Industry experts say if you're thinking about traveling to another country for health care, there are several factors to consider.
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Maggi Grace: Since Howard Staab and I flew around halfway around the globe to get his heart fixed, I've been asked to speak to a number of groups. Rebecca Fox: When author Maggi Grace talks about her experience with medical tourism, she makes sure to include the pros, the cons, and the hurdles of traveling abroad for treatment. One hurdle is finding the right doctor or facilities for you. Maggi Grace: There are companies in place now who take all of this research out of the process that I had to go through three years ago. So the internet is the best way to find those places, the Medical Tourism Association and places that aren't biased. There aren't just one company, but that will give you all the options. Renee-Marie Stephano: What you have is, you have different websites for different hospitals, and you need to sift through them and hope that they are providing information on quality care indicators, as well as an outcomes on procedures. Most of the time you need to do a lot of emailing or phone calls to get some of that information. Darrell Douglas: Another thing that I recommend during if reading the book by an author named Woodman, and is called Patients Beyond Borders. And he's done an excellent job explaining what services and procedures are done by various hospitals in various countries. Rebecca Fox: Industry expert say, if you're thinking about traveling to another country for healthcare, there are several factors to consider. Like, whether the facility is accredited by the Joint Commission International. The Joint Commission International or JSI sets quality and safety standards for the international healthcare community. As of fall 2007, more than 120 facilities have received accreditation by JSI. But many professionals within the industry agree that this is not the final word on safety standards. John F.P. Bridges: JSI or their accreditations in American hospitals go through, is trivial compared to the regulations than in Mexico. Mexico, in terms; they regulation their hospitals much better regulated. Renee-Marie Stephano: And we have sort of a unification here in the US, where when you're going country to country, you can't unify like that. You need to take into consider the cultural differences. And so to that end, it's not the end all, because first of all that accreditation is not necessarily as stringent as the JSI Accreditation here. But what you will find is, you will find other organizations, the accreditation organizations that internationally accredit these hospitals, that are more stringent, or hospitals themselves that had created standards for themselves that are higher than or more than what JSI requires. So is it safe? It is important I think if you're concerned about safety issues to actually look at JSI accredited facilities. Rebecca Fox: Stephano along with Grace say, primarily, what you're looking for is a qualified doctor. Renee-Marie Stephano: What you have internationally is a situation where a lot of the surgeons are not in place at the hospitals, they are independent contracts. That being said, they travel from hospital to hospital, maybe from a JSI accredited hospital to a non JSI accredited hospital. So you might pick a surgeon because he is the best qualified in the area, and he has got the best outcomes for a particular surgery, and that doctor might be at a different hospital that's not JSI accredited. But he also works at a JSI accredited. So you can choose the hospital, maybe out of convenience and dates, you could choose a non JSI accredited hospital to go to, but you're going to get the same surgeon to do the surgery. Maggi Grace: Here in the states, we would probably follow a particular surgeon, or particular person, rather than a particular facility, and I think it needs to be that way in other countries that we learned the reputation and the statistics, their infection rates and the surgical outcomes rates for people, that is the people to people kind of ratio. Rebecca
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