Quality medical treatment overseas - let us be your guide

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/healthcarehands/public_html/globalhealthtravel.com.au/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/healthcarehands/public_html/globalhealthtravel.com.au/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/healthcarehands/public_html/globalhealthtravel.com.au/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/healthcarehands/public_html/globalhealthtravel.com.au/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/healthcarehands/public_html/globalhealthtravel.com.au/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_user::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/healthcarehands/public_html/globalhealthtravel.com.au/sites/all/modules/views/modules/user/views_handler_field_user.inc on line 48.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/healthcarehands/public_html/globalhealthtravel.com.au/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/healthcarehands/public_html/globalhealthtravel.com.au/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/healthcarehands/public_html/globalhealthtravel.com.au/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.

5 Myths about Medical Tourism

Medical tourism is a fast-growing industry in Australia, and has been the topic of a lot of media stories lately. Media exposure is mostly a good thing for the industry - it educates people about an option they might not have been aware of, having high-quality medical treatment overseas at an affordable price.

But the media don't tell the whole story. Not all medical tourism providers and facilitators are the same. Here are some common beliefs about medical tourism that might be true in a few cases, but certainly don't apply to the industry as a whole.

1. Healthcare overseas is always riskier than healthcare in Australia

Yes, there are some unscrupulous medical practitioners overseas. But if you do some preliminary research - and preferably get some advice from a reputable medical tourism facilitator - having a medical procedure overseas needn't be any riskier than having it in Australia. (Bear in mind that there are risks associated with any medical procedure, no matter where you have it.)

Here are some questions you should make sure you can answer before you commit to an overseas medical procedure:

  • Have the inherent risks of the procedure been explained to me?
  • Is the facility accredited by an organisation like the Joint Commission International?
  • Is my doctor experienced in this procedure?What's his/her success rate?
  • Have I allowed adequate recovery time after my procedure before I travel back to Australia?

2. Medical tourism is all about price

It's true that many people are attracted to health travel because of the great cost savings they can make compared to having medical treatment in Australia. But that's not the only reason to consider travelling overseas for health care.

Here are some of the other benefits of medical tourism:

  • treatment when you want it, with no waiting lists
  • luxurious medical facilities (comparable in some cases to 5-star hotels)
  • a very high standard of nursing care and personal attention
  • access to new techniques and treatments that aren't yet available in Australia
  • the chance to have medical treatment while on holiday (especially valid for less invasive procedures)

3. Medical tourism is all about cosmetic surgery

Some Australian medical tourism facilitators heavily promote cosmetic surgery packages as their main offering. It's easy to get the impression that cosmetic surgery is the only kind of medical procedure you can get overseas.

But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, think of a medical procedure, and the chances are you can access it overseas, at a quality that's at least comparable to what you can get in Australia. Some of the most popular kinds of overseas medical treatment are:

  • eye surgery such as LASIK
  • dentistry
  • preventative diagnosttics
  • obesity treatment
  • orthopaedic and joint surgery such as knee and hip replacements
  • fertility treatment
  • spine treatment
  • alternative health

4. Medical tourism is for Americans

You might assume that most medical tourists are American. It's true that the cost savings associated with medical tourism are especially attractive to the large number of Americans without adequate health insurance.

But as I've already said, medical tourism isn't all about price. There's recently been a huge growth in the numbers of medical tourists coming from the UK and other Western European countries. Like Australia, these are countries with universal public health care. But also like Australia, patients are often forced to wait a long time for the procedures they need.

One of the great benefits of medical tourism is the chance to have your procedure performed when you need it, not when the hospital system can fit you in. And then of course there are many procedures - like cosmetic and dental surgery - that aren't even covered by Medicare. 

5. Medical tourism means an exotic holiday with a medical procedure thrown in

It's easy to get the impression that medical tourism is mostly about tourism, with a bit of medical care as an added extra. 

Unfortunately, the medical tourism industry is partly to blame for this perception. Some medical tourism providers and faciliators fill their brochures and websites with pictures of exotic locations, as if their customers' health needs were nothing but an afterthought.

This approach might be fair enough for non-invasive procedures, or for some dental procedures with minimal recovery time. But if you're having a serious operation, your first priority should be your health. 

You need to allow plenty of time for recovery - which means total rest. Medical tourism experts recommend you think of health travel as a business trip. You're in the business of getting better - seeing the sights can be a nice bonus, but it shouldn't be the reason for your trip.

What do you think? Any other myths about medical tourism that need to be corrected? Leave a comment to let us know!
Questions about medical tourism? Contact Global Health Travel.