Is medical tourism safe?

To keep things simple, this blog is moving to the IMTJ web site. You can find the Health Tourism Blog here, in future. Here's an extract of the latest blog post on "Is medical tourism safe?"

A significant proportion of medical tourism and medical travel is driven by people seeking established and proven treatments in countries where the cost of the treatment or operation is much lower than in their home country. Within this segment of the market, the focus of patient safety is upon the hospital, clinic or doctor who is carrying out the treatment. Can the patient be confident that the healthcare provider has the necessary expertise and experience to carry out the procedure? The question... “Does this treatment actually work?” does not arise.

For proven treatments, the hospitals, clinics and doctors (and medical tourism facilitators) can reassure the patient by providing proof of qualifications, accreditations; experience and so on.... and in some cases may be prepared to provide data on clinical outcomes. Unfortunately, this is all too often lacking. Patients are often asked to take on trust the claims of the healthcare provider, particularly in those countries that do not have national standards and systems for the collection of comparative clinical outcome data or independent review and analysis. Even an international accreditation such as JCI is not a guarantee of quality, nor an assessment of how good a hospital actually is at delivering safe and successful treatments.

So, in established areas of medical travel such as cosmetic surgery, dental treatment and elective surgery there is still much work to be done to convince potential medical tourists that treatment abroad is a safe option (or at least as safe as within their home country).

Read the full article at IMTJ: Go to "Is medical tourism safe?"