Let’s say you’re residing abroad . . . and you’ve just been diagnosed with a cardiac or neurological condition and are uncomfortable with the diagnosis, or proposed treatment plan.
What can be done under this circumstance or in a situation where you are adversely affected by symptoms that may not be accurately diagnosed and effectively treated by your local doctor?
Trusting the diagnosis of a foreign physician and putting one’s faith in the “health system” is a big challenge for expats who are generally unfamiliar with “who they can trust”.
No doubt, medical encounters in a foreign culture can be a nerve wracking experience with lingering doubts “is the doctor good enough?” “Does the system have the technology to accurately diagnose my condition?”
The uncertainly produces significant stress which wears down the immune system. At the point of “doubting desperation”, many expats head back to the USA for medical care in a familiar and trusted environment.
This quest for “peace of mind’ is costly and not always necessary, as there are “islands of medical excellence” in many emerging countries.
In many cases, it is more about TRUST which is a byproduct of CULTURAL & LINGUISTIC COMFORT LEVEL”, says Shai Gold, Managing Partner of International-Triage, LLC and a contributing writer to Traveling4Health.com.
“Nevertheless, since ‘peace of mind‘ is as important as the diagnosis itself, I encourage patients to seek a 2nd Opinion from a qualified medical expert who practices in an American, or Latin American, Center of Medical Excellence, “says Gold.
“If the 2nd Opinion confirms the local diagnosis, the expat’s trust in the local doctor will increase to the point where the comfort level will be on par with that of an American physician,” said Gold, “One should consider the cost of the 2nd Opinion ’an integration expense’.”
According to Escape Artist spokesman Tom Ocean, “we identified an unmet need for healthcare ‘peace-of-mind’. We determined to help our loyal readers who are challenged by lack of trusting their local medical resources.”
“Clearly, the decision to live overseas results in healthcare needs that are simply unforeseeable at the time of relocation,” said Ocean.
“When you’re in a foreign land you don’t know if an industry is as regulated as it is in the U.S. And when you’re used to U.S. quality health care a 2nd Medical Opinion from the States is really valuable,” he said.
“As the longest running web portal for overseas living, we have been part of our readers’ lives for over a decade and have therefore aged with them,” Ocean said. We have also witnessed the tragic consequences of traumatic injuries and medical emergencies where family members try reaching out to their home-country health systems during a medical crisis.”
Peace-of-Mind is invaluable, but should also be affordable. Depending on the complexity of the medical condition, a patient may require the opinion of more than one physician to participate in the consultation.
“My dad is an old school physician,” said Ocean, “and he says that it’s always good to get a 2nd Medical Opinion. He also says that a good doctor wants the best for his patient and as such, will welcome the opportunity to interact with an expert.”
“As a resource center for expats, we decided to do something about this important issue and reached out to International triage to offer its 2nd Opinion Services and other integrated travel-for-health services to the Escape Artist family on a preferred basis.”
According to Gold, the2nd Opinions are triaged (directed and prioritized) by medical specialty to a panel of clinical experts in various centers of excellence.
“My 20-years’ experience in domestic and international healthcare led to the development of a small and focused VIP Network,” said Gold, “We are proud of our direct access to leading American physicians and medical centers.”
Says Gold: “Notablemedical providers include Johns Hopkins Medicine, (Ranked # 1 Hospital in the USA for the last 20 years by US News and World Report’s “Best Hospitals Report”). The University of Miami Health System;Jackson Memorial Hospital (Miami); Philadelphia’s Fox Chase Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson Hospital, Alfred DuPont Children’s Hospital and others. In addition to our USA based VIP network, we also have outstanding medical providers outside the USA.
“Our network offers balance between “nuts & bolts” medical centers and “super academic” centers. Miami’s leading medical institutions are familiar and practical “safe harbors” for anybody in the Caribbean and Latin America regions in need of support for critical care issues; while Baltimore and Philadelphia are home to some of the world’s leading academic hospitals that are well known for their investigative approach to medical issues and rich traditions.”
“You hear all the nightmare stories about people who have had unnecessary surgeries,” said Ocean, “Expats are saving money on healthcare so they may be willing to spend a little more to get the assurance of a 2nd Opinion to make sure the original diagnosis is accurate.”
Adds Gold: “A second and independent opinion will rule out the initial diagnosis or will confirm the initial diagnosis. Either way the cost is well justified by the desired outcome which is accurate diagnosis and good treatment in a timely manner, or the relief of ruling out any bad news.”
“Whether you’re in Kazakhstan, Colombia, Dubai, Mexico, or anywhere else in between, concern about the quality of healthcare services is a constant that weighs heavily on the mind of the expat” said Gold.
“In my twenty years in health care, I have seen patients from emerging and industrial countries flock to the United States for the peace-of-mind that is associated with an American 2nd Medical Opinion,” Gold added.
“It’s a great service,” summarized Ocean, ‘affordable access to high quality healthcare solutions’. I think it’s a prudent thing to do. You’re talking about your health. It’s not like taking your car to get fixed.”
“This service is priced at a discount to the escape artist community,” said Gold, “We look forward to providing a great service to people in need of medical peace-of-mind.”
About the author: Ilene Little, is the editor of Escapeartist’s Medical Tourism Blog She has written an excellent Medical Tourism Report on Seven Reasons to Choose Medical Tourism.
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