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Archive for Monday, November 6, 2006

Tips for patients considering overseas medical care

November 6, 2006

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¢ Research doctors who specialize in the procedure you're interested in. Big hospitals catering to medical tourists have Web sites listing physicians with their biographies and contact information and some even offer virtual patient visits.

Also, a quick search of databases like www.pubmed.gov, run by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, will tell you whether your doctor has published anything in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

¢ Check with the international arm of the Chicago-based Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (www.jointcommissioninternational.com) to see which overseas hospitals have been accredited. Also, check to see which ones have been accredited domestically.

¢ Talk to people who have undergone surgery overseas both at the hospital you're interested in visiting and with the doctor you're considering. Everything from blogs to discussion lists and Podcasts can be found online about medical tourism.

¢ Check to see where your doctor was educated and trained and if he or she is board certified. The American Board of Medical Specialties (www.abms.org) is a helpful resource.

¢ Check with medical tourism facilitators like PlanetHospital (www.planethospital.com) and IndUShealth (www.Indushealth.com). They can help guide patients by putting them in touch with doctors and former patients. They also can arrange passports, schedule flights, book hotels and handle all the logistics once the patient arrives overseas.

¢ Check to see how widely English is spoken by doctors and nurses at the hospital you're considering and the availability of translators.

¢ Look into how medical malpractice is handled in the country you're visiting. Research how cases typically are handled if something goes wrong and ask the hospital what rights you have as a patient.

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