Medical tourism is something e all hear often. But what is it exactly? Is it just a tour for educational purposes? How can medicine and tourism be combined? These are the questions one will ask when hearing about medical tourism for the first time. More importantly one should know the benefits of medical tourism. Medical tourism involves travel for health purposes wherein; an individual obtains treatment or medical assistance from a foreign country. Further, it is not only focused on treatment but also the element of travel that can provide an individual with the benefits of a new culture and place.
Given the purpose of medical tourism, how do we go about it? Not everybody has the experience of travelling to unknown places, that too for a specific purpose in mind. Usually, when travelling we seek the assistance of travel agencies or tour operators who plan the itinerary for an entire trip and arrange for the entirety of stay in the destination country. Can the same be applicable when it comes to medical tourism? Maybe we can do our research for doctors and hospitals and ask the operators to arrange for travel and accommodation. The efficiency of such a decision is questionable. It will suffice if the trip is just an informal visit, to get a bird’s eye view before selecting the country as our choice of healthcare service fulfilled.
On the contrary, if the situation in our hands is that we seek timely care and do not have much of that time, we have to make a careful choice. At these desperate times, just a travel operator would not do. We need the assistance of experienced people, who understand what we need and the subtle difference of health issues. We need people who can connect us to the right people for medicalassistance , travel, accommodation and even follow-up. Another main difference is that well-known medical tourism organisations offer assistance from planning the trip to post-trip follow-up procedures.
Hence the differences can be summed up as follows:
- Travel agencies help if the aim is purely leisure. They have considerable experience. Medical tourism connects you to the right doctors and healthcare professionals. For instance, for obtaining medical treatment in India, you have to know the right doctors, know the language of the city your taking treatments, arrange for stay and travel. A regular tourism agency may not be the right fit here.
- Travel agencies understand the needs of tourists but not individuals expecting to recover to good health. We have to do the entire background work and approach them for travel resource.
- Medical tourism assistance can be expected even before you land in the destination country. It doesn’t stop there, once you go back to your country follow-up is also coordinated.
- It cannot be guaranteed that you will get assistance with interpreters with a travel agency. Medical tourism companies know the struggle with the difference in linguistics and hence are prepared beforehand.
- The effort and time you put into planning a medical sojourn are way greater than you can think of. Approaching a specialised organisation can help tremendously at least with the planning.
Given the differences, it is important to take the necessary efforts while choosing organisations for healthcare. Risks cannot be taken when it comes to life. Looking at reviews, talking to organisations and other people who know about such organisations are important.