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Choice of destination
 
International health travelers planning medical travel abroad have to decide where to go for health care. There is a big deal of medical directories, different associations, societies and et cetera registered all over the world which are competing in helping to find the best place for treatment oversees and promoting particular countries, hospitals and providers.
 
The problem is that such helpers have as a rule no legal obligations, and approaches used are not always convincible, appropriate and efficient.
 
It remains a big challenge for medical traveler to find a trusted source for reliable online health information about the right destination for medical care including evidence-based medical information, quality reports, certification or accreditation, mortality data, infection rates, performance data and to protect himself from misleading health information.
 
That is why the Institute for Cross-Border Health Care established guidelines with the aim to help international health travelers to choose a right destination for medical travel and to assist individuals in making more informed health and healthcare decisions. Our guidelines can be consistently used by international health travelers planning medical travel abroad.
 
Institute for Cross-Border Health Care guidelines on general principles of destination evaluation for medical care:
 
1. Not rely on advertising but critically analyze and check statistics, medical data bases and not at the least use your own common sense. 
 
2. Be aware of the fact that some destinations have not only price advantages but of course some disadvantages as well. The quality of overseas hospitals and providers remains the most important and controversial issue.
 
3. Be sure that a destination where you are going to medical treatment is able to fulfill and satisfy all requirements needed according to US and EU standards to health care.
 
4. Pay attention at the provision of healthcare, life expectancy and maternal mortality ratio according to Mortality Country Fact Sheet of WHO (World Health Organization) within the country advertising itself as an attractive destination for medical travel. 
 
5. Be aware of possibility of outbreak of pandemic as a result of poor hygiene conditions over the inhabitants
 
6. Consult health care data of a country in question and try to understand, whether or not it is worthy to go there and whether the services of the local medical provider could be trusted of. For more information it could be useful for medical tourists to visit the website of WHO: www.who.int/countries , which is available now in 6 international languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish.
 
7. Pay attention at the fact which total expenditure on health as % of Gross Domestic Product a destination country has and try to learn whether the destination country is able to provide health care for its own citizens, including doctors and medical stuff of the hospitals. 
 
8. Try to learn whether legal procedures, law medical standards comply with US and European law
 
9. Be informed of responsibility for clinical oversight with the country of treatment and check legal status of providers
 
10. Be certain that the transfer of your medical records to and from facilities outside your home country is consistent with USA and EU guidelines and local follow-up care could be coordinated
 
11. Be informed of your rights and legal recourse, complaint proceduresin the case of undesirable outcomes prior to agreeing to travel outside your country for medical care
 
12. Be certain that you could resort to the legal process and obtain remedies in case of complication and should anything go wrong. So you can avoid an increased risk and uncalculated spending
 
13. Inform yourself about general agenda as domestic security, terrorism and political instability  
 
14. Inform yourself about the prevalence of the corruption in Public and Other Institutions, which could infect local hospitals and health care in general. For more information about Bribe payer index and Global Corruption Barometer, please consult the website of Transparency International:www.transparency.org. The information about corruption is available in 7 international languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
 
15. Inform yourself about circulation of faked medication. Particularly in the developing world some countries praised in advertising as medical travel destinations are supposed and proved to be the centers of faked medication production.
 
16. Try to understand that a variety of different factors could result that the price you pay for affordable and chip surgery would be in the end very big. And it is not only about the money. In our globalized world it is difficult sometimes to compete well with chip prices. But chip medical services could always be not good nor has a good quality.
 
17. Be aware about differences in nutritional habits, religious practices, family interactions and other customs
 
18. Be informed aware of standards of clinical excellence, pre and post operative care, levels of English spoken and medical training, cultural and language barriers
 
Is there any country across the globe which meets all necessary requirements to a good destination for medical travel or cross-border health care? The Institute has evaluated all top destinations in question but located only a few.
 
Why Germany?
 
We summarized that Germany is for one of the fewest countries in the world to completely meet all requirement and likely to be the perfect destination for cross-border health care. Germany is not a big third world. Germany is a third big economy in the world and has one of the best health care systems in the world. According to the statistics of World Health Organization Germany has:
 
·         Total population: 82,641,000
 
·         Gross national income per capita (PPP international $): 32,680
 
·         Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 77/82
 
·         Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2003): 70/74
 
·         Probability of dying under five (per 1 000 live births): 5
 
·         Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000  population):106/55
 
·         Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2006): 3,328
 
·         Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2006): 10.4
 
Please, note some facts about German health care:
 
·         Well-branded medical research and constantly innovating healthcare technology leader
 
·         All 100% of German citizens have complete health coverage
 
·         Hospital density per capita is twice higher in comparison with USA
 
·         Advanced medical technology, high standards, safety, and quick treatment make Germany a very attractive destination for foreign patients all over the world
 
·         Germany health care offers medical treatment for foreign patients at a cost compatible with its perceived value which are commonly 50% of those in the USA
 
·         Germany is one of the less corrupted countries according to reports of Transparency International
·         Everybody who more or less speaks English will go through in Germany
 
·         No religious problems, majority of German hospitals provide a chapel or have special rooms for catholic, protest and muslin religious duty
 
·         Accommodation of special demands and idiosyncrasies of foreign patients
 
 

 Last modified: 09.2012