Low prices pull in medical tourists

  • 2011-02-03
  • By Ella Karapetyan

CUT AND PASTE: Cosmetic surgery is one of the procedures local clinics offer to foreign cost-conscious patients.

TALLINN - The steward of the health system in Estonia is the Ministry of Social Affairs. The organizational structure in the health system is quite advanced and comprises numerous players, including various agencies under the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health Care Board (HCB), National Institute for Health Development (NIHD), Health Protection Inspectorate (HPI)); public independent bodies (the EHIF); mainly publicly owned hospitals under private regulation and private primary care units; and various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and professional associations.

Some Estonian experts claim that the quality of medical care in Estonia is excellent. Private hospitals generally offer a higher standard of service than public hospitals, and most of the best doctors practice in private medical facilities.
 They state that prices for surgery in Estonia can be 60 to 70 percent lower than for corresponding treatment in another European country. According to some Estonian surgeons, the recession means that some people are postponing cosmetic surgery, because having it performed locally can prove to be expensive. An alternative is to look towards other countries.
According to Plastic Surgery Estonia, lots of people are looking at Estonia when they decide to arrange their cosmetic surgery abroad. One of the reasons are the affordable prices here, as well as talented and experienced surgeons.

The management of Plastic Surgery Estonia says that they offer the lowest prices in the EU. “Estonia is becoming an increasingly popular destination for people who want to get beauty surgery, or tummy tuck surgery abroad because Estonia as a developed country has a number of well-educated doctors who take their job seriously. Estonians take pride in their work. Most Estonian doctors have completed their higher studies abroad. You will get friendly treatment at Estonian clinics in a clean and hygienic clinic environment,” says one of the surgeons from Plastic Surgery Estonia.

The cosmetic surgery arranged by Plastic Surgery Estonia takes place at the Villa Medica Clinic, a private clinic in Parnu, Estonia. “Our main field of activity is offering surgical services - orthopedic surgery, general surgery, plastic surgery. Furthermore, we offer conservative professional help for many medical problems; the chosen fields support each other synergic ally. Our aim is to improve people’s health every way we can,” says the manager of the clinic.
According to PresiDent, a private dental clinic in Tallinn, the clinic provides modern treatment techniques and equipment adhering to EU standards. The clinic has many foreign patients, which is why the staff has to know many languages, along with providing the best service for overseas patients.

PresiDent managers say that they have discount treatment for children, students, pensioners and people with disabilities as part of payment plans. Dental services provided at the clinic include detailed diagnosis using panoramic X rays, professional teeth cleaning, scaling and fissure sealing, fillings, root canal treatments, simple and complex extractions, surgically placing dental implants and restorative dentistry using crowns and bridges.

Some private dental clinics in Estonia say that the most popular treatments among patients during this crisis are dental implants, teeth whitening as well as dental crowns and bridges.
The Kaarli Dentistry Outpatient Clinic in Tallinn notes that “The clinic is a one stop shop for all dental procedures, and are performed at a reasonable cost.” Though the clinic expects local clients, they receive many foreign patients.
In today’s global health services industry, no matter where the clinic is, demanding foreign clients expect the best in technology.

The KSA Eye Center is considered to be among the top European providers of laser procedures among the Baltic countries. Dr. Haavel and his team of experts specialize in treating nearsightedness and offer LASIK and EPI-K laser vision correction surgeries. According to Dr. Haavel, KSA Eye Center is equipped with the most advanced diagnostic and surgical technologies, which help to provide maximum patient safety and comfort.

Haavel says that due to its top-of-the-line technology, the clinic achieves the best results. “LASIK vision correction surgery is an outpatient procedure that generally takes less than 30 minutes, with most patients experiencing improved vision shortly following the procedure. My colleagues and I at the Center perform about 150 LASIK vision correction surgeries each month.”
According to Ants Haavel, from the same clinic, who is a board-certified ophthalmologist and skilled surgeon, it is possible to restore the vision of each patient by utilizing the latest technology available in LASIK vision correction procedures. “As chief of the Estonian Eye Foundation, Dr. Haavel has performed more than 15,000 refractive surgeries and has earned a reputation for excellence due to his surgical skill and outstanding results. He is committed to continuing education and, therefore, regularly attends vision correction courses, which helps him keep up-to-date with the latest developments in his field,” she says.”
This top-of-the-line technology allows Dr. Haavel to delicately sculpt the eye’s cornea and improve focus, she adds.

The staff at the Hospital of Orthopaedics, a privately owned hospital for elective orthopaedic and joint replacement surgery and founded by leading specialists in Estonia, provides the best elective and outpatient treatment in Europe, they say. As the largest private orthopaedic and joint replacement clinic in Estonia, it has been at the forefront of the drive to improve clinical and service standards across the sector.

The hospital provides a full range of orthopaedic services including major joint replacement, spinal surgery, reconstructive surgery and treatment of sports injuries. The hospital says that in a competitive market, the hospital has been successful in treating a number of prestigious athletes, including several Olympic champions.
The doctors at the hospital say that extensive experience, a focus on quality and a personal approach are the key elements for patients choosing this hospital over other providers. “The hospital makes use of modern operating rooms, which are equipped with the latest technology for inpatient or ambulatory surgery. Patients’ rooms have been thoughtfully designed to have a cheerful and pleasing setting for patient care. Patients can enjoy high quality treatment and care for the price of a modest holiday trip,” they say.

Each patient room is equipped with a functional bed, a small cabinet for personal belongings, a wardrobe, a chair, a wall-mounted television set and extra lighting over the bed.
Private hospitals find that they need to work in close partnership with local health care communities and ensure the development of integrated approaches to offer seamless service. Strong clinical networks, continual training and education of healthcare professionals and good marketing keep the patients, both local and foreign, coming in through the hospital doors.