For those who enjoy traveling solo, medical tourism may seem like an excellent opportunity. It’s no secret that healthcare is cheaper in some countries than in others, and seeking treatment abroad can potentially save a considerable amount of money. However, it’s important to keep in mind that medical tourism carries its own set of risks. To help you make an informed decision about your healthcare options, we’ve compiled a guide to safe medical tourism practices for solo travelers.
1. Start with trusted sources
Researching is vital when it comes to finding safe medical tourism options. Several organizations accredit healthcare facilities for safety and quality standards. The Joint Commission International (JCI) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are two such organizations that accredit healthcare facilities worldwide. They have accredited healthcare facilities designed explicitly for medical tourism. Starting from a reputable position can steer solo travelers towards finding safe medical tourism adequately.
2. Work with a medical tourism facilitator
Working with a medical tourism facilitator can help solo travelers who require guidance and help with the process correctly. With a medical tourism facilitator, it is possible to follow the correct procedures and extend to local healthcare providers who are reputable. These facilitators help in the organization of medical trips for patients. Look for a facilitator with a strong working reputation and experience working with clients from your home country.
3. Consider your destination’s healthcare infrastructure
When choosing a location for medical tourism, don’t overlook the healthcare infrastructure in the destination country. Although many countries offer healthcare facilities, there might be disparities when it comes to healthcare infrastructure. Some countries’ healthcare facilities may not be up to the same level of infrastructure. Because of this, it’s essential to research the location you are visiting, with factors such as emergency health care and infectious disease risks, in mind. Also, consider the proximity to home for easy travel back.
4. Get a second opinion
Getting a second opinion can put a solo traveler’s mind at ease before going ahead with any medical procedures. Consulting a doctor in the solo traveler’s home country or another medical expert should be considered. A second opinion ensures that the recommended treatment is appropriate and that the patient knows all of the potential risks before undergoing any procedures.
5. Discuss your medical history and concerns with your provider
Being candid with medical providers is key to receiving safe medical tourism. Disclosing your medical history and any concerns is crucial, allowing the health care provider to avoid complications and make informed decisions. The patient cannot afford to be withheld any information that they may not deem as necessary. Medical tourism providers must make all sound decisions.
6. Take extra precautions as a solo traveler
Safety is paramount while traveling solo. When undergoing medical procedures, additional measures must be put in place. These measures include researching safe transportation options, ensuring that accommodations are situated in a safe neighborhood, and having plans for emergencies. This way, solo travelers can have peace of mind when making the medical trip, making the best of the experience.
7. Consider the costs and insurance coverage
It is possible for medical tourism to be more affordable than the procedures in the home country. However, all costs must be weighed, including travel expenses, accommodations, and aftercare. All travelers must understand complete costs before going ahead with medical procedures. Furthermore, checking with the insurance provider to see if policies cover overseas treatment should be top of the list. Insurance coverage aids in placing the traveler’s mind at ease and alleviating any financial-related troubles of emergency treatment out of the country.
8. Follow post-treatment instructions carefully
The success of the medical procedure, as well as a swift recovery, are both tied to post-treatment care. Follow-up care after the medical procedure is essential. Adhere to any instructions provided by the medical provider, which may include taking medication, attending regular appointments, and avoiding particular activities or foods. Allowing healing to be completed after medical procedures and ensuring the longevity of their effects is vital.
9. Be prepared for potential language barriers
In some countries, medical providers speak a different language. It is common sense that communication barriers in medical fields create problems. However, if a solo traveler speaks a different language from the medical provider, it creates a unique problem altogether. It is essential to come to the host country prepared to seek medical attention. If communication turns out problematic, involving translation services or coming prepared with a translator can prove necessary.
10. Understand the risks and benefits
Just like any other medical procedure, safe medical tourism for solo travelers requires a clear understanding of the risks and benefits. Top of the list for every traveler is their health, so their decisions must be informed. Before booking for any procedure, research to learn about the potential risks, and remember that not all procedures are guaranteed to be successful. Ensure understanding before undergoing the procedure.