Medical Tourism. It’s about matching your medical and dental needs with the most qualified providers, right? Or is the patient outcome secondary to making the sale? Expose
Travel agents masquerading as medical tourism facilitators
Travel agents have no business trying to do the match-making. Match-making by means of searching for “best deals” price-wise does not serve the patient well. Agents don’t have the expertise medical and health care professionals bring to the table to control the delivery of the service.
What a travel agent can do is wrap a vacation tour around your medical travel, and even then they need to be subject experts in the specific needs of medical travelers.
Convention Bureaus promoting city destinations
Convention bureaus and their marketing partners are promoting city medical services to tourists on the basis of inexpensive procedures and accommodations wrapped in a vacation package.
Some may say that’s all right; certainly promoters and marketers with something to gain by the sale think that’s all right.
I understand it’s the job of convention bureaus to drive business to their cities. Nevertheless, that practice puts the burden of selecting a doctor or dentist on the patient who does not have the expertise to make an informed decision when it comes to choosing a doctor, dentist, or medical facility and often will choose on the price of a medical vacation package on the assumption that all doctors or hospitals are equal in terms of patient outcome.
A doctor is a doctor, right? No. Not all doctors practicing the same medical discipline are alike. Their differences in practice and expertise as well as credentials and honors received within their medical specialty are highly indicative of the patient experience and satisfaction.
A hospital is a hospital, they’re all the same, right? No. Hospitals, like doctors, are rated and ranked within their professions by persons qualified to have an opinion. Just as not all doctors finished first in their class, not all hospitals rate equally when compared to others.
And this is part of the research a patient must do; or they have to rely on a qualified medical tourism facilitator who has done that work for them. This is not something that can or will be done by a travel agent or a convention bureau.
For example, in a recent press release it was announced that a medical tourism association partnered with the Las Vegas Convention Bureau to write a guide attracting medical tourists to Las Vegas.
The problem is the low ranking of the medical services in Las Vegas as of 2010. And since we’re talking about your health, I suggest you read the following articles describing the problems with that location. This is not intended to ding Las Vegas, but to illustrate the point that not all hospitals are equal and that a patient is wise to get help from a medical professional when choosing a destination and a medical provider.
A breakthrough in Medical Transparency / Do No Harm: State of Hospitals in Las Vegas.
“There’s a running joke about hospitals here:
“Where do you go for great health care in Las Vegas?”
Las Vegas Valley hospitals politely shamed into improving
“A coalition of 24 self-funded insurance plans is urging Las Vegas hospitals to improve their quality of care — which is ranked as some of the worst in the nation — to earn the business of its 260,000 patients.”
Click here to read more on Las Vegas for Medical Tourism.
Traveling 4 Health & Retirement member, Kristin Eckland, contributed to this medical tourism report. Eckland is a certified nurse practitioner and author of three books on medical tourism. Click to read Ecklands blog on the same issue.
Whether you want to live abroad or travel overseas for medical treatments, Traveling 4 Health Retirement can help you find the global medical resources catering to Americans and Canadians. Our “Find a Doctor” section displays lists of medical tourism facilitators recommenced by the membership.
About the author: Ilene Little is CEO of Traveling for Health and Retirement. She writes all of the content for the EscapeArtist Medical Tourism Blog