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Medical care in your country is not so good? Looking for alternative options? Why not fly abroad to take care of your health or the health of your loved ones? Medical tourism is a real thing and has become one of the rising sectors in the tourism industry. Traveling for healthcare abroad not only for cosmetic surgeries but for every other kind of surgery has become easier. Today we tell you everything you need to know about Medical tourism and travel health.
What Defines a Medical Tourist?
Medical tourists come from all walks of life. They are individuals who seek healthcare services outside their home country typically due to the costly nature of healthcare in their countries of origin. These individuals may be looking for specialized treatments, advanced medical technologies, shorter waiting times, or more affordable options. Medical tourists can be anyone – from those seeking cosmetic procedures to individuals with complex medical conditions in need of specialized care.
What is Medical Tourism?
as explained by Medical Tourism Association it’s “Where people who live in one country travel to another country to receive medical, dental and surgical care while at the same time receiving equal to or greater care than they would have in their own country.” In simple terms, is traveling for medical care to another country. “Domestic Medical Tourism” is when you travel within your own country for medical, dental, and surgical care.
Why People Choose Medical Tourism?
There are several reasons why people choose medical tourism. Firstly, it offers access to top-notch medical facilities and cutting-edge treatments that may not be available in their home country. Secondly, medical tourism provides an opportunity to combine medical treatments with a vacation, allowing individuals to recover in beautiful destinations. Additionally, cost considerations play a significant role, as medical treatments abroad can often be more affordable compared to their home country.
How Does One Determine the Destination Choice?
Choosing the right destination for medical tourism requires careful consideration. Factors such as the reputation of healthcare providers, quality of medical facilities, expertise of medical professionals, and the destination’s safety and accessibility should be taken into account. It is essential to research and gather information about different countries, their healthcare systems, and the specific treatments or procedures you require. Seeking recommendations from trusted sources and consulting with medical professionals can also help in making an informed decision.
Budget Planning for Medical Tourism?
Budget planning is a crucial aspect of medical tourism. It is essential to evaluate the costs associated with the medical procedure, travel expenses, accommodation, and post-treatment care. Creating a detailed budget will help you determine the feasibility of medical tourism and ensure that you have the necessary funds to cover all aspects of your journey.
1. Acquire Information About the Healthcare System in the Country You Plan to Visit:
The initial step in organizing your medical travel is to gather knowledge about the healthcare system in your chosen destination. It is important to ascertain if the country possesses a reputable healthcare system and if the medical facilities meet established standards. Additionally, researching the required medical procedures and comparing the costs between your home country and the destination country is advisable. In certain cases, treatment in the country you intend to visit may be more cost-effective compared to your home country.
2. Locate a Reliable Medical Tourism Agency:
A trustworthy medical tourism agency can assist you in planning your medical trip within your budget. These agencies can aid in finding affordable medical care, booking flights and accommodations, arranging guides and interpreters, and more. However, it is crucial to ensure that the agency you choose has a reputable standing and a proven track record. You can conduct online research to read reviews about the agency and verify if they are accredited by a recognized medical tourism association.
3. Verify Visa Requirements:
Before embarking on your medical journey, it is important to examine the visa requirements of your destination country. Some countries mandate visas for medical tourists, while others may allow entry without a visa. Additionally, you should inquire about the duration required to obtain a visa and any associated fees involved in the visa application process.
4. Secure Affordable Lodging:
Accommodation expenses can significantly impact your medical trip budget. However, you can save money by opting for economical lodging options. Researching inexpensive hotels, hostels, and rental apartments in your destination is advisable. Moreover, consider the proximity of your accommodations to the medical facility where you will be receiving treatment, as this can help reduce transportation costs.
5. Consider Travel Insurance:
Travel insurance is vital when planning a medical trip, as it provides coverage for unforeseen expenses that may arise during travel, such as medical emergencies and travel-related costs. It is recommended to research various travel insurance policies, compare their coverage and costs, and ensure that they cater to your specific needs. Additionally, pay attention to whether pre-existing conditions are covered by the policies you are considering.
6. Devise an Itinerary:
Creating a well-thought-out itinerary can help you save money and make the most of your medical trip. While planning your itinerary around your medical procedures is essential, it is equally important to allocate time for sightseeing and relaxation. Familiarize yourself with free or affordable activities available in your destination country, such as visiting museums and parks. Additionally, seek out affordable dining options, including local street food, to minimize expenses.
7. Explore Alternative Transportation:
Transportation costs can be a significant portion of your medical trip budget. Nevertheless, you can reduce expenses by considering alternative modes of transportation, such as utilizing public transport or walking whenever feasible. If you need to travel to other cities or locations for treatment, look for cost-effective transportation options such as buses and trains. Additionally, consider carpooling with fellow medical tourists or renting a private vehicle to economize on transportation expenses.
8. Consult Your Doctor:
Before traveling to your chosen destination country, it is advisable to consult with your doctor and inform them about your plans. Your doctor can provide referrals to qualified medical professionals in the destination country or recommend reputable medical tourism agencies. Furthermore, your doctor can supply you with copies of your medical records, which you can carry with you to the country you will be visiting.
9. Take Necessary Precautions:
When traveling to another country for medical treatment, it is important to take precautions to safeguard your health and well-being. Familiarize yourself with the climate and environment of your destination and take appropriate measures, such as packing sunscreen and insect repellent. Educate yourself about food and water safety in the country you are visiting and avoid consuming potentially contaminated tap water or street food. Additionally, consider obtaining immunizations and medications to prevent diseases that may be prevalent in your destination country.
10. Maintain Flexibility:
Lastly, maintaining flexibility is crucial when planning a budget-friendly medical trip. Treatment duration may extend beyond initial expectations, leading to unforeseen costs. It is important to adjust your itinerary and budget accordingly, as well as remain open to new experiences and opportunities that may arise during your medical journey.
Is it Expensive?
If you’re living in the US and you or a loved one need heart surgery, it would cost you a fortune. Cardiac surgery in the US can easily cost up to $50,000. The same surgery in a reputed hospital in India would cost around $5,000- $7,000. Thus, the cost of savings in many cases can be up to 90%. In brief, traveling for medical care is not new. But there has been a substantial rise due to low costs of travel and easier air travel options.
How You Can Minimize Medical Tourism Risks:
While medical tourism can offer incredible opportunities, it is crucial to be aware of potential risks and take necessary precautions. Here are some tips to minimize risks:
Research and choose accredited healthcare providers:
Look for internationally recognized certifications and accreditation to ensure the quality and safety of medical facilities.
Consult with your local healthcare provider:
Before embarking on medical tourism, discuss your plans with your primary healthcare provider to ensure they are aware of your medical history and can provide guidance.
Verify the credentials of medical professionals:
Check the qualifications, experience, and expertise of the medical professionals who will be involved in your treatment.
Understand the risks and potential complications:
Educate yourself about the potential risks and complications associated with the specific treatment or procedure you are considering.
Best Apps for Medical Tourism ?
Here are some apps that can be useful for medical tourism:
Medigo is a comprehensive medical travel platform that connects patients with trusted healthcare providers worldwide. The app allows users to search for medical procedures, compare prices, read patient reviews, and book appointments.
DocDoc is an app that helps users find and book appointments with doctors and healthcare providers in various countries. It provides information on doctors’ qualifications, patient reviews, and estimated costs for medical procedures.
Air Doctor is an app that helps users find and book appointments with trusted doctors and medical specialists in different countries. It provides a network of pre-screened doctors, along with patient reviews and ratings.
4. MyMediTravel (Website):
MyMediTravel is an app that offers a range of services for medical tourists, including searching for medical procedures, comparing prices, reading patient reviews, and booking appointments with healthcare providers worldwide.
Medscape is a popular medical app that provides a wealth of information for healthcare professionals and patients. It offers medical news, drug information, clinical references, and educational resources that can be helpful for medical tourists seeking information about their condition or treatment options.
Top Destination for Medical Tourism
When it comes to medical tourism, some destinations have gained a reputation for providing excellent healthcare services. Here are some of the top destinations:
Canada, ranked as the top destination in the 2020 Medical Tourism Index, is not surprisingly popular due to its robust tourism industry and close proximity to the United States. It offers high-quality medical treatments, particularly in orthopedic procedures and complex heart surgeries. Canada’s ranking is based on its excellent Destination Environment, strong presence in the Medical Tourism Industry, and quality healthcare facilities, placing it at the forefront among 46 assessed destinations.
Singapore, securing the second spot in the Medical Tourism Index, excels in the Quality of healthcare Facilities and Services category. It attracts over 500,000 foreign tourists annually seeking affordable and quality healthcare services. Singapore has established International Patient Service Centers (IPSCs) to enhance the medical travel experience and collaborates with world-renowned centers of excellence.
Japan, ranking second in the Medical Tourism Industry and Quality of Facilities and Services, and fifth in the Destination Environment, is renowned for its advanced healthcare system and technological advancements. It offers expertise in minimally invasive medicine, tech-driven procedures, plastic surgery, and orthopedic surgery.
Spain, a popular tourist destination, is highly regarded as a medical tourist destination in Europe. It provides excellent healthcare services, particularly in orthopedics, cosmetics, and dental procedures. Accredited hospitals like Hospital Universitario de Madrid and Sanitas Hospitales draw international patients.
The United Kingdom, ranked fifth globally, boasts renowned medical institutions such as the London Orthopedic Clinic and Birmingham Children’s Hospital. It offers top-quality healthcare services and is a favored destination for its rich cultural heritage.
Dubai, known for its modern architecture and luxury shopping, is the top medical destination in the Arab region. It houses world-class hospitals and international doctors, attracting medical tourists from Asia, neighboring Arab countries, Europe, and Africa.
Costa Rica is emerging as a leader in the medical tourism market, offering competitive prices and specialized treatments in dentistry, cosmetic surgery, eye surgery, cancer therapy, and bariatric surgery. The CheTica Ranch provides recovery retreats in a tranquil setting.
Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, has developed a strong medical tourism platform. It launched the Abu Dhabi Medical Tourism e-portal and collaborates with reputable healthcare accreditation organizations. The city ensures top-quality care and offers convenient services for medical tourists.
India, a major player in the Asian medical tourism industry, ranks first in the Medical Tourism Industry dimension. It has a visa policy that eases travel for medical tourists, allowing extended stays and medical attendant visas for accompanying family members.
What Are The Top Medical Treatments People Travel For Healthcare Abroad?
The most common procedure or medical treatment in the medical tourism industry is elective cosmetic surgery. This is followed by dentistry, organ transplantation, cardiac surgery, and orthopedic surgery.
The rise of medical tourism has especially impacted cosmetic surgery tourism. People are traveling to India, Mexico, Dubai, South Korea, and other medical destinations for cosmetic plastic surgery. Cosmetic surgery or cosmetic plastic surgery procedures are not covered by health insurance. Hence, they are now a huge part of the mushrooming medical tourism market. A recent study shows how increasing the popularity of cosmetic surgeries has promoted medical tourism in South Korea, with cosmetic procedures attracting many Chinese women to Korea.
How Does airssist Airport Concierge Services Help Medical Tourists?
Medical tourists traveling for healthcare abroad need that extra attention in crowded airports too. Standing in long airport queues can be extremely exhausting for them. Along with the hustle-bustle of the crowd at the airport. With Airport Meet and Greet available at airssist, you can assure a stress-free and smooth airport travel for you and your loved ones. our Airport Greeter helps you with all your airport formalities and makes your airport experience smooth and swift.
We would recommend VIP terminal for medical tourists for the extra care, comfort, and luxury it offers. The only downside is it’s available at selected 40+ airports in the world.
Medical tourism offers a world of possibilities for individuals seeking healthcare services beyond their borders. From accessing cutting-edge treatments to combining medical procedures with a vacation, the benefits are numerous. However, it is crucial to research, plan, and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and successful medical journey. By following the guidelines in this guide, you can make informed decisions, minimize risks, and embark on a transformative medical tourism experience.