International Hospitals and International Clinics
So what criteria should you use to distinguish one hospital from the next? And how
do you go about determining if a hospital is “world-class” and if it best serves
In some cases, where the doctor has been the focus of your search, you may simply
trust – or take for granted, that he or she works at a quality facility. Although
this assumption is likely to be true, you should always do your own due diligence
to make sure that the hospital you choose is not only the best, but the best for
your particular needs.
The first and most important question to ask is:
Does the hospital or clinic have experience in the procedure or treatment you will
Better yet, do they specialize in your procedure or have a center of excellence?
There is no substitute for experience. This translates into lower mortality rates
and complications, which means a greater chance for your procedure to be a success!
It’s also no secret that top hospitals attract top physicians – another compelling
reason to choose a great hospital.
Are they accredited, and if so by whom?
A quality accreditation process is a powerful factor in assuring you that your chosen
hospital or clinic is visibly committed to high quality of care standards. Again,
this is basically a risk reduction proposition; the higher the procedural standards
and accountability mechanisms that are in place, the better odds of a successful
You also need to be aware that not all accreditation standards are created equal.
Some countries have their own internal standards and methodologies that may or may
not be as stringent as the criteria used by international organizations such as
the Joint Commission International (JCI), Trent Accreditation Scheme (UK), and Accreditation
Canada. Also, there is international accreditation of government accreditation systems
Is the procedure price or package affordable? What does it include?
Great facilities and technology are fine, but if you can’t pay for your surgery
who cares. When requesting an estimate for a procedure, make sure to request in
writing all that is included in the price. At a bare minimum, most price quotes
will include doctor fees and hospital costs (“Hospital costs” is a pretty general
term, so make sure you know what this covers). Also be sure you know about potential
charges if there is a complication.
Do you feel comfortable with the hospital’s location?
Some people could care less about the country they are going to as long as their
procedure is successful. Others prefer not to travel to certain countries they perceive
as unsafe or where they are unfamiliar with the culture. How you approach this question
will depend on your background, life experience, and the type of person you are.
A closely related question is: How far am I willing to travel?
This has implications that include not only cost considerations and comfort; but
safety issues as well (will distance affect the success of my procedure?). It is
no secret that flying long distances poses certain risks, particularly for surgical
medical tourism patients. Depending on your procedure, it may not be advisable for
you to travel too far.
Do they have a system or process in place to assist foreign patients (an international
patient department for medical tourism)?
With the explosive growth of medical tourism over the last few years, a growing
number of hospitals and clinics have begun to incorporate services and amenities
destined to attract and cater to the needs of medical tourists. These may include
handling medical tourism patient enquiries, coordinating doctor contact, scheduling
surgeries, arranging concierge services and assigning a bilingual aid to personally
assist the medical tourism patient while he or she is at the hospital. In the case
of hospitals, these services are usually coordinated through an in-house department
sometimes referred to as an international patient office.
With all else being equal, you’re much better off going with a facility that understands
who you are and where you are coming from, and has the infrastructure and resources
in place to take care of your logistical needs as well as your wellbeing.
Once you have settled on a hospital and decided to go ahead with your surgery, other
questions may pop up such as:
Are international hospitals and clinics as modern as hospitals in my country?
In most cases the answer is yes. Some of these hospitals and clinics have beautiful
facilities that in many cases will make North American doctors green with envy.
As stated earlier in this medical tourism guide, overseas medical facilities are
competing with other similar hospitals all over the world intent on attracting first-world
medical tourism patients, such as American, Canadian and UK medical tourism patients.
They know and understand that to be competitive, they need to match or exceed what
medical tourism patients expect to see in first-world hospitals. This means continually
investing in sophisticated technology and equipment, as well as acquiring and training
the staff to use it.
Where can I find reliable information about international hospitals and medical
The best source of information for a particular hospital is its website. Here you
should be able to find information about the types of procedures offered, physician
information and international patient services, if available. You will also find
contact information and possibly even an estimate request form. http://www.MedicalTourism.com
has listings of hospitals and doctors that you can review for medical tourism options.
International hospital information may also be found on the websites of some medical
tourism facilitators (see below). Though brief and sometimes outdated, these websites
will at least give you an idea of the different hospitals that are out there, and
some of the medical procedures and services offered.
As with most questions relating to medical tourism, the Medical Tourism Association
website is a comprehensive source for trustworthy information about some of the
top international hospitals.