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Experts encourage Britain’s NHS to consider medical tourism


January 16th, 2010 by Formosa Medical Travel

The British newspaper The Independent reports that Britain’s National Health Service could save millions if the Department of Health considered utilizing medical tourism. “Thousands of patients waiting for operations such as hip replacements and hernia repairs could be treated more cheaply and quickly if the Government set up formal agreements” with medical tourism destinations, the report says.


Currently, the publicly-funded health service provides healthcare to all residents free 0f charge, but there has been criticism surrounding the wait times for many elective procedures. The Independent article argues that these wait times could be reduced through medical tourism, while saving a significant amount of money.


“At least £120m could be saved,” says the article, “if NHS patients currently waiting for just five different operations went to India, with a companion, for treatment in an accredited hospital, according to health economists’ calculations.” India is one of many medical tourism destinations, many of which provide a quality of healthcare equal to or better than that in Britain, say experts.


Hundreds of thousands of people are already taking advantage of medical tourism on their own. Britons make up a large portion of medical tourists, as do uninsured Americans who cannot afford the high cost of many medical treatments in the United States. “The estimated number of medical tourists worldwide each year ranges from four million to 617 million,” says the Independent.


In the coming years, many expect that governments around the world will start to consider medical tourism as a solution to rising medical costs and wait lists. Developing countries such as India, Thailand, and Mexico, as well as highly-developed countries such as Singapore and Taiwan can provide many medical procedures for a fraction of the cost in Britain and the United States. As populations continue to age in western countries, many expect medical tourism to experience tremendous growth.



Report: Self-management, strength training can benefit sufferers of osteoarthritis


January 14th, 2010 by Formosa Medical Travel

Self-management programs and strength training regimens can help patients suffering from the early stages of osteoarthritis, says a new report titled Multidimensional Intervention for Early Osteoarthritis of the Knee.


The study, conducted at the University of Arizona Arthritis center over the course of 24 months, had 273 participants. The trial compared the effects of strength training regimens, self-management programs, and a combination of the two.


All participants were between the ages of 35 and 65, diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and had been sufferers of knee pain for less than five years. The first group of participants underwent a strength training regimen over the course of nine months, focusing on improving muscle strength, range of motion, flexibility, and balance. The second group concentrated on developing long-term exercise habits, with professional education and treatment advice. The third group participated in both strength training and self-management.


201 of the 273 participants completed the full two-year trial. There was little difference in the outcomes of the three groups, but all three showed marked improvement in many categories. Self-reported pain was decreased across the board, and physical function test scores improved for all three groups. The lack of a difference between the three groups suggests “similar benefits for all three over a two-year period,” said Patrick McKnight, lead author of the study.


These results suggest that sufferers of osteoarthritis should make an effort in the early stages of the disease to undergo strength training or some method of self-management program. By taking a proactive approach to the affliction, sufferers of osteoarthritis may be able to delay the need for total joint replacement surgery.



Running shoes could exacerbate osteoarthritis


January 10th, 2010 by Formosa Medical Travel

A study published in the December 2009 issue of PM&R: The journal of injury, function, and rehabilitation concluded that the use of modern running shoes could cause damage to knee, hip, and ankle joints. The study, conducted on 68 healthy adult runners, showed surprising results.


For the study, subjects were observed using a treadmill with a motion analysis system. None of the participants had any history of musculoskeletal injury, and each was in the habit of running 15 miles per week. Each participant was required to run both barefoot and wearing typical running shoes. The results showed that running with shoes may increase the stress on knee joints by up to 38%. “There is an increase in joint torque that may be detrimental,” said D. Casey Kerrigan, MD, the author of the study.


This may serve as a call for shoemakers to redesign their products, making them more safe for runners. The study pointed to the attributes of the shoes as the possible cause of the problem, including elevated heels and raised arches. The added material in running shoes may counteract the body’s natural response to running, in the end doing more harm than good.


The increased stress on knee joints may lead to osteoarthritis if continued over a long period of time, it is theorized. However, Bruce Williams, a spokesman for the American Podiatric Medical Association, doubts this claim. “It’s much ado about nothing,” said Williams, concluding “there was an increase in joint forces, but that’s it.” The study was not designed to show a link between running shoes and osteoarthritis.



Hip Replacement Cost


December 20th, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

Hip Replacement Cost Analysis


The United States has among the highest costs in the world for hip replacement surgery. An American with no health insurance can expect to pay upwards of $45,000 at a typical hospital. Those with insurance will, barring a few exceptions, be covered by their provider. However, out-of-pocket expenses can still be costly for those who have health insurance. Patients with Medicare are eligible for hip replacement surgery.


For American patients without health insurance, it is worth considering medical tourism – leaving the country for hip replacement surgery. Many countries in the world offer hip replacement procedures for costs dramatically lower than those in the United States. We have listed hip replacement cost estimates for various medical tourism destinations, as well as the United States, in the chart below. The cost of total hip replacement surgery will also vary from patient to patient, depending on factors such as age and medical history.

 

Hip Replacement Cost
Price Estimates

United States:$50,0800-$65,000
Singapore: $17,000-$23,000
Thailand: $15,500-$17,500
Taiwan: $8,000 – $13,000
India $8,000 – $12,200

 

 

 

 

Formosa Medical Travel works on behalf of patients seeking affordable knee and hip replacement surgery in Taiwan. As one of the world’s most developed countries, with a healthcare system ranked among the best, English-speaking doctors, no visa requirement, and some of the lowest surgical prices in the world, Taiwan has emerged as one of the most popular destinations for Americans seeking low-cost hip replacement surgery.


At Formosa Medical Travel, there is no charge for our services, and your procedure is fully insurable against complications through a US Insurer. Most of the hospitals in our network have been accredited by Joint Commission International (JCI). These world-class facilities provide outstanding care at rates far lower than those in the United States. We will book your surgery, transfer medical records, assist in finding your flight and hotel, and we’ll be there at the airport when you arrive, all at no cost to you.



Common misconceptions about total hip and total knee replacement surgery


November 23rd, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of knee and hip pain, afflicting an estimated 40 million Americans. Also known as degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis can cause the deterioration of both the knee and hip. As the US population continues to age, it is estimated that osteoarthritis will affect as many as one in five Americans by the year 2020.


Although osteoarthritis is not life-threatening, it does have significant effects on the quality of life of those who suffer from it. While non-surgical treatments such as anti-inflammatory drugs – i.e. Naproxen, Aleve, Proxen, etc., and joint fluid injections (such as Hyaluronan, Synvisc, and Synflex) can delay the need for surgery, the only long-term solution is total joint replacement surgery.


There are a number of misconceptions about total hip replacement and total knee replacement surgery. The most common is that total knee replacement and total hip replacement are highly-dangerous procedures. In reality, total knee replacement and total hip replacement surgery have the highest success rates of any elective surgeries performed today.


Currently, the vast majority of knee and hip replacement surgeries are performed in minimally-invasive fashion. This allows for minimal scarring and faster healing times, while maintaining the same success rate. While some believe that minimally-invasive procedures may result in different outcomes, the data show that these procedures are equal to their more-invasive counterparts – the only difference being the size and appearance of the incision.


Another misconception is the idea that joint replacements can only last as long as twenty years. This is not necessarily the case. The reason for this is, of course, that the data being used for this assumption is based on knee and hip replacements that were performed twenty years ago. Research is constantly being done to increase the performance of joint replacement devices, and a great deal of time has gone into developing improved models. New production methods and materials will likely increase the lifetime of hip and knee replacements in the future.



Medical Tourism in Taiwan


September 30th, 2009 by Formosa Medical Travel

At Formosa Medical Travel, we work on behalf of patients seeking affordable knee and hip replacement surgery abroad, connecting them with a network of world-class hospitals located in Taiwan. These facilities provide outstanding medical care while offering patients significant savings. We book patients’ surgery, transfer medical records, assist in finding flights and hotels, and provide concierge services to patients in Taiwan. There is no charge for our services.


With medical teams that speak fluent English and are trained and educated in the United States, American patients can have confidence that the quality of healthcare they will receive in Taiwan will meet or exceed that of the United States – at a fraction of the cost.


Formosa Medical Travel specializes in facilitating knee and hip replacement surgery, and nothing else. Since this is our only focus, we are able to provide our patients with a level of service for joint replacement surgery that is unparalleled in medical travel.


Unlike most medical travel facilitators, we do not offer a wide variety of procedures in a dozen different places. We operate in Taiwan, a modern, developed country, and we have close relationships with our network of hospitals and doctors.


Formosa Medical Travel works hard to ensure a comfortable and rewarding medical trip to Taiwan. We make traveling for medical care safe, easy, and affordable. After you get in touch with us via e-mail or phone, we will provide you with the information and guidance you need to choose a hospital and doctor. Then, we’ll assist you in requesting your surgery, transferring medical information, obtaining an evaluation from your medical team, booking an initial consultation, and scheduling your surgery. We will help you book your flight and hotel. When you arrive in Taiwan, we’ll be waiting for you at the airport. All necessary transportation will be arranged. We’ll take care of all the details – from your arrival to your departure.






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