Finding the right healthcare provider is a crucial step in planning your medical trip. Thoroughly do your homework to ensure you are comfortable with your choices of both the travel destination and the clinic or hospital for medical tourism. When it comes to finding the best hospital for medical tourism, credibility and trust are among the critical factors for you to consider.
Tips for Finding Trustworthy Clinics and Hospitals for Medical Tourism
Look for hospital accreditation and certificates
This is especially critical for major surgical procedures like transplants, as you want to ensure the safety and quality of your health care. Hospitals and clinics with accreditation have met the standards set by an external accrediting organization.
Most medical institutions will prominently display accreditation information on their websites. You can also visit the websites of accrediting bodies to check their list of hospitals. The Joint Commission International is the most well-known accrediting organization worldwide. It is actually one of the many reputable accrediting organizations under the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua). Other ISQua-accredited organizations include:
- National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) in India
- Saudi Central Board for Accreditation of Healthcare Institutions (CBAHI), Jeddah in Saudi Arabia
- The Healthcare Accreditation Institute (HAI) in Thailand
- The Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA) in South Africa
Other good indicators of safety and quality are awards and ISO certification, which work to protect the health and safety of patients and healthcare providers. ISO standards cover a range of health concerns from medical devices to the sterilization process to traditional Chinese medicine.
Ask about safety figures, quality data, and clinic/hospital resources
When talking to clinics and hospitals, find out about infection rates like catheter-associated infections, bloodstream infections and surgical-site infections which should be below three percent (3%). Other policies and protocols to look out for include hand hygiene, patient fall tracking and prophylactic antibiotic use.
Also find out if the medical institution has the resources needed to perform your medical procedure. For example, if you’re planning on heart surgery, inquire about their cardiology and cardiac surgery program, as well as more general information like number of beds. Ask about their specialists, the nurse staff, and equipment including a cardiac catheterization lab and the surgical intensive care unit.
Check for tie-ups with “brand name” hospitals
Leading healthcare systems such as U.S.-based Johns Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic and the University of Pennsylvania have existing partnerships with some hospitals in other countries. These foreign hospital institutions practice the same safety standards and policies as their American counterparts.
Learn about their doctors and staff
Find out more about the doctors at the medical institutions you’re eyeing, especially the specialists who could be handling your case. If possible, get in touch with the doctors to discuss your case.
Check their credentials, particularly their license and board certification, and verify this information online. Generally accredited clinics and hospitals will likely have properly licensed physicians. Thorough research is still a good idea to be on the safe side.
Having international patient services is also an indicator that the clinic or hospital you chose for medical tourism is prepared to fully assist you.
Seek professional opinion
You could ask your local doctor for referrals or about specialists they know of, regardless of where they are based. If you have health insurance, check your provider’s network of doctors and hospitals.
Medical tourism facilitators and agencies can also help you during your research, as they have established relationships with international hospitals and care providers. This has its pros and cons, though. The facilitator is likely to be biased towards its own network of hospitals and clinics, as well as certain travel destinations.
World-class Healthcare Destinations
If you’re still looking into possible places for your medical treatment, you can start by thinking of general destinations you’d want to visit. Keep in mind what makes a place a good medical tourism destination. When shortlisting healthcare destinations, check for these factors:
- Excellent tourism infrastructure
- Government and private sector investment in healthcare infrastructure
- Political transparency and social stability
- International patient flow
- Potential for cost savings on medical procedures
- Availability of internationally trained and experienced medical staff
- Sustained reputation for clinical excellence
- Commitment to international accreditation, quality assurance, and transparency of outcomes
- History of healthcare innovation and achievement
- Successful adoption of best practices and state-of-the-art medical technology
As you research on medical travel and plan for your medical trip, you can get more information from MEDtrip’s Medical Tourism Resources, particularly our answers to medical tourism FAQs.