1. Do the Right Research: It is easy to reach your surgical destination attracted by word-of-mouth sort of publicity. But there are only three things that will help you make the right decisions. These are research, research and more research. After all, a lot of money, time and most importantly your health is at stake. Start by gathering info on the nature of your disease and the ins and outs of your treatment. Also research the destination country, potential hospitals for the treatment, its doctors, their qualification and accreditation.
2. Keep the Right Company: It is best to work closely with a medical tourism company. They are specialized mediators between international patients and hospitals. Besides overseeing the medical tourism process they also make other arrangements for you like accommodation, transfers, tour planning and the like.
3. Don't Get Duped: Remember, you must be satisfied with the decision you make so don't hesitate to request for verifications like contact details of previous patients. Some medical tourism agencies lure patients with their marketing gimmicks. If you know someone in the destination country, ask them to make inquiries.
4. Shop Around: It is very important to make an informed decision. Don't stop at the first medical tourism providers you come across while researching. Get quotes from health care providers and medical tourism agencies. Compare the costs of treatment while you are at it.
5. Manage Your Money: Don't be strapped for cash on arrival at the destination country. Purchase some local currency beforehand. Make necessary arrangements for traveler's checks from your bank and valid credit cards with sufficient limits. Visa and Master card are accepted on worldwide scale. You may also request an increase in credit limit and most companies would be more than happy to do so.
6. Keep your Local Doctor in the Loop: Inform him or her of your decision to travel for treatment and also ask for advice. You local physician may have some pertinent advice and may help you in making a decision. You may also need his/her assistance before surgery for furnishing your health records and for follow-up care.
7. Carry all Relevant Documents: Keep all your medical records, your health history, updated Passport and Visa in order and handy. The medical documents and prescriptions will especially be of the utmost importance to your doctor while finalizing the course of action.
8. Keep Important Contacts Handy: Keeping your emergency contacts with you should not be overlooked. These include numbers of your destination embassy, hospital, medical tourism company, local physician, your employer and relatives. Who knows when you may require it. And don't just rely on your cellphone, write them down and store with your luggage.
9. Be Flexible: Keep in mind that you are not on some rushed business trip. This holiday will take time as you are traveling to recover from an ailment. Everybody takes a different amount of time to recover. So make room for extensions in your plans. You may also heal quicker than your doctor predicted. Just relax and you'll be fine.
10. Don't Forget the 'Tourism' in Medical Tourism: Plan your holiday based on the kind of treatment you are traveling for. In case it is something that will restrict your movements or leave you sapped for energy, indulge in a holiday before the surgery and leave for home after a couple of days. Else you can enjoy a trip afterwards and go home feeling refreshed. Also take your doctor's advice before you make a decision.
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