Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare?
The term medical tourism was originally used to describe those individuals who travelled abroad for medical or dental procedures and alternative health treatments. The medical tourism industry has undergone a revolution of sorts in the last two decades as the demand for increased variety and improved quality of services has soared. This has predominantly been driven by increased costs and wait times for services at home. The medical tourism industry has matured substantially and has met the challenge through improvements in technology, internationally trained specialists, concierge services and the introduction of internationally recognized accreditation processes. The medical tourism market is now seen as an avenue to Global Healthcare, providing individuals the opportunity to seek medical, dental and alternative health and wellness treatments around the globe. In short, we are no longer limited to receiving healthcare in our own country. The quality and affordability of what is available globally has now reached, and in some cases, has surpassed what is available to us at home. The Global Healthcare market is competitive and continues to find new ways to provide the service and quality that individuals demand at an increasingly affordable price.
- What is the Quality of Global Healthcare?
Healthcare around the world has improved exponentially in the last two decades with the introduction of advanced technologies and globally trained medical staff. Technological advances in the medical industry, as well as the sharing of information via the internet, have fostered a growth in the standard of training and medical care. An ever increasing number of physicians and allied healthcare personnel are receiving training at internationally renown universities and facilities through exchange programs and international university affiliations. Just as the healthcare industry has become global, so has the training of the personnel that provide the services.
Growth in the medical tourism industry has also spurned the introduction of international accreditation bodies. The role of these organizations is to provide a method for measuring and ensuring that the highest standards are met. This is in addition to national accreditation processes where applicable. Many of the accreditation models are based on North American standards. More importantly, however, the demand for high quality healthcare has driven many facilities to exceed most accreditation standards simply because of the increasing need to maintain competitiveness at a global level.
- What about local facilities?
As the rest of the world has embraced healthcare as a global entity, so has the local North American healthcare industry. Increasing numbers of facilities in North America have opened their doors to international and local clients alike. So, for the individual who is not interested or cannot travel abroad, the opportunities to obtain fee for service healthcare closer to home continues to grow.
- What are the risks of going abroad?
As with any medical or surgical procedure there are inherent risks. Whether you have the treatment in North America or abroad those risks remain the same. This includes post operative infections and other complications, medication reactions, etc. In an effort to minimize these risks Angels Global Healthcare investigates, to the best of our ability, each facility and clinic for infection control measures, complication rates and adherence to international standards. We also listen to you, our clients and collect feedback while you are there and after you get home. A reassuring thing to keep in mind is that in many of these facilities, particularly those which specialize in certain treatments, they are experts in what they do and their patient volume is significantly higher than many locations in North America. So, not only are they specialized in their field but they do the procedure more often.
Other risks to consider are those associated with travel itself. Flying long distances can be very taxing on many of us, particularly those with pre-existing medical conditions. We will discuss with you ways to reduce the chances of complications such as deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the deep veins of the legs). Once in the country of interest, you face the same risks that you would face at home but now you are in a country you are unfamiliar with. The language and culture may be different. For this reason we always make sure you are met at the airport by an escort who speaks your language and they will be with you or available to you the entire time you are there.
At Angels Global Healthcare, we are also very aware of the ever changing political climate around the world through our parent company, Angels of Flight Canada Inc. and from contact with our partners in various countries. We constantly monitor the situation in each country we have clients going to and will inform you should travel advisories be issued. We will do everything we can to inform you ahead of time.
- What if I need help?
While abroad, your first contact is your local escort. They know the country and the medical system there and there first priority is you comfort and safety. They are there for you. They will often provide you a local cell phone to use as well. Your second contact will be Angels Global Healthcare. We are available 24/7 should an emergency or complication arise. We will work with you and your escort to make sure you and your travel companion(s) are taken care of. We will also keep your family at home up to date and informed. Your third contact will be your travel/medical insurance agent.
If for any reason you require immediate air medical evacuation we will work with you and/or your insurance to expedite your transfer as soon as possible.
- How does follow up work?
While in the country where you had your procedure or treatment you will be under the direct care of the physician involved and they will make sure you are followed closely until they feel you are set to go home. Once you are home, you will follow up with your local physician who will obtain reports and instructions from the physician abroad. Your physician can also contact the physician abroad at any time if there are concerns.
- What if I get there and for some reason I cannot have my procedure?
Every effort is made to ensure you are a candidate for your procedure prior to your departure. All of the facilities and physicians we work with require that most of the preoperative investigations and tests are done before you set foot on a plane. This minimizes the risk that you will go there and find out you are not suitable for the procedure. There is always the remote chance of illness or other cause for cancellation of your procedure. If this were to occur there will most definitely be a refund, the details of which will be explained to you during the booking process.