Medical Travel Risks

Risks of Medical Travel

Certain risks may be associated with medical tourism, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This section identifies the risks and suggests precautions you can take to avoid or minimize them.

Going Abroad for Medical Care
"Medical tourism" refers to the practice of traveling to another country for medical care. It is estimated that up to 750,000 US residents travel abroad for care each year. Many people who travel for care do so because treatment is much cheaper in another country. In addition, a large number of medical tourists are immigrants to the United States returning to their home country for care. The most common procedures that people undergo on medical tourism trips include cosmetic surgery, dentistry, and heart surgery.

Risks of Medical Tourism
The specific risks of medical tourism depend on the area being visited and the procedures performed, but some general issues have been identified. - Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Communication may be a problem. Receiving care at a facility where you do not speak the language fluently increases the chance that misunderstandings will arise about the care.
  • Doctors may reuse needles between patients or engage in other unsafe injection practices, which can lead to the transmission of diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.
  • Medication may be counterfeit or of poor quality in some countries.
    Travani provides verified reviews that specifically ask customers about their experience with prescriptions.
  • Antibiotic resistance is a global problem, and resistant bacteria may be more common in other countries than in the United States.
    False. Global studies show that rates of antibiotic resistence are equal worldwide.
  • The blood supply in some countries comes primarily from paid donors and may not be screened. This puts patients at risk of HIV and other infections that are spread through blood.
  • Flying after surgery increases the risk for blood clots.
    True. Flying is a risk for all surgeries, no matter where they are performed. Travani recommends not traveling for at least 48 hours after a surgery, though your doctor may have a different recommendation.

Preparing for your Trip/Help from Travani
If you decide to travel to another country for medical care, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your travel and medical procedure go well. In addition, Travani provides you with a set of solutions to help minimize the risks identified by the Centers for Disease Control. We follows their recommendations to help you safely travel abroad for medical care. Below is a list of recommended steps to take to prpeare, and the ways in which Travani can help with each step.
  • See a travel medicine practitioner at least 4-6 weeks before the trip. You should discuss general information for healthy travel and specific risks related to the procedure and to travel before and after the procedure.
  • Check for the qualifications of the health care providers who will be performing the procedure and the credentials of the facility where the procedure will be done.
    Travani provides this information as part of its Physician Profile if the facility provides it. If this information is unavailable, this should be a red flag; you should ask for credentials when speaking with the provider.
  • Make sure you have a written agreement with the health care facility or the group arranging the trip, defining which treatments, supplies, and care are covered by the costs of the trip.
    Travani is only an online facilitator and does not make specific medical or travel arrangements for you. You control where you want to go and choose the provider your want to use. This gives you flexibility and ownership of your trip.

    Travani will provide you with an itinerary and receipt for your travel. You should request an agreement or written document that specifies what will be covered by the providers.
  • Determine what legal actions you can take if anything goes wrong with the procedure.
  • If you go to a country where you do not speak the language, determine ahead of time how you will communicate with your doctor and other people who are caring for you.
  • Obtain copies of your medical records, which should describe any allergies you may have.
  • Prepare copies of all your prescriptions and a list of all the medicines you take, including their brand names, generic names, manufacturers, and dosages.
  • Arrange for follow-up care with your local health care provider before you leave.
  • Before planning any vacation activities, such as sunbathing, drinking alcohol, swimming, or taking long tours, find out if those activities are permitted after surgery.
    Travani provides many vacation options for your travel, but specific activities should be approved by your foreign physician and collaborating primary care physician before you embark on them. Learn More.
  • Get copies of all your medical records before you return home.

    Traveling with Money
Securing Your Money When You Travel
Carrying large amounts of cash is obviously unsafe in a foreign country. Also, be careful using your credit cards when you travel. Never give out your PIN, never let anyone else swipe your card and don't ever let anyone take your card out of your sight (example: at a restaurant). Make sure your cards are "Chip" enabled, require a PIN to use and carry in a wallet or case that shields the data from being scanned on the street.

Many clinics are no longer accepting personal checks, cash or travelers checks. Wire transfer and credit cards are your best bet however they can come with high bank fees per use internationally, variable exchange fees and lower daily spending limits when being used in a foreign country.

A Simple Solution to keep your money safe - Travani offers 2 secure travel products to carrying money for expenses and for paying your doctor. There are no credit checks, low fees, and you don't have to worry about having your money or identity stolen off of your card. In fact, leave those important cards at home and get a FREE RFID shield!* Find out more.