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Medical Tourism in Germany

With the ease of travel in today's increasingly globalized world, more and more people are traveling for medical treatment. Each individual has a different motivation for seeking medical treatment abroad, but most people travel for one of two reasons: to save money, or to have access to treatment that isn't available in their home country.

Germany is an increasingly popular destination for medical travelers. Its high quality of care, strict ethical standards and quick access to specialists make it an attractive destination for medical care. Medical care in Germany also has an excellent cost-to-quality ratio. Germany is not the cheapest medical destination worldwide, but the cost of medical care in Germany is significantly lower than in many other industrialized nations – especially the U.S.A.

Background: the German healthcare system

Germany has an excellent international reputation for the quality of its healthcare system. The standard of care in German hospitals is extremely high. But what makes it so great? For one, highly trained doctors, nurses and other medical specialists. Medical professionals in Germany must go through extensive training before they are allowed to practice medicine, and doctors and surgeons are expected to continually educate themselves to stay abreast of the latest developments in their field.

The medical technology and treatment possibilities available in Germany are also state-of-the-art. Germany is known for its technical innovation and superior engineering. Nearly all German hospitals are equipped with high-tech imaging technology such as 3D ultrasound and MRI, and many specialized clinics have state-of-the-art equipment to provide patients with the latest treatments. Surgical robots, heart catheters and targeted radiation therapies for cancer patients are just some of the pieces of technology that can be found in German clinics.

Additionally, Germany has strict laws to protect patient safety. Strict hygienic measures in German hospitals, transparency in treatment outcomes and comprehensive follow-up care are just some of the things patients can expect when visiting hospitals in Germany. All of these factors make Germany an attractive destination for medical tourists.

Patients and treatments

While there are no exact statistics on the number of people who visit Germany for medical/surgical treatments or health and wellness reasons, estimates vary from 150,000 – 250,00 per year. Experts are certain that the number of medical tourists is on the rise.

Many other countries offer a range of treatments and surgical procedures to the medical tourist. But, in many countries the number of specialties is narrower than one could expect in Germany. For example there are countries that may specialize in cosmetic or heart surgery or joint implant surgery and dental care. Germany can offer excellent care in all those specialties, but has also developed a sterling reputation in other areas. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Treatment for cancer
  • Fertility treatment
  • Cardiology and cardiac surgery
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Neurology and neurosurgery
  • Obesity treatment
  • Treatment of kidney ailments
  • Alternative treatment for many maladies
  • Ophthalmology

Germany is also a top destination for diagnostic work ups as well as comprehensive health and wellness check-ups.

Germany is home to top tier spas, health and wellness resorts and rehabilitation centers – many of which have been offering treatment and cures for hundreds of years. So, it should be no surprise that of the millions of tourists that visit Germany each year, many of them will visit the therapeutic baths, health spas and wellness resorts that offer a full range of treatments.

Appointments for many medical treatments and surgical procedures in Germany can often be made quickly and easily and do not involve long waiting periods. Additionally, many of the doctors and medical staff speak English.

Medical tourism: how does it work?

Medical tourism has gotten easier in recent years. Today, many major insurance companies provide full or partial coverage for medical services outside of the patient's home country, and some patients choose to purchase travel insurance specifically for the medical trip. Patients may choose to organize the journey themselves, or with the help of a third-party organization that specializes in the specific needs of medical tourists.

Planning and organizing medical travel can be stressful and confusing. Your familiarity with German language and culture, the hospital's level of experience working with international patients, and the severity or complexity of the medical diagnosis are all factors that will affect how difficult it is to get an appointment with the right German medical specialist. The need for a visa may create additional challenges for some nationalities when trying to travel to Germany. Working with a patient management company may save you time and headaches before your medical journey.

Article contributed by Premier Healthcare Germany. Premier Healthcare Germany GmbH is a patient management company that was founded in 2010. Its headquarters are in Hamburg, Germany. As an independent company, Premier Healthcare Germany specializes in organizing medical treatment and diagnostics in Germany and neighboring countries.