Planning your medical treatment abroad might sound tiresome and even quite frightening to neophytes in medical tourism. Here is a concise guidebook for you, if you choose to plan your trip abroad independently. It will help you to figure out where to start and in what direction to head, so that you could come for your medical treatment well-prepared.
The first rule is to study the market. You should know what country you want to go to for treatment. You should also study the prices of services and procedures and compare them in various countries. Different countries are known for their achievements in specific areas of treatment. For example, Switzerland is known for its plastic surgery, orthopedics, gynecology and preventive medicine. Having said that, we should bear in mind that Swiss medicine is one of the best in the world in practically every aspect of treatment.
Choose your clinic
Before confirming his trip, a prospective medical tourist should meticulously study all available clinics. It would be a great idea to write a letter to a clinic, asking them about their institution in as much detail as possible. For instance, you could ask the following questions:
- How many inpatients and outpatients do they have per year?
- How effective have they been in treating patients with similar diagnoses?
- What languages are spoken in the clinic?
- Are interpreters available?
- What other services are available? Is it possible to book a sightseeing tour? Is a transfer from the airport available? Is there free Wi-Fi in the clinic? Are rooms for one available in the hospital ward? Are premium class and presidential class hospital rooms available in the ward? Can an accompanying person stay in the hospital as well? What catering is available in the clinic and what options are available?
After this you should compare the advantages of the clinics, paying particular attention to how well they are equipped. Also make an effort and do research on doctors, working in these institutions. Find them in the Internet, study their portfolios. It is likely, that the institutions you are interested in publish information about their doctors on their website, so take a look at these.
There are a lot of standards and requirements, which should be matched by medical universities and hospitals. You can check whether the medical institution you have chosen is certified or not. Certified hospitals are staffed by the world’s best doctors. Switzerland is a country with one of the world’s highest levels of medical services. Here clinics are not often certified by international organizations – preference is given to the country’s own state standards and licenses for medical services. In addition to that, the majority of highly-qualified Swiss medical specialists are members of the Swiss Medical Association (Foederatio Medicorum Helveticorum, FMH). Also, independent public organizations regularly compare Swiss clinics in a number of areas. The results of such studies are published in the Internet and are available to the general public.
Another issue of utmost importance is finding a place to stay. Some clinics do not discharge patients till their complete recovery. Other institutions, however, do discharge patients, as soon as they get better. Some clinics provide accommodation outside the hospital for a postoperative period in nearby hotels and resorts. In your letter to the hospital you can ask about accommodation option. It really helps to know such things in advance, so that you could plan your budget better.
Insurance and Finance
You will definitely need medical insurance for emergency medical care, so if there are any complications and unforeseen cases, the insurance company will cover them. Many visa consulates, the Swiss one being no exception, and some overseas hospitals require obtaining an emergency medical care insurance policy in your country of residence. Please, get well informed on various kinds of insurance services, offered by insurance companies. With that, you should bear in mind, that, as a medical tourist, you will have to cover planned medical expenses yourself. There is just a handful of insurance companies (as a rule, catering for big corporations), whose service packages include covering a course of treatment abroad, and it is very hard to become a participant of such a program. Therefore, put aside a considerable amount for your planned treatment.
And finally, plan your trip in a clear state of mind, without panic. In the process of preparing for the trip you will become more confident in your abilities, and the process will go more smoothly than, at the very beginning.