Before you pack your bags and travel abroad for medical treatment, there are a few things to consider.
The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) advises healthcare travellers to do thorough research and ask your physician all your questions.
“For each of these types of treatments there are respective institutions that provide the services accordingly for healthcare travellers to choose from,” it says.
Those planning to seek treatment in Malaysia may share their medical records with MHTC prior to the trip to explore the different options for treatments available.
Go for quality
Ticadoc executive chairman Richard Stevens says medical tourists should consider the quality of the healthcare providers above anything else.
“Sure, cost is a consideration. But if you are in surgery for five to 10 hours, you want to ensure that you are in a hygienic facility. Make sure that the anaesthetist and surgeons are of high training and education,” he offers.
Stevens adds that it’s vital to ensure the entire logistical supply chain to support medical travellers is of high quality.
“The healthcare providers must have constant maintenance and is adaptive to support you at every stage of travel, treatment and recovery,” he says.
Inform your hotel
On the part of accommodation, Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur managing director Frank Beck says healthcare travellers should keep their hotels informed on all aspects of their treatment.
“It is important for guests to furnish us with their conditions and special needs such as preferred rooms, their treatment appointment, and so on.
“This will give us time to prepare and suggest the necessary services that we offer, which will further ease their stay,” he says.
Beck adds that as hoteliers work closer with medical centres, they are able to provide better benefits to healthcare travellers in getting the care and comfort they deserve before, during and after receiving treatments.
Here are a few DO’s and DON’Ts of healthcare travel as outlined by Medical Travel Quality Alliance:
- DO go where you know you’ll get excellent medical treatment.
- DO plan ahead, especially if you’ll be traveling at peak tourist times.
- DO ask about a surgeon’s fellowships or specialised training.
- DO invest a few dollars in a telephone call.
- DO get everything (or as much as you can) in writing.
- DON’T rely mainly on the Internet for your research.
- DON’T cut costs by going with the “lowest bidder”.
- DON’T feel you’re “stuck” with the doctor you first chose when you were at home – it is your right to request for a change.
- Above all, DO use a trained medical travel planner from a reputable medical tourism company.