Medical Tourism Information - Myths About Medical Tourism

Medical Tourism Information - General Discrepancies

North American patients are increasingly opting to travel abroad for high quality, affordable medical treatments. However, many people remain sceptical due to discrepancies regarding available medical tourism information.

Inadequate information about medical tourism is the reason that some people avoid this option. If you are considering treatment abroad, you should make an informed decision based on research. Discuss your concerns with medical tourists who have already been abroad for a treatment.

There are many false myths and preconceived notions regarding the medical tourism industry. Below is a list of some common myths that need to be set right:

Myth: Medical tourism is a new concept

Fact: Medical Tourism is not new. For decades, US citizens have and continue to travel to foreign countries to receive cosmetic surgery and to Mexico for dental care. Recently, medical tourism has experienced a huge boom. Josef Woodman, the author of "Patients Beyond Borders: Everybody's Guide to Affordable, World-class Medical Tourism", estimated that approximately 150,000 people received medical treatment abroad in 2007, and it is predicted that this figure will double by 2010.

The Health Industry provides medical tourism information, which reveals that the main reason for the high cost of U.S. healthcare is the rapidly increasing healthcare insurance, malpractice, increased salary and benefits provided to hospital employees.

While the country debates over the medical insurance system of America, an increasing number of American people have taken matters into their own hands. Approximately 61 million uninsured or under-insured Americans have rejected a system that fails to satisfy their medical needs and instead they opt to go to receive treatment elsewhere.

Medical tourism dates back to ancient times, when Greek pilgrims traveled over the Mediterranean to take refuge in the Saronic Gulf known as Epidauria. This is where the healing god Asklepios could be found.

Myth: Low cost medical treatments take place in low quality medical facilities

Fact: People often assume that lower cost means lower quality. However, research on medical tourism indicates that the reason costs of medical treatments abroad are so low is due to cheap labor. The present popularity of medical tourism has encouraged medical tourist hubs such as: Thailand, Costa Rica, India, Singapore, Argentina and others, to improve their quality of service.

Many private healthcare services abroad are using the most up-to-date healthcare methods and technologies. Due to strong competition in this rapidly developing market, medical tourists can find medical facilities abroad that are better than, or on par with medical treatment facilities in the US. Clinics abroad provide sophisticated apparatus and qualified doctors. Many of these doctors are educated in North America and Europe.

Many medical services abroad acquire proper certifications like Joint Commission International (JCI) and International Standards Organization (ISO). Additionally, clinics abroad provide an advanced level of healthcare as compared to the normal community hospital in the USA. Some of the most esteemed medical service providers abroad are:

Myth: Physicians abroad are not as good as physicians in the USA

Fact: Medical Tourism information provided by National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) reveals that healthcare suppliers and medical travel mediators overseas also compete on quality by advertising their medical team's qualifications. These doctors are usually certified by U.S. boards, whereas others have educational certificates which are recognized worldwide. Most of the doctors who treat medical tourists are trained in the United States, Australia, Canada or Europe.

The US Government promotes cultural-exchange programs from Southeast Asia and the Middle East, as a majority of physicians from these countries are educated and trained in US universities and hospitals. Several American medical schools are unable to rapidly produce sufficient graduates to fill the available internships and residencies, as a result, approximately 9,500 overseas doctors are employed in US hospitals, especially when these hospitals are understaffed.

To find out the credentials of a physician overseas, you must verify that the doctor has the necessary accreditation and board certifications. Board certifications to note:
  • American Board of Cosmetic Surgery
  • American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • American Board of Surgery
  • American Board Certified General Surgeon
  • The American Board of Medical Specialists

Myth: Hospitals and medical hubs abroad are technically substandard as compared to the USA

Fact: The economic and demographic expansion in Asia is the main reason for the rise of medical infrastructures in the recent past. Due to technological and medical development, the medical services are extremely advanced and refined.

Most of the hospitals and medical hubs abroad are privately owned services which particularly look after medical tourists and the elite residents of these countries. Also, they utilize the latest medical technology and produce an environment appropriate for global, multi-cultural patients.

To ensure quality, search for institutions authorized by the Joint Commission International (JCI), an associate of the group that recognizes U.S. hospitals. Also, some foreign hospitals that are affiliated with renowned U.S. services like Johns Hopkins and the Cleveland Clinic.

Medical tourism information from NCPA confirms that over 120 hospitals overseas are recognized by the JCI, a part of the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Hospitals that certifies American hospitals joining in Medicare. The ISO also recognizes hospitals that meet globally agreed standards.

Almost 150 hospitals abroad are certified by ISO and JCI. Furthermore, some countries are implementing their own authorization criteria. For example, the Indian Healthcare Federation is developing authorization standards in an effort to assure potential patients about the premium medical facilities in India.

Before seeking medical treatment abroad, it is essential that you gather accurate and dependable facts about medical facilities and doctors to judge the quality of healthcare overseas. The Internet is a great source of reliable medical tourism information.