5 Medical Tourism Pitfalls You Should Know Beforehand

Health Tips

1. The risk of receiving poor-quality medical services

Top European and Israeli clinics have long been known around the world, while Asian medical tourism is only gaining momentum. Even now, Asian clinics are significantly ahead of European ones in terms of the number of foreign patients.

In 2015, in particular, Thailand became the world leader in the number of medical tourists – clinics received about 3 million patients from different countries. In the same year, about 1 million foreign tourists visited Singapore clinics, 850 thousand patients came to Malaysia, almost half a million came to India. For comparison, only about 200,000 foreigners were treated in Germany in 2015.

So what stops Russians before going to Asia for treatment?

Perhaps people do not know how to choose a good clinic – and they are afraid, without understanding, to fall into the hands of low-skilled doctors or simply scammers.

The main advice, of course, is to study publications about the clinic on the Internet (in Russian and English), read the reviews of foreign patients. But the main thing is to check if the clinic has international certificates that confirm that its services meet all international standards.

2. Language barrier

If in Western European clinics – for example, in Germany and Switzerland – almost all specialists speak English by default, then in Asia, a medical tourist risks facing a language barrier.

Therefore, before traveling to an Asian country for treatment, study the information about the clinic and check if there are English-speaking – and maybe Russian-speaking – doctors, nurses and administrators.

You should also pay attention to the website of the institution – whether it has a full-fledged international version. If in doubt about the language barrier, I recommend sending a request to the clinic before going for treatment. Some of them can provide an interpreter – including sometimes for free.

3. Extra services

Some unscrupulous clinics, of course, may try to “divorce” you into unnecessary examinations and even treatment.

To avoid this, it is advisable to go with a clear and precise goal. For example, you are a 35-year-old woman, nothing specifically bothers you – but you would like to undergo a comprehensive examination in a good clinic and receive recommendations on disease prevention. Then it’s best to immediately look after yourself a check-up – a “package” research program.

If something worries you, but you don’t know which specific doctors to go to, be sure to take your medical documents with you: a card from the clinic, the results of tests and examinations, and extracts from the hospital. This will help doctors on the spot not to prescribe you those very “extra” studies.

4. Spoiled vacation

Let’s say you decide to combine rest with treatment. And this is understandable: flying far, tickets are expensive … Therefore, you decided to spend two weeks in the clinic, and one more – at the resort.

How not to spoil your vacation experience?

Make sure that the conditions in the clinic will allow you to spend time in comfort. The location of the hospital is also important: if you are not bedridden, you can get out of the clinic and walk around the city. Finally, look at what catering points are in the hospital itself and nearby: nevertheless, hospital food, even in good private clinics, is not quite what you would like to eat three times a day on your legal vacation.

5. To heal and not go broke?

Medical tourism is not always a planned thing. Sometimes you just go to rest – and suddenly there is an attack of a chronic illness or, for example, appendicitis. We have to urgently look for a hospital nearby.

Of course, the main advice here is to always take out international health insurance when traveling abroad.

Save the number of your insurance company to call in an emergency on your phone. And give instructions on how to contact your insurance company to the person you are traveling with.

As soon as you feel bad, call the insurance number and ask which hospital to go to so that the company will then compensate you for the costs. Specify what documents will need to be collected for this.

But if you can’t get through to the insurance company in any way, and the case is emergency, go to a large clinic that deals with medical tourism. These clinics usually have established contacts with the insurance companies and will help you sort out all the issues.

Photo: Vostock Photo

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