Sunday, September 27, 2015

How Necessary Is Medical Tourism?

My opinion:  According to the case in the article, many people may seek out medical tourism because physicians in America cannot adequately treat certain patients.  While I have heard of this before, many people travel in order to save money on their medical bills, since care is less expensive in other countries.  Some companies exist just to provide medical tourist services to Americans.  Unfortunately, like in the article, patients may still end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Now, I wonder how possible it is to outsource healthcare to other countries.  Already, medical images are being sent to radiologists in India.  However, in this case, these physicians must have a license to practice medicine in the U.S., even though they are located in a different country.  I believe that, while many people may try to take advantage of medical tourism, most will not.  This is because they may not have access to air travel, have most of their conditions treated well by American doctors, and that doctors in other countries may not be able to take on foreign patients.  This is especially true in Canada, where doctors have tight schedules, since universal healthcare resulted in high demand for services.  Feel free share your thoughts on this topic.

From: http://www.valleynewslive.com/home/headlines/Medical-Tourism-Hits-Home-329712931.html

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Could Deportation of Illegal Immigrants Cause a Medical Crisis?

My opinion:  I think the sudden deportation of immigrants could cause a lot of unintended problems, and this article has a great perspective on the issue.  Deportation could lead to mental health issues, as it is associated with stress and depression.  But besides that, immigrants might refuse to visit doctors, for fear that they will report them to the government.  Should medical ethics dictate that a patient's immigration status is confidential information?  Usually, from an ethical standpoint, if the information could cause harm to the patient or others, it should be withheld.  Not only could this information result in a lack of access to care, but it could cause a large spread of infectious diseases if a large portion of this group is not treated.  At the same time, many feel that these people should not receive healthcare as they are not legal citizens, and they have not paid taxes to support our healthcare system.  Is there a way to fund these immigrants?  How should these immigrants be sought out if deportation efforts increased?  And lastly, what other problems would arise from mass deportation?  Please feel free to comment.


From: http://www.allgov.com/news/controversies/us-health-crisis-could-result-from-mass-deportation-of-undocumented-citizens-medical-group-warns-150909?news=857378

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Doctors May Overrate Their Foreign Language Skills

I'm sure some people reading this may think that doctors overrate their skills in general.   While possible, I think this also reflects that doctors, when listing their foreign languages, usually don't describe their proficiency in such languages.  Indeed, many doctors who attend medical schools in foreign countries like China list their only language as English!  I think doctors, whether in private practice or in hospitals, should list all of their languages along with their skill level, possibly with a description of their experience in that language.  This will better enable foreign patients to determine if that doctor is adequate for them.  Again, my new website, www.mylanguagedoc.com, allows patients to search for doctors by language.  Doctors may include a description of their practice in which they rate their foreign language skills.  Feel free to comment or ask any questions! 

From: http://www.cfah.org/hbns/2011/doctors-often-overrate-how-well-they-speak-a-second-language

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Doctors Often Don't Use Translators When Necessary

A very intriguing read indeed.  The article comments that doctors tend to use translators more for discussions that they interpret as important, like explaining a complex medical problem.  However, for more basic talks, like check-ups, translators may not be called in.  Sadly, research has shown that patients who don't speak English well are hospitalized for longer periods of time and are misdiagnosed at higher rates.  Many physicians feel that they don't have the time to use an interpreter, or hospitals don't have enough room in their budget to hire them.  I hope that, with my new website, www.mylanguagedoc.com, some of these issues can be alleviated.  The site aims to connect patients with doctors who speak a common language, which can help in areas that lack translators.  This would also save the doctor time, without having a third party interrupt the appointment.  Doctors can add their contact information to the site if they wish.  Any comments are appreciated.

From: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/health/23chen.html