Step- 1 Knowledge is Power
It is important to do some research before you decide to go overseas for medical care .
- Update yourself and read all you can on the internet and other media and if possible do talk to people who have been abroad for surgery.
- Consult your local physician and get his opinion. Request your physician to prepare a detailed medical summary of your present medical condition as this would be required by the overseas hospital as a basic input for providing you an informed opinion on the course and cost of treatment. Your physician would also brief you about the procedure that may benefit you.
- Your local physician can also advise you on planning the follow-up care in the home country after your return from India.
- Look at various options like whether you want to deal directly with the hospitals or go through a company working as a medical travel facilitator.
- Shortlist a few facilities preferably accredited Hospitals, which appeal to you in the first instance.
Step-2 Getting in touch with the Hospital
- Most good hospitals in India have a user friendly “International Patient Services” section on their website. It has lots of useful information about their services to overseas patients as well as contact details of their executives.
- Send an email to the selected hospital stating your present medical condition and the procedure that you are planning to undergo. Some hospital websites have a simple query form that you can fill in and send by clicking the Submit button. Make sure that you have filled in your phone number and email address correctly. You should get an Auto response email confirming receipt of your query from the hospital almost by return mail. If you do not get this automated mail response, please log in your query again on the hospital’s website.
- Usually the hospital should get back to you with in 24 to 48 hours with an initial response. They may ask you to send them more detailed medical information like scanned copies of your medical reports, x rays and MRI scans etc. to enable the hospital send you a specialist/ surgeon’s opinion and a cost estimate Sometimes the heavy scanned copies of medical reports may not go as attachments with your email. You can in that case use free services like www.yousendit.com to send the reports to the hospital.
Step-3 Final touches to firm up your medical treatments
- The hospital should send you a package cost with details of the inclusions and costs not included in the package. The number of days of stay at the hospital included in the package are also indicated.
- The hospital may also send you a profile of the surgeon or doctor who would be treating you or else you can ask for the same from them.
- Ask as many questions that you may like at this stage to the hospitals and get a complete clarity. How many days you will need to stay in India after you get discharged from the hospital before you are able to fly back home ? Most hospitals have hotel accommodations nearby with preferred rates for their international patients. Find out these details and provide for the expense for post hospital stay in the India in your budget.
- If all your questions are answered and the opinion/ estimate sent to you by the hospital suits you, do ask them when is the best time to arrive in India at the hospital for the treatment.
Step-4 Planning your Travel to India
- Most major Indian cities are now linked to international aviation hubs in Europe, Middle East and Far East and have daily connecting flights.
- You need a valid Passport and Indian visa to enter India. If you do not have a passport, please apply for one immediately. If you already have a Passport, please check that it has more than 6 months of validity still left on it. Or else please get the passport revalidated before applying for Indian Visa. You can find out the local Indian consulate or Indian Embassy from the “Mission & Posts” section of Indian Government’s website http://india.gov.in/overseas/indian_missions.php
- The website of the Indian Embassy or Consulate in your home country has all the information about applying for Indian Visa.
- Please ask the hospital to email you a formal invitation letter for coming to India for medical treatment and attach a copy of this letter with your visa application.
- For planning your air travel you can check out the costs and air connections to the Indian city where you would be going on various airlines or travel websites. Or you also contact travel agents in your home country who specialise in inbound travel to India. You can find these travel agents on the http://www.incredibleindia.org/newsite/travelagentslist.asp
- Its better to book an Aisle seats or bulk head sets with better leg room and instruct your agent or airline in advance in case you need a Wheel Chair or help during the transit.
- In case you wish to stay for some more time for a holiday in India after your hospital stay, please carry your mobile phone handset. You can buy an Indian Sim Card and save money on local calling as well as be accessible to your Indian hospital or hotel staff.
Step-7 After you return back home
- Please keep your medical record safely and do show it to your local physician so that he can monitor your progress and advise you from time to time.
- If you need any help or advice from your treating surgeon or doctor in India, please keep his email address and phone number handy and do send him periodic updates.
- Do share your experience with others in your home country. Keep Smiling !