November 2007


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MEDICAL TOURISM AND JCI HOSPITALS

With the growth in the number of medical tourism providers quality standards become all the more important. To demonstrate their commitment towards quality some international health care organizations choose to be accredited by the US-based Joint Commission Internationa (JCI). JCI accreditation has gained worldwide attention as an effective quality evaluation and management tool. A JCI hospital is an international hospital outside of the United States which has been accredited by the Joint Commission International. There are over 120 JCI hospitals worldwide and many more are in the process of receiving accreditation.

The JCI accreditation program was launched by the Joint Commission in 1999 in response to the growing interest in accreditation and quality improvement worldwide. Accreditation is usually voluntary. The health care organization interested in a JCI accreditation has to meet a set of standards requirements designed to improve quality of care. JCI accreditation standards are usually regarded as optimal and achievable. Accreditation provides a visible commitment by an organization to improve the quality of patient care, to ensure a safe environment and to continually work to reduce risks to patients and staff.

JCI makes sure accredited hospitals have state-of-the-art health care facilities and technology along with advanced transportation and communication systems. JCI accredited hospitals’ health care standards, professionalism and quality of their doctors are equivalent if not superior to those you find in the United States of America.

JCI ensure the quality of hospitals in its network using the following criteria:
• Coverage From Patient Entry to Discharge
• Assessment for All Aspects of Management
• Culture of Patient Safety
• Access to and continuity of care
• Assessment and care processes
• Education and rights of individuals
• Management of information and human resources
• Quality leadership
• Infection control
• Collaborative integrated
• Facility Management

The above is a partial list of assessment criteria. For details, refer to Medical Tourism FAQ.

For affordable overseas medical treatment at a JCI hospital, please contact Healthbase. Healthbase is a medical tourism expert connecting patients to leading healthcare facilities worldwide.

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MEDICAL TOURISM TO CANADA

According to an article (Canada a mecca for medical tourism?) published in TheStar.com on October 13, 2007, Canada has the potential to become the next medical tourism destination.

Eliminating wait times in Canada’s health care system would allow this country to become a mecca for medical “tourists,” the president of the Canadian Medical Association said yesterday.

“Consider that the biggest consumers in the $40 billion medical tourism business are Americans,” Day told a meeting of the Empire Club in Toronto, referring to people who travel out of their country to seek specialized medical care.

“This is a potentially massive new industry for Canada (but) a prerequisite is the elimination of our wait times.”

Day said Americans travel to far-flung places like India, Thailand and Russia for more novel or cheaper medical procedures than they can obtain in their own country.

“By changing our focus we, too, could soon tap into that market and reap the rewards for our public system,” he said.

“Since Canada has virtually no non-government hospital infrastructure, the potential income from medical tourism will benefit public hospitals and unionized hospital workers. Naysayer union leaders need to reflect on this matter.”

More at TheStar.com

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MEDICAL OUTSOURCING

Dictionary.com defines outsourcing as “a practice used by different companies to reduce costs by transferring portions of work to outside suppliers rather than completing it internally”. The term which has been generally associated with the automobile industry was popularized during the past decade by the computer or IT industry. But when it is the health industry in question, how does outsourcing work there? What is outsourced and how?

If you are thinking it’s the drug manufacturing that is outsourced, you are wrong. Nor is it the bookkeeping that is outsourced. What is outsourced is the patient himself or rather he chooses to have his treatment done offshore. The driving cause is the high cost of health care in his home country. Or in certain other cases, the long waits before he can get the needed treatment.

So, medical outsourcing or offshore medical which is also commonly known as medical tourism is the practice of seeking health care abroad. But, who provides these outsourcing services?

There are lots of offshore health care providers in the form of hospitals and clinics participating in this business. Some of them can be found on the other side of the border while others may be a few oceans across. Examples include those in India, Singapore, Thailand, Mexico, Turkey, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, and so on. Some of them give excellent service – even superior to what you can get at home using the latest technology and by world-renowned surgeons – while others may not be as great. To show their commitment towards top quality, many providers also have international accreditations like JCI, JACHO, ISO, etc. Some have strategic alliances with well-known US health care providers like Cleveland Clinic, Harvard Medical International and Johns Hopkins.

International health care providers are able to provide you with high quality treatment at an affordable cost mainly because of low labor cost, low administrative cost, low malpractice cost and low living cost in their country. That’s the same reason why IT companies started outsourcing.

Now the obvious question arises – how do you find the right provider for your needs? The answer is do research. There are lots of resources available – news, articles, blogs, forums, testimonials, etc. Many people find it useful to work with a health tourism facilitator or medical tourism facilitator like Healthbase (http://www.healthbase.com). They are specialized facilitators who carefully screen and partner with international healthcare providers that meet up to the high standards of patients from the US, the UK, Canada, etc. They also help patients with all the logistics involved in getting a surgery abroad.

There are a few other things that you will need to do for a successful experience in getting your surgery overseas. Getting into the details of all of them is beyond the scope of this article. Here are some of them: doing a thorough research on the surgery in question to establish your suitability for it as well as for medical tourism, getting to learn about your medical travel destination, arranging all your medical records and sending them to the international hospital, securing passport and visa, booking tickets, and more. You may want to start here: http://www.healthbase.com/resources/medical-tourism/medical-tourism-information.

Earlier, people would go abroad mostly for elective cosmetic procedures which were not covered by insurances. Today, people outsource their orthopedic procedures as well as cardiac surgeries as well as organ transplants. It’s not just individuals who are interested in this trend to save money. Medical outsourcing has also received attention from health insurance companies who have started offering overseas treatment plans to expand their customer base, and from employers who have included it as a benefit to their employees.

At the time of writing this article, neither Merriam Webster nor Dictionary.com had an entry for “medical outsourcing”. But given the speed with which the trend is spreading, pretty soon they will have to update their dictionaries.

You can learn more about medical outsourcing, the details of the process, international healthcare providers and arrange your surgery by logging on to http://www.healthbase.com. Healthbase.com is a medical tourism facilitator committed to providing low-cost high quality medical travel services to the global medical consumer.

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SURGICAL TOURISM

Surgery isn’t the first or even the last thing that comes to mind when you think tourism and vice versa. As misnomered as it may sound, but surgical tourism is what is happening in the health care industry today. Surgical tourism, also known as medical tourism, medical travel, health travel and health tourism , is traveling abroad for surgery.

 

So why would someone choose to go overseas for surgery?

The number one reason is because they can get huge discounts when compared to the price tags on surgeries at home. Surgical tourists claim to have saved from 50% to over 90%. Another reason revolves around the long wait-lists in countries like Canada and UK with public health care system. Some go for elective surgeries not covered by insurance.

 

Does low cost mean poor quality?

Check out pictures of some of the international hospitals catering to foreign patients at https://www.healthbase.com/hb/pages/hospitals_pl.jsp and you will notice how immaculate their 5-star hotel type facilities are. Their accreditations include those like JCI, JCAHO and ISO. Patients vouch for the personalized service they get. It’s not uncommon to see world-renowned surgeons at these international hospitals playing finger-magic behind the latest billion-dollar robotic machines.

 

Exactly how is such a miracle possible?

Well, that’s because in some countries like India, Thailand, Singapore, Turkey, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and others, the cost of labor when compared to the US, UK or Canada is lower. Plus, administrative costs and malpractice costs are also lower. These are the countries that are hot surgical tourism destinations.

 

Some of the surgeries that patients go overseas for…

Range from breast augmentation to Birmingham hip resurfacing surgery , and from lap band to triple cardiac bypass surgery. And it’s not just surgeries that people seek. Some go for therapeutic treatments and others for cancer treatments. Restorative and reparative treatments like LASIK are common and so are preventive check-ups and simple dental fix-ups .

 

Where is tourism in the picture?

While the primary motivation for most surgical tourists is affordable surgery, the opportunity to visit exotic destinations is an additional draw for some. You can plan to have a holiday during your visit to the foreign country before the surgery if your health permits or after the surgery if your surgeon permits.

 

How do I go about arranging my surgery abroad?

Getting surgery overseas is not even closely related to getting surgery at your local hospital but it can save you a ton of money. However, it involves careful research and planning. Begin by collecting more information about the trend of surgical tourism. You may start here: http://www.healthbase.com/resources/medical-tourism/medical-tourism-information . Read what others are saying about it. Educate yourself about the surgery desired. Do your due diligence in researching the various international hospitals and surgeons at the surgical destination you are interested in. Compare quotes from various providers and finalize one.

Many people find it useful to work with a surgical tourism provider that helps them with all the logistics of surgical tourism. Surgical tourism providers like Healthbase (http://www.healthbase.com) connect you with the hospital of your choice while providing many other related valuable services like detailed information about various procedures, detailed hospital profiles and surgeon profiles, medical records transfer, free surgery quote, pre- and post-consultation with the overseas hospital, feedback and testimonials from previous patients, medical and dental loan financing, passport and visa, airport pick-up and drop-off, hospital escort, tickets, travel insurance, hotel booking, tourism services in the destination country, etc.

You can learn more about the growing trend of medical tourism, international healthcare facilities and surgeons, and the details of the medical tourism process by logging on to http://www.healthbase.com. Healthbase.com is a medical tourism facilitator committed to providing low-cost high quality medical travel services to the global medical consumer.

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STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO MEDICAL TOURISM

Going overseas for surgical treatment can be overwhelming for anybody. After all, it’s not like going to a hospital down the road where you have been to before and know all the doctors and nurses. To be successful in your pursuit of low cost high quality medical treatment , there is a step by step process that you must follow to gain confidence in your decision, get the right care and save money.

STEP 1: FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE TREND OF MEDICAL TOURISM

Find out why everybody is raving about it and why they are willing to travel half the world for it. Learn from the experience of others . Read news , blogs and articles on the subject. Check out the frequently asked questions that medical tourists have at https://www.healthbase.com/hb/pages/medical-tourism-faq.jsp.

STEP 2: RESEARCH ON THE MEDICAL PROCEDURE

Find out all you can about the medical procedure in question – problems it solves, follow-up care needed, physical therapy required, etc. This will help you clear 3 doubts: is the procedure right for your condition; are you the right candidate for the procedure; and should you go abroad for it.

STEP 3: FIND OUT IF MEDICAL TOURISM IS WHAT YOU WANT

Medical tourism is not always a good choice for non-emergency medical treatments. Sometimes transportation costs may outweigh the possible savings achievable by going abroad. In some cases, the time required for the surgery abroad may be too much for you to spare. Or, the surgery you need may not be available abroad with a reputable health care provider.

STEP 4: LEARN ABOUT MEDICAL TOURISM DESTINATIONS

Some countries have the reputation for top-quality cardiac surgery while others for world-class orthopedics and yet others for cosmetic procedures. So make your selection wisely. Sometimes distance can also play an important role in your decision-making, like in the case of small dental jobs. You should also prepare yourself for culture differences.

STEP 5: LEARN ABOUT INTERNATIONAL FACILITIES AND SURGEONS

When researching on any health care provider try to find answers to the following:

Does the hospital or clinic employ the latest equipments and technology? Do they have expertise in the medical procedure you are seeking? What accreditations and awards do they have? Are the surgeons qualified enough? Where did they receive their education and training?

Answering these questions will give you a fair idea of the standard of quality of the provider.

STEP 6: ARRANGE ALL YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS

You will need them at the time of pre-consultation with your overseas surgeon as well as when you go abroad for surgery. Depending upon the condition you are treating, medical records you may need are: X-Rays, X-Ray reports, MRI’s, health histories, photographs, immunization record, prescriptions, etc..

STEP 7: REQUEST AND COMPARE QUOTES

Costs of health care vary from country to country and provider to provider. So request for quotes and compare them. Your selection of a particular provider and country should be based not just on low cost but also on quality as well as distance.

STEP 8: CHECK WITH YOUR INSURANCE FOR COVERAGE

With the numerous benefits that medical tourism offers, today some insurance companies have medical tourism plans. So, if you are covered under an overseas medical treatment plan, your insurer might cover your medical tourism expenses in full or in part. So check with your health insurance company for coverage details.

STEP 9: ACQUIRE YOUR PASSPORT AND VISA

If you and/or your travel companion (if any) do not have a passport, you will need to acquire it. Some countries may require you to have a visa for entry. Check visa requirements and apply for it.

STEP 10: PLAN YOUR ITINERARY

When planning your itinerary, allow ample time for recovery. Be prepared to stay longer/shorter than expected. If you have travel or tourism on mind, allow time for that as well.

STEP 11: BOOK TICKETS AND ROOMS

Book tickets for yourself and your companion. After your surgery, you can choose to relax at a resort or in a hotel or go traveling in the foreign country. So if possible, make arrangements beforehand.

STEP 12: APPLY FOR TRAVEL INSURANCE PLAN

Consider purchasing one of the short-term health and emergency assistance policies designed for travelers. Travel insurance gives medical tourists coverage for unforeseen problems, from a canceled flight to a serious illness.

STEP 13: APPLY FOR MEDICAL FINANCE LOAN

If you do not have enough money for your medical treatment overseas, you may consider applying for medical loan or dental loan. Loan processing companies provide patient payment plans for plastic surgery, dental procedures, bariatric procedures, dermatology treatments, hospital, etc.

STEP 14: PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR RECOVERY

In certain cases, you may need to prepare your home for recovery. For example, if you are seeking affordable hip resurfacing surgery abroad , you may want to rearrange furniture in your house in advance before you leave to aid during the recovery stages.

STEP 15: PACK YOUR BAGS AND TAKE THE TRIP

Ensure that you have packed comfortable clothing. Bring some local currency, travelers checks, and one or two major credit cards. Keep important contact information handy. Bring all the required medical records. Remember to carry all your medical reports as well as any medicines in your carry-on luggage. Finally, take your well-planned medical trip and return home happy and healthy!

The above step by step medical tourism guide will help you with most aspects of medical tourism. To make your medical travel easy you may want to use a medical tourism provider to help you with all the logistics of medical tourism. Medical tourism providers like Healthbase (http://www.healthbase.com ) connect you with the hospital of your choice while providing many other related valuable services.

You can learn more about the growing trend of medical tourism, international healthcare facilities and surgeons , and the details of the medical tourism process by logging on to http://www.healthbase.com. Healthbase.com is a medical tourism facilitator committed to providing low-cost high quality medical travel services to the global medical consumer.

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TOP 10 REASONS WHY MEDICAL TOURISM IS POPULAR

Medical Tourism dates back to the times when wealthy Europeans and Asians would travel within their continent or to other continents to seek health related treatments. But, of late, the trend has been popularized by Americans, Canadians, British and others who travel to far-off countries in search for low-cost high quality health care or for care that’s not readily available in their country.

Following are the top 10 reasons why people travel to far-flung developing countries for medical care:

1. Incredible Savings
The top on the list is savings. Depending upon your destination country and the cost of the procedure back home, expect to save at least 50%.
For example: A cardiac bypass surgery is estimated at well over $100,000 in the US. But in India, at a 5-star type hospital, you can have the same surgery for only about $10,000. That’s 90% savings even after you have paid for your travel, accommodation and vacation for yourself and a companion.

2. No Wait-Lists
Access to immediate service is what attracts those from countries that have public health care system towards medical tourism . A case at hand is that of a Canadian who suffered from chronic back pain for 16 years and was given medication to deal with it for all those years. Tired of the system and of the worsening pain, she went to India to get her spinal surgery. She now tells everyone how she got her life back by going to India .

3. Excellent Quality
To demonstrate their commitment to quality many international providers choose to be accredited by organizations such as JCI, JCAHO and ISO or by their local accrediting organizations. Read testimonials by medical tourists who vouch for the high quality treatment they have received overseas.

4. World-Class Facilities
International providers offer luxurious accommodation, private spacious rooms, and access to hospitality services 24 x 7. The facilities are immaculate and there are no infections that we so often hear about being present in UK hospitals.

5. Access to Latest Technology
The technology and equipments used by them are the latest and the greatest. It’s not uncommon to see surgeons working with billion dollar robotic machines in operating rooms.

6. Surgeon Expertise
Most surgeons catering to international patients have either been educated or have received professional training at top schools in the US, UK or in other countries in Europe. They have colleagues in the US, UK and elsewhere, so it should not come as a surprise if they know your local surgeon at home.

7. Personalized Service
Most medical traveleres vouch for the genuine and excellent service that they receive from surgeons, nurses and other medical staff alike. The staff to patient ratio is low making high level of personal care possible.

8. Longer Hospital Stay
One of the advantages of medical travel is you get to stay in the hospital for long without incurring hefty room charges. You can have a longer hospital stay than possible in your local hospital back home under the supervision of your surgeon and physical therapist.

9. Great Convenience
Given the ease of international travel combined with low airfares, your life-changing surgery is just a flight away. Another convenience that you get is not having to leave the comforts of your home until the surgery is due. You can research all you want on the Internet about hospitals and surgeons, share your medical records online with them, book and plan your itinerary on the web, etc.

10. Travel Opportunities
While the primary motivation for most customers is affordable surgery the opportunity to visit exotic destinations is an additional draw for some. You can choose to have a relaxing recovery in a resort setting or if your surgeon allows you can even enjoy outdoor tourist attractions.

You can learn more about the growing trend of medical tourism , international healthcare facilities and surgeons and the details of the medical tourism process by logging on to http://www.healthbase.com. Healthbase.com is a medical tourism facilitator committed to providing low-cost high quality medical travel services to the global medical consumer.

To learn more about medical tourism, read the medical tourism blog.

For the latest news, interviews, videos, etc, about medical tourism, check out the surgical tourism blog.

Before embarking on your medical travel trip, do read the overseas medical travel blog.

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MEDICAL TOURISM GUIDE

Today, cheap yet world-class surgeries are just a flight away. But the deluge of information available out there can overwhelm anybody. So, here is a quick guide to medical tourism to answer most of your questions about the phenomenon.

WHAT IS MEDICAL TOURISM?
Medical tourism is the process of traveling abroad to receive superior medical, dental and cosmetic care by highly skilled surgeons at some of the most modern and state-of-the-art medical facilities in the world…all at a fraction of the price in the US, UK and Canada.

MEDICAL TOURISM OFFERINGS
1. Incredible Savings: Compare a $7,000 hip resurfacing in India with a $48,000 one in the US. In general you are able to save 50% to 90%.
2. Excellent Quality: Many international providers are accredited by JCI, JCAHO and ISO or by local accrediting organizations. They have world-class facilities, have access to the latest technology and provide personalized service. If in doubt, read testimonials by patients who have experienced treatment overseas.
3. Surgeon Expertise: Most surgeons catering to international patients have either been educated or have received professional training at top schools in the US, UK or in other countries in Europe.
4. No Wait-Lists: Access to immediate service is what attracts those from countries that have public health care system towards medical tourism.
5. Longer Hospital Stay: You can have a longer hospital stay than possible in your local hospital back home under the supervision of your surgeon and physical therapist.
6. Travel Opportunities: While the primary motivation for most customers is affordable surgery, the opportunity to visit exotic destinations is an additional draw for some.

WHO SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN MEDICAL TOURISM?
In general, most medical tourists are either uninsured, underinsured or those seeking elective surgeries. Others resort to medical tourism due to the long wait-lists or unavailability of certain procedures in their country.

WHICH COUNTRIES OFFER THE BEST SERVICES?
The most popular medical travel destinations are India, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil, Belgium, and Argentina amongst others. Some of these countries are considered best for cardiac surgery, others for orthopedic surgery and yet others for plastic surgery. You should base your selection on: quality, distance and cost.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT PROVIDER
When choosing a provider, don’t get swayed by attractive packages and fancy websites. Read and watch what others are saying about the particular hospital, clinic or surgeon. Check out the facility pictures and videos. Consider the provider’s accreditation, awards and recognitions, facility and equipments, statistics like success rates, etc.

WILL MY HEALTH INSURANCE PAY FOR IT?
Insurance companies are keenly looking into medical tourism as an option though most haven’t adopted it into their plans yet. So check with your health insurer for details.

SHOULD I COMBINE “SUN, SAND, AND SEA” WITH SURGERY?
That depends.
Usually after a cosmetic surgery, you are advised not to expose your body to the sun or to sea water. But, you can always choose to enjoy them before your surgery.
With certain other medical procedures, it’s best for you to stay indoors and relax after your surgery.
In any case, you should always consult your surgeon if you have travel or tourism on your mind.

WHAT ARE MEDICAL TOURISM FACILITATORS?
Medical tourism facilitators like Healthbase are specialized facilitators that connect you with the hospital of your choice while providing all or some other valuable services like detailed information about various procedures, detailed hospital profiles and surgeon profiles, medical records transfer, free surgery quote, pre- and post-consultation with the overseas hospital, feedback and testimonials from previous patients, medical and dental loan financing, passport and visa, airport pick-up and drop-off, hospital escort, tickets, travel insurance, hotel booking, tourism services in the destination country, etc.

This medical tourism guide is just a starting step. You should do the proper required research before you fly to your medical tourism destination.

You can learn more about the growing trend of medical tourism, international healthcare facilities and surgeons and the details of the medical tourism process by logging on to http://www.healthbase.com. Healthbase.com is a medical tourism facilitator committed to providing low-cost high quality medical travel services to the global medical consumer.

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