The concept of destination surgery or medical tourism is becoming more prevalent and accepted throughout the entire world. Patients are traveling not just to other cities and states, but also to countries on the other side of the globe in order to receive medical treatment or surgery. The reason? Many perceive that some forms of healthcare are either more difficult or too expensive, to obtain at home.
Our last article about medical tourism addressed some big concerns about traveling outside the United States for treatment. This week, we will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of traveling within our borders to secure dental and medical treatments.
Patients Traveling to the Surgical Arts Centre
At the Surgical Arts Centre, we commonly see patients who have traveled great distances to seek our care. Often these patients find us through referral from other doctors, through word of mouth, or by our reputation. We are pleased that the majority of patients seeking our care do so in an effort to find the very best doctors to provide their care. Our pursuit of excellence extends beyond surgical technique; we seek also to provide the best overall experience for our patients from our front desk to our nursing staff. As a result of our experiences and our mission, we have gained a great deal of knowledge helping our patients combine travel with surgery. This article is meant to share the benefit of this experience.
Points to Consider Before Traveling for Surgery
Every patient considering traveling for medical or dental care should be sure they establish a relationship with a doctor near home for follow-up care. This is especially important if any complications should arise. Finding a nearby doctor should be done before leaving home, as it can be difficult to convince a new doctor to participate in your care after a surgery or procedure. If a local doctor is aware that he or she will be partnering with a distant doctor throughout the process, it is often easier to find a willing medical professional.
In addition to finding a local doctor to support you after your destination medical treatment, consider the following four factors before booking your procedure and your airline ticket:
- Risk of complications. No matter how skilled the doctor, every procedure carries a small risk of complication. Complications are always unanticipated and inconvenient and frequently have nothing to do with the quality of care you have received. The range of potential difficulties range from something as simple as a rash from a reaction to medication, to a post-operative infection, to a severe exacerbation of a preexisting problem like heart disease.
- Follow-up care. The patient should always plan for access to follow-up care once they return home. Often, this care will not be needed. However, the time to plan for this care is not after you return home and need to be seen. Often, the doctor you are traveling to see can help you establish a relationship with professionals in your home area who will see you once you return home.
- Travel before and after surgery. Plan for the increased difficulty of traveling around whatever type of treatment you will receive. This may include having appropriate accommodations at your destination, being able to access appropriate food, or having adequate help with your bags. Travel always requires some effort, and it is important not to underestimate the extra challenge associated medical or dental care can provide. Note that you may need to delay your travel home for hours, days, or even weeks following your procedure.
- Traveling companions. When traveling far from home to have medical or dental treatment, it may be valuable to take a companion with you who will be willing to assist you. It is wise to have someone along for the trip who can look out for you and be there to help with transportation, etc. You may find simple tasks like carrying baggage or checking into hotels may be difficult after treatment if you are alone and much more manageable with a little help. A travel companion could be a family member or a friend.
Finding the Best Possible Care, From Coast to Coast
There are many reasons patients may be wise to consider traveling within the United States to seek care. Many times, in spite of the effort and planning required, traveling may be your best option to obtain the care you require. Finding the perfect doctor/patient match is a blend of the patient’s needs and wants, the skills and resources of the doctor and facility, and the economic impact of the treatment you are seeking. Often, limiting oneself to a local geographic region simply will not facilitate the best possible match.
Many doctors around the country have specifically worked to develop practice models to accommodate patients with specific wants and needs, and to work within their financial means. At the Surgical Arts Centre, we have cultivated a group of doctors and staff with a unique combination of experience, talent and training that allow us to provide certain types of care at the highest level of excellence. We also strive to develop efficiencies in our model of treatment that allow us to perform many procedures that provide better outcomes, that result in less post-operative discomfort, that lend to faster recoveries, and that allow us to do these things at significant cost savings to the patient.
Request a Consultation
If you are considering traveling to Montana to find the very best answer to you medical or dental need, call the Surgical Arts Centre today to speak to our patient care coordinator: (406)549-6600