Many potential medical travelers are hesitant to seek health care overseas because they lack the initial personal connection with the hospital or doctor. If a private practice is located in the community or at a nearby hospital, it takes a short visit to meet the healthcare provider and develop a feel for their capabilities and commitment to your health.
This is much harder when the healthcare provider is overseas. Some medical travelers overcome this by going on vacation to a international hospital hub and making an initial inquiry into the hospital, even if they don’t have a specific illness. By doing so, they take care of the upfront familiarization process without having to go out of the way to do so. They may also schedule a health screening so that they learn more about the services of the hospital, which is an important first step to gauge an international healthcare provider.
If you are unable to combine tourism with the exploration of healthcare options, then telemedicine or telehealth is another viable option. Telemedicine use technology to interact with a healthcare provide who is not in the same room as you. It can happen locally, when a patient is connected to monitoring devices which are viewed at a nearby hospital or care center (used especially to monitor elderly people with chronic illness) or it can be used across continents to discuss potential illness and the ensuing medical travel.
In the second case, images and simple diagnostics can be sent, potential screenings can be done, and more importantly, preliminary discussions can happen between the patient, local physician, and the overseas doctor. Sometime teams of doctors can be present in the discussion with telemedicine technology linking everyone together.
Telemedicine can also assist in post-operation situations where the recovery needs to monitored carefully. In many cases, the patient will plan to remain overseas for the recovery period. However, when the patient returns home, telemedicine can continue to monitor and evaluate their status. Wound management is where this technology can be applied in a beneficial way.
The technology will only continue to develop and can make medical tourism more efficient and safe for patients, but also give doctors more reach before and after procedures. As medical tourism increases, it will help hospitals deals with the influx of patients more effectively. Although telehealth can’t guarantee a successful outcome, it does help reduce some risks with patient-doctor communication before and after treatment.