensure a safe and pleasurable experience is by accessing good, solid relationsips between a medical travel facilitator and their foreign associates. High quality relationships provide good leverage to get things done appropriately, with a high level of satisfaction.

One of our clients was quoted for a six hour operation and it actually took twelve. Because of our strong bond with the hospital, they waived the extra charges. That’s a huge benefit that may not have been offered in the U.S.
 
There are other advantages to working with a reputable medical tourism facilitation agency when seeking surgery abroad. A few examples include:

  • an effective conduit of communication with overseas facilities
  • accurate arrangement of all the details and logistics
  • list of references to draw upon
  • pre-negotiated discounts

But again, one of the most important criteria you should consider is the quality of relationships they have with their affiliates. Solid relationships ensure that your needs and concerns are immediately addressed. When it comes to deciding on a medical travel facilitator, you need to know how well-connected they are overseas. We happen to have direct access to the CEO’s of our affiliates. That can be a good card to draw upon, if needed.

For more detailed information, please visit MedRetreat.com

May 11, 2009

Medical Tourism – Choosing A Doctor Abroad

In recent years, thousands of patients throughout North America have been packing their bags and traveling to far corners of the world in search of more affordable surgical procedures at world class hospitals in foreign countries.  This trend, known as “medical tourism,” has been gaining considerable traction as the economy teeters on the brink of full collapse. As more and more people consider this option of traveling so far away from home they will want to insure that they are able to identify the best possible surgeon for their specific case. But what is the best method for this?

Selecting a doctor for your medical procedure abroad can be a cumbersome and frightening experience as you try to identify their true experience and credentials. First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that there are great doctors all over the world, as well as bad ones just like in North America. Too often many people think that if they just review the Doctor’s résumé, they will be able to determine the quality of a given doctor. However, without a medical background, it may very difficult to comprehend the medical terminology along with the various research and fellowships programs the doctor in questions may have participated in.

If you think about it, most patients in North America rarely review a resume or bio of their surgeon. Instead they rely on referrals from their general practitioner or a family member or friend. 

When it comes to identifying a highly skilled, world-class surgeon abroad the first step that you should take is to contact the hospital representative. Hospitals know their consultant surgeons better than anyone else, and if they cater to international patients they will want to insure that they put their best surgeons on your case to insure the best outcome. 

After speaking with the hospital staff, the second best method of identifying the best surgeons is to speak with patient references about their experience. By speaking with references, you will learn about the doctor’s skills, bedside manners and ability to communicate. 

When you contact a reference about a doctor, you will want to discuss the following points about the surgeon and staff:

  • Listening skills
  • Communication skills (verbal, nonverbal, English)
  • Bedside manner
  • Quality of service
  • What is the specific procedure protocol?
  • Technology & equipment used
  • Addressing individual concerns
  • Addressing pain/discomfort
  • How many procedures performed?
  • Outcomes data

Perhaps the best method of finding the best surgeon for your case is to work with a reputable medical tourism facilitation agency, such as MedRetreat. Not only will they be able to provide you with multiple references to speak with, but they will also have a vested interest in working with the best surgeons and your total experience from beginning to end.

May 7, 2009

Hospital Considerations When Traveling Abroad for Surgery

If you have determined that medical tourism is the right option for you, then you will certainly want to select the best hospital abroad for your treatment. Since there are more international hospitals to chose from with high standards and accreditations, you would be wise to consider the following criteria.

1.  LOCATION 

Many regions of the world where healthcare expenses are a fraction of what they are in the US happen to be in emerging economies. As such, their infrastructure is decades behind what we are used to in North America. Therefore, you could end up selecting a destination where the hospital in which you will be staying is literally next to a large slum. Not only are the sights in such areas deplorable, but the smells and sounds could be very disturbing as well. You may be in a great modern hospital with great doctors, but could you have selected a destination with an equivalent hospital and doctor in better surroundings, and at the same price?  

2.  WHAT AMENITIES ARE OFFERED

  • Meals
  • Room for companion
  • Private rooms
  • Television (English Language programs)
  • Internet Access – WiFi
  • Mini Refrigerators
  • Showers
  • Welcome kit – Soap and towels
  • Electrical outlets – voltage converters
  • Affiliation with a medical tourism facilitation agency

3.  HOSPITAL EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES

Does the hospital in question employ the same state-of-the-art equipment and supplies that you would find at your local hospital down the street?  Make sure to inquire about imaging equipment, computer assistance navigation, and/or prosthesis brands to name just a few.

To learn more about medical tourism and hospitals abroad, contact a US-based medical tourism facilitation agency, such as MedRetreat. Most reputable agencies have conducted tremendous due diligence of their affiliate hospital partners on behalf of the American patient.  They will be able to answer all your questions about the hospital and provide you with references from past clients that you can speak to.

May 4, 2009

Medical Tourism Leading to More Educated Consumers of Health

The current trend in medical tourism is now providing all consumers of health with tremendous options as never seen before. In the past most Americans chose hospitals for their medical procedures that were located in their local communities or within the network of their insurance providers. As such, very few patients made the effort to research the success rates and other important statistical facts of their local hospitals.

With this new availability of global options, many patients are now beginning to discern very important facts about the hospitals under their consideration. This educational process is a very important to increasing the awareness and level of care provided throughout the global healthcare industry.

For more information about medical travel, please visit MedRetreat, the leading U.S. medical tourism facilitation agency.

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