Medical Tourism: What to Know and Risks to be Aware of

Traveling to other countries to get treatments or surgeries not fully covered here by your insurance or health plan may seem like a good idea that can potentially save you money. And in some cases it can be. However, before making that big decision it’s important to know the risks.

Know the Regulations of the Country you’re Seeking Treatment in

Many countries have different health regulations than the United States. For example, doctors in the United States have to go through extensive training and testing in order to get a license to practice medicine, in order to meet the high standards of care provided here. However, other countries such as India and Sri Lanka, don’t require the same licensing or testing procedures and as a result often may not be able to provide the same level of care as here in the United States. If you decide to seek treatment in another country make sure to know the required training, background and testing required of someone before allowing them to treat you.

Additionally, know the country’s competency evaluations procedures. Competency evaluations, in which doctors are examined for their performances on whether they’ll be able to continue to practice, are relatively strict in the United States. Other countries, however, may differ on and be less strict on who can continue to practice medicine after a less than adequate performance.  You should be careful to know these procedures of other countries to make sure you won’t get an inadequate doctor or one who has botched procedures in the past.

Finally, if privacy of your medical records is a concern check the country’s laws to make sure they do an adequate job of keeping your records private. Here in the United States HIPAA, maintains privacy over your health records, but other countries’ regulations may not do so.

Medical Malpractice Regulations

It’s also important to know the country’s medical malpractice regulations if something goes wrong, so you or your family can be compensated. Here in the United States patients can sue for compensation when doctors procedures harm them and that harm was due to them practicing outside of the standard of care. Some countries, however, do not even have malpractice regulations. If this is a concern for you, make sure to check the country’s medical malpractice regulations before  seeking treatment there.

Success and mortality rates

The next and most obvious thing to know, if available, is that country’s success and mortality rates. For obvious reasons, this can be important in evaluating whether you want to seek treatment in that country. 

Cleanliness of the Hospital

Finally, an important consideration is the cleanliness of the hospital. Many countries such as Mexico have had problems with anti-bacterial resistant infections Check for reports on how clearn certain hospitals are before deciding to seek

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