Some medical treatments are inaccessible, even unavailable and sometimes extremely expensive in some countries. People who need this care and who find themselves in this situation are often forced to travel outside the country to obtain the necessary medical intervention. This is called medical tourism. This approach has become very popular in recent decades and the industry has grown quite rapidly. While some people go for it to undergo a medical procedure, others choose this option for aesthetic reasons. What do you need to know about medical tourism? How does this procedure work and what are its advantages?
Medical tourism: the procedures generally practiced
Also called health tourism or hospital tourism, medical tourism consists of traveling outside your country of residence to seek treatment. It is therefore not a recreational trip. It is exclusively for medical purpose. To make life easier for people who have to travel for treatment outside their country of residence, there are medical tourism agencies that are responsible for organizing the stay and offering support before, during and after the intervention.
These are specialized in specific interventions (plastic surgery, organ transplants, heart or brain surgery, for example) and take place in one or more foreign countries that are experts in the field. As can be seen on the website of theFranco-Tunisian medical tourism agency WellBe Aestheticsit is also possible to opt for this solution in order to obtain cosmetic or reconstructive surgery.
Choosing your medical tourism agency is the first step in preparing for your trip. You will then need to obtain a visa and finance your stay.
Find a medical tourism agency
The medical tourism industry is vast. The first step is therefore to find a reliable specialist agency. For this purpose, you must do enough research on the internet or with people you know. Testimonials from former customers who have already had this experience are a great recommendation. Also find out about the course of the stay as well as the rates charged by the agency. For example, find out about the proposed destinations. Also be sure to choose an agency that specializes in the procedure you are about to undergo.
Also find out about all the services included in the proposed price so that you do not have to pay additional costs when you are there. Find out more about the hospital that the agency is suggesting for your procedure. Is it state of the art and could it handle the cases of complication? Find out about their qualifications, certifications and reputation.
Obtain a visa for the destination country
After having found the suitable agency, it is now time to find out about the means of obtaining a visa for the country of destination. This is usually a fairly easy step. Countries providing health services to international patients have in fact developed policies facilitating their access to their territory. The duration of this visa can go from 3 to 6 months, thus covering the postoperative period. However, the procedure can be lengthy. Start your process very early.
Build up the funding
The funding needed for your tourist stay will depend on the nature of the surgery. For interventions of a medical nature (operation, treatment of an illness), your health insurance can cover the costs, as well as aid from mutual health insurance and others. On the other hand, for cosmetic surgeryyou will have to pay for the financing yourself.
Build your medical file
For your health tourism stay, you must first compile your medical file. It is essential for any health intervention. Your medical reports can be used if necessary during the intervention. It is also recommended to legally translate your medical records in the language of the country of destination, if it is different from yours.
The benefits of medical tourism
Medical tourism has many advantages. Most of the time, the costs are significantly reduced, the waiting time is shorter, the care is of better quality. There is also the possibility of make delicate interventions which are prohibited in some countries.
The cost of surgery is clearly lower in some countries. For a person who is not insured or a person whose intervention cannot be covered by insurance, due to its nature (plastic surgery for example), it is a practical alternative. In the case of cosmetic surgery, prices are lowerup to two to three times less in countries such as Colombia, Tunisia, Turkey, Hungary or Morocco.
Shorter waiting time
The waiting time is considerably shorter. The only reason you travel is for the procedure you have to undergo. Once there, everything happens very quickly since there is a deadline for your Visa.
Better quality care
Some countries are known for a specific talent when it comes to surgery. While surgeons in Brazil are renowned for their strong skills in plastic surgery, those in Thailand are known to be better at gender reassignment surgery. Most surgeons in these different countries are trained in very large schools, most often in the United States or France.
The ability to circumvent the rules
In some countries, there are procedures that are prohibited by law. This is the case of euthanasia in France, for example. THE medical tourism gives you the option to do so in a country where it is legal.
What to consider when planning your trip
When planning your trip, you should not only consider the practical aspect of medical tourism. First, keep in mind that you can face shoddy surgery. Certainly, there are many talented surgeons, however, there are always risks in surgery.
The language barrier
The second thing to consider is the language barrier. The surgeons and host hospital staff are mostly bilingual, but it is better to prepare for it. If you are French-speaking, it will certainly be easier to make yourself understood by favoring countries like Tunisia for example.
People with sensitive stomachs should prepare accordingly. Food and water can be very different, which can lead to digestive upset and other upheavals in your body. THE postoperative effects such as vomiting, nausea and diarrhea are not negligible.
The political situation and climate of the host country
Make sure that the political situation in your host country is stable as well as the weather conditions. This last aspect will allow you to predict whether you need suitable clothing. Finally, keep all your important documents in your handbag (visa, passport, medical reports, ID).
The consequences of medical tourism: how to recover and what to expect?
The post-operative phase remains a very delicate period. The recovery process can be long and very risky. Estimate about a 10% chance that the operation will not be successful.
Medical tourism agencies offer support before, during and after the intervention. Nurses and caregivers are therefore available to you during this phase of remission. Get ready to face this postoperative phase and be ready for any eventuality.
Medical tourism is booming and represents an advantageous alternative in many respects. However, before your trip, you need to make some arrangements. Among other things, you will need to find an agency specializing in the type of intervention you wish to undergo, plan the financing of your stay and find out as much as possible about your hospital as well as your host country.