Simply put medical tourism is the process of traveling outside the country of your residency to obtain healthcare. While medical tourism may result from any of several factors, the process is generally the same. There are essentially four steps in the medical tourism process. They are the referral, facilitation, treatment, and return with follow up. Some specific details may vary the basic process of these four steps remains the same.
The process starts with the existing provider being unable to provide the treatment needed. This may be because of unavailability, affordability, long waiting times and many other factors. To resolve this problem, the patient gets referred to a Medical Facilitator, or the patient starts a search on their own. Once a Medical Facilitator has been found the patient then contacts the Medical Facilitator for additional information. This information will help them to make the final decision about traveling abroad for treatment. Once they have decided to make a trip abroad for treatment, the process can continue.
The facilitation process begins with the Medical Facilitator providing the patient with a list of countries and hospitals for them to consider. A hospital will be selected after having a consolation with a doctor at that hospital. The Medical Facilitator then works out the logistics of the trip. This includes such factors as obtaining a Visa, arranging flights, accommodations, itinerary, and anything else the patient needs to have arranged for the trip. It is at this point that the patient will begin preparations for making the trip on his or her end.
When the patient arrives at the hospital, there is another consultation, pre-tests and all that goes with such treatment. After this, the patient undergoes the treatment followed by recovery. After the period of recovery prescribed by the procedure, there is a follow-up evaluation by the doctor and if all goes well the patient is discharged. It is now that the patient begins making plans to return home. This involves getting ready for the trip and making any arrangements that may be needed. With the patient on his for her way home, they are ready for the final step.
Return with follow up
Once the patient has returned home, there is a follow-up with the Medical Facilitator or the original provider. They then monitor the remaining recovery of the patient from the treatment and the illness. Depending on the disease, the patient was treated for, this could be a short time or can be for the rest of the patient's life. In any case, this is the final step of the process of medical tourism regardless of how long and the final results.
It is by these four steps of referral, facilitation, treatment, and return with follow up that medical tourism works. At its heart, it is a rather simple process but there was a lot of work involved. Trying to do it alone would overwhelm most people but finding the right Medical Facilitator makes the process as easy as possible for the patient.