Direct and personal access to your doctor is foreign to the American experience. Yet most international physicians stay in close, direct contact with their patients, and cell phones are their tools of choice. When physicians aren't treating patients, you'll find cells or headsets glued to their ears.
7. What medical and personal health records do you need to assess my condition and treatment needs?
Most physicians require at least the basics: recent notes and recommendations from consultations with your local physician or specialist, X-rays directly related to your condition, perhaps a patient history and other health records. Be wary of the physician who requires no personal paperwork.
8. Do you practice alone or with others in a clinic or hospital?
"Safety in numbers" is a good bet on this front. Look for a physician who practices among a group of certified professionals who have abroad range of related skills. For example, your initial consultation might reveal that you need a dental implant instead of bridgework, and it just so happens that Dr. Guerrero down the hall is one of the country's leading implantologists. Or, on a return visit, your regular doctor might be on vacation, but Dr. Cho who's available in the clinic can access your history and records, check your progress and help you determine your next steps.
9. Who's holding the knife during my procedure? Do you do the surgery yourself, or do your assistants do the surgery?
This is one area where delegation isn't desirable. You want specific assurances that all the trouble you went through to find the right surgeon isn't wasted because the procedure will actually be performed by your practitioner's protégé.
10. Are you the physician who oversees my entire treatment, including presurgery, surgery, prescriptions, physical therapy recommendationsand postsurgery checkups?
For more extensive surgical procedures, you want the designated team captain. While that's usually the surgeon, check to make sure.
A global guide to medical tourism with prices and popular destinations
Josef Woodman is the president of Healthy Travel Media and author of Patients Beyond Boarders. He has spent four years touring more than 140 medical facilities in 22 countries, researching contemporary medical tourism. For more information, go to PatientsBeyondBorders.com.