In the Market for Affordable Healthcare
Bogged down by rising costs, a major problem in healthcare in North America, Canadians and Americans alike have discovered that more affordable healthcare options exist, halfway around the world, that are not just less expensive, but time saving too. Spiraling costs in the U.S. and inaccessibility to on-time medical care in Canada have resulted in an increasing number of people from these two countries opting for medical tourism package deals in the developing world. Consequently, these affordable healthcare facilities have benefited from this increased inflow of foreign revenue and are pulling out the stops to ensure patients have access to the best care possible.
What You Can Expect From a Medical Tourism Package
Most Americans, distressed over how rising costs are becoming a major problem in healthcare in their country, are impressed by the cheaper rates. Canadians, used to long waiting lists for a simple doctor’s appointment, are attracted to the easy accessibility of physicians. At Bangkok’s Bumrungrad Hospital, for example, seventeen minutes is the average time a patient needs to wait to see a specialist. Add to this the higher ratio of doctor-patient availability and you have an enhanced level of personalized care, lacking in most Western facilities. In most cases, hospitals offering medical tourism package deals have access to cheap labor and are able to hire more staff to offer better service to consumers. In addition, newer procedures, like the latest techniques in hip replacement surgery which are not yet approved in the United States, are available in many developing countries.
Obstacles to Further Development of the Affordable Healthcare Sector
Not everything is hunky dory in this new scheme of things. Follow-up medical care may prove difficult when the patient returns home after treatment abroad. Determining the quality of the affordable healthcare options on offer is, in many cases, a tedious process. Then, there are the language and cultural barriers to overcome. The existence of malpractice suits is the proverbial elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. It helps to note that many developing countries do not share the American enthusiasm for suing at the drop of a hat, and malpractice suits can take forever to reach a court here. Most important, perhaps, is the image problem that most developing countries face. Western stereotypes of poverty, illiteracy, and lack of sanitation can be hard to remove and the “Third World” tag, constantly bandied about by the media, doesn’t help matters much either.