Friday, June 5, 2009

How to Choose the Right Facility for Your Medical Care Abroad

It is not enough to offer resort type accommodations in brand new buildings. Administrators recognize that in order to attract medical tourists, it is necessary to meet the strictest of standards and provide top quality service. The majority of marketed facilities that offer medical tourism are accredited by the IOS (International Organization of Standardization) and the JCI (Joint Commission International). The IOS is an organization made up of members from countries all over the world, as is the JCI.

Both organizations offer standards that have been drafted with the intent of providing a framework for operation and measurable outcomes. The JCI website is and gives a complete listing of all international facilities that are accredited. Each listing gives the date of accreditation and the date of re-accreditation, if applicable. You can also review what some of the standards are, what the accreditation process is, and pending standards.

Both organizations have developed the standards with the input of members that represent all world regions. (North America, Central and Latin America, Asia and the Pacific Rim, Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the Middle East, and Africa). A wise person would consult the accredited facilities listing, prior to determining which to have a procedure done at. It is unfortunate that there are some facilities that are brand new and fully staffed, but are not adhering to sanitation guidelines.

Phone and email conversations with former patrons of the facility will give you critical information concerning the cleanliness of the building and is well worth your time and effort. Bear in mind that each facility has its own set of policies and procedures and adhere to those, in addition to any put forth by the IOS and JCI. A wise consumer will ask for a copy of the policies and procedures and review them prior to making a final decision. When trying to decide which are the best facilities, be sure to look beyond the nice building and paintings.

You need to find out what equipment the facility has and how old it is. Because state of the art diagnostic equipment can be as costly as erecting a building, some are opting to purchase outdated and second hand equipment. Still others have equipment that looks good in the pictures, but is malfunctioning. It should be pointed out that this is not the norm. Most new facilities are also equipped with the latest equipment such as heart mapping equipment, CT Scanners, Open MRI machines, heart catheterization labs, digital ultrasound and mammogram machines and more.

Contact with the facility to inquire about their equipment, reference checks and using a medical tourism travel agent are some ways to safeguard against problems. Most of the doctors who work in these medical tourism facilities have studied in the developed countries and then have returned to work in their home countries. If you are having a medical procedure done, rest assured that you will be cared for by highly qualified staff.

Anyone who has had a medical procedure done knows that the post operative stage is as important, and sometimes more so, than the actual procedure. Checking the policies for recovery is important. Decisions should be made, in part, based on the type of care that is provided post recovery. In developed countries, there are plenty of documented cases of being discharged from a hospital too soon after a procedure, and having complications develop. Medical tourists report the opposite, to a large degree.

Most tourists report that they were allowed to stay for a full recovery period, and that staff were very attentive. Many facilities have translators standing by who are fluent in every language. Again, taking the time to check the specific practices and staffing of the facility you are considering will save potential problems later on. It is true that all countries have good facilities and bad, all countries have highly skilled doctors as well as those who are poorly trained and running less than desirable operations. Purchase a well researched medical tourism guide and or contact a medical travel agent to assist you with your decision. The information is already researched for you, and you would be wise to access those resources.