How to choose the best hospitals for medical treatment abroad - GO.CARE Blog
How to choose the best hospitals for medical treatment abroad
Author: Trâm Võ
Review Date: August 6, 2018 | Last Modified: October 1, 2018
How to choose the best hospitals for medical treatment abroad

You need to get these things clear before taking a medical trip. GO.CARE will help you to have a more effective healthcare abroad.

Why do people seek treatment abroad?

Nowadays, there is an increasing demand for overseas treatment in several parts of the world. There are several factors that contribute to this, such as the worsening of the global environment, the appearance of previously unknown diseases and illnesses, and the unreliability of doctors in local polyclinics and private medical offices. The actual reasons because of which patients choose to pursue overseas treatment include:

  • Financial incapability: It would be normal to think that patients who seek medical treatment abroad spend a fortune on said treatment. While the costs of their treatment are by no means small,  overseas treatment is, in many cases, because the patient cannot afford to pay for the same treatment in their own country. For example, a gastric bypass procedure costs 41,000 US dollars in the US but would only cost 9,500 US dollars if it was done in India. Moreover, the health insurance of the patient may not cover the costs of the specific procedure that they currently need, which may also prompt them to seek overseas treatment.
  • A very long waitlist: In many cases, certain medical procedures can have a waitlist that is simply too long for the patient. This may prompt the patient to seek overseas treatment in order to be treated in time.
  • Unavailability: Certain medical procedures are simply not available in the country where the patient currently lives. This may also prompt the patient to seek overseas treatment.

Choosing a country

When you have decided to pursue overseas treatment, one of the most important things to do is to choose a suitable hospital in a suitable country. Before choosing a hospital, however, the patient must first decide on a country that can meet their medical needs. Apart from knowing the basics about the country, the patient should also base their decisions on the factors listed below:

  • The current conditions of the country: The first thing to think about is whether the country you are considering is safe to enter. In certain times, specific regions of a country can be unsafe to enter, especially to foreigners. Make sure you have a thorough grasp of the country and the region you are going to before actually embarking on your journey. Additionally, you should also consider if the current weather conditions of the region may be too harsh for you. This is, however, merely for consideration and preparation. It should not, in most cases, entirely prompt you to pick another country.
  • Quality and specialization: You should also think about the specialization of the region and the country you are considering. While most countries do meet the common healthcare standards, they can have a reputation for a certain field or specific procedures. For example, some countries may be known for its cosmetic surgeries, while others may have a reputation for its orthopedic procedures.
  • Distance: When choosing a country, you should also consider if that country is close enough to yours. If you are currently affected by a severe or debilitating health condition, it would be in your best interest to avoid sitting on a plane for too long. Moreover, choosing a country that is nearby to yours can, in many cases, save you some money.
  • Costs: Although one’s healthcare quality should never be compromised at any cost, the actual expenses are, nevertheless, an important factor to consider. Aside from the costs of the treatment itself (which, again, should not be the deciding factor), the accommodation, transportation, and living costs can vary from country to country. It might be in your best interest to opt for a country that is relatively less expensive, as long as the healthcare quality of the country does not decline in comparison.

Choosing a hospital

Now that you have a few countries in mind, your next step is to choose a hospital. The most important step of this entire process is choosing the medical institute in which your treatment will take place. In most cases, your decision of hospital should be based on the factors listed below:

  • Accreditation: The hospital you are considering should at least have been locally or internationally recognized. This recognition comes in the form of accreditations, which can be accredited by international accreditation bodies such as the Joint Commission International (JCI), the Canadian Organization for the Accreditation of Medical Institutions (CCHSA), the Australian Council for Health System Standards (ACHS), the Trent Accreditation Scheme (TAS), the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ESQH), the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH), and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These accreditations can provide you with the necessary understanding of healthcare quality that the hospital provide without having to experience it yourself. Information on these accreditations can usually be found in the “About Us” section or sections of similar context on the website of the hospital. Additionally, any international award that the hospital may have won can also be a reliable indicator of the quality that it provides, though this should not be the deciding factor.
  • Costs: The costs of a medical procedure can vary between different hospitals. You should consider and compare the price range of different hospitals in order to know which one is the most financially beneficial for you, as long as the healthcare quality that the institute provides is not compromised for the sake of cheaper costs.
  • Affiliation: The affiliation of the hospital can also indicate its quality. Recognized medical affiliations include the Harvard Medical School, the Cleveland Clinic, and the John Hopkins.
  • Facility, equipment, and technology: Always make sure that the hospital you are going to choose has the needed facilities and technology in order to accommodate your treatment-related needs before, during, and after the medical procedures itself. You can also inquire about new methods of treatment at the hospital, as good hospitals will often update their system with new developments in the medical field. Although most hospitals do provide follow-up care for its patients, you should still confirm this yourself before making the final decision.
  • Doctors, surgeons, and hospital staffs: You should always thoroughly check the information of the doctors/surgeons from whom you will be receiving treatment and, if possible, that of other medical staffs. It is important for you to make sure that they have been properly trained, licensed, and are adequately qualified to carry out your treatment. You should also check if they have had previous experiences in performing the procedure that you are planning to have. Most of the time, the full profile of medical staffs is available on the website of the hospital. Additionally, you should also confirm if the hospital staffs and, more importantly, the doctors/surgeons are able to communicate with you in a mutually understood language. If they are not able to do this, you should, together with the hospital, arrange for a translator to help.
  • Safety profile: When choosing a hospital, you should also thoroughly check for their safety profile, which includes their statistics, success rates, previous accidents (if any), etc. You should also look for reviews and feedbacks of patients who have already been to the hospital for further references.

GO.CARE will support you during your medical trip so that you can get your health treated and come back safely.

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