When a patient reaches the decision to have surgery abroad, the easy part is behind him as now he must start the difficult task of deciding on the medical destination followed by choosing the hospital he will want to undergo treatment in.
There are a lot of factors one must take under consideration and look into while going through the process of finding the suitable place. The short version is that you must check countries, hospitals and doctors. The longer version will include looking into hospitals track records and facilities, doctors’ experience and specialties, countries political status and inner stability and of course, cultural and language factors as well as the physical proximity to your home country. When objectively looking into all these factors, patients will be able to find more than one logical location to choose from, they might even find 3 or 4 locations that will make sense, so which will they choose from.
You may not think of Israel, but it is a country that can offer much of what was mentioned when it comes to choosing a medical tourism destination for patients in western countries. Beginning with the medical quality and continuing to the culture and language factors, Israel may be a very logical choice for most.
Firstly, when searching to minimize language barriers, patients will find that the majority of the physicians and medical staff working in Israel are fluent in English. In addition to this, it is very easy to locate surgeons speaking Russian, French, and Arabic in the country. As to the Israeli culture, there will hardly be any “cultural shock” issues as Israel has been nicknamed more than once “The 51st state of the USA”.
Israel is just one direct flight away from most western destinations. Although not as close as Mexico is to US and Canada, it is just a 10 hour flight from the east coast and between 2-5 hours from most parts of Europe as most major cities fly direct to Ben Gurion Airport, just outside of Tel Aviv.
The strongest argument for Israel is its medical standards and healthcare quality. In a “World Health Organization” study published in 2000, Israel was ranked 28th best health care system in the world, while the United States was ranked 37th. The quality of the health care system is in Israel derives from the integration of government policy, health care insurance, doctor- patient ratio, medical technology and medical facilities, as Israel scores high in each of these categories.
In 2009, “Health system in transition” published that “Critical components of the Israeli health system include a sophisticated public health effort run by the Ministry of Health, high-level primary care services provided by the health plans throughout the country, and highly sophisticated hospital care”.
As an example of the Israeli healthcare excellence we can look at its hospitals, such as The Assaf Harofeh Medical Center (AHMC), just outside of Tel Aviv. As the third largest hospital in the country, AHMC is affiliated with the Sackler Faculty of Medicine in Tel Aviv University (The Israeli Medical Association’s Academic council for specialists) and is spread out on a 60-acre campus with more than 800 beds, state-of-the-art operating rooms and 3,400 employees (including physicians, researchers, nurses etc.)
Another example is the large Hospital serving the southern region of Israel, Soroka Medical Center located in the city Beersheba. The Soroka University Medical Center is a JCI (Joint Commission International) accredited medical facility and the largest employer in southern Israel with over 4,200 staff members, including 700 physicians and 1,500 nurses. This huge hospital is used to serving 188,000 patients a year, including 38,000 children providing all medical services available.
When looking into traveling abroad for medical care, one mustn’t discount any country until it checked the full scope of possibilities and services. Israel will be a very good choice as patients shouldn’t overlook it.