The Top 5 Hospitals in Ecuador
It is no small wonder that Ecuador was recently named the second most retirement-friendly country on the planet.
With top of the line medical facilities, low procedure costs (only 7-10% of the cost of similar procedures in the U.S. and Europe according to Ecuador’s Investment Corporation), and a Ministry of Public Health avidly focused on continually improving the quality of public and private medical care within its borders: Ecuador has become one of the most well-praised medical tourism destinations for retirees and visitors alike.
But before you book your medical visit abroad, start buying property, or get your Ecuador visa, it’s a good idea to take a deeper glimpse at the medical system you’re about to jump into, and what your expat or visitor status means in a country with a well-rounded national health system, a myriad of admired private and specialist hospitals, and a widespread network of local rural clinics.
If you suspect you’ll be needing high-tech treatment frequently you might want to stay close to these centers. The rural clinics, though well-lauded for their well-trained staff and the pleasantness of the visit, often have less equipment and fewer staff fluent in English.
But that doesn’t mean the urban centers will be any less personal than a local clinic—Ecuador’s hospitals are known as bastions of personalized and amiable care at more than reasonable costs.
In fact, on an international scale, the Ecuador health system was ranked in the top 20 of efficient healthcare systems by the most recent Bloomberg analysis of World Health Organization (WHO) information—a rapid rise up, given that in 2011 Ecuador only ranked 111th on similar scales.
Here’s a quick guide to some of the most well-noted hospitals in Ecuador to expand on the basic information the U.S. Embassy doles out regarding your expat and tourist healthcare choices in Ecuador.
Hospital Alcivar, Guayaquil, Ecuador
Up first is the Hospital Alcivar. The most well-respected and oldest continual hospital in Ecuador, it was founded in 1937 and has continued operating since its inception.
Located in Ecuador’s largest city, Guayaquil, the once small clinic morphed over the past century from being a small specialized orthopedics service to one of the largest and most modern facilities in the country, focusing on a wide array of medical treatments.
Though the hospital has expanded significantly, its orthopedic services remain as one of the best regarded in all of South America.
With the most developed post-graduate medical training program in Ecuador, the hospital Alcivar is also the home of Ecuador’s internationally respected premiere medical journal Actas Médicas, which was founded by its former director Dr. Eduardo Alcívar Andretta.
It has 140 prestigious doctors, a staff of 700+, its own theme song (the aptly named Hymn to Hospital Alcivar), and handles everything from trauma to rehabilitative services, including Neurosurgery, Cardiology, Pediatrics, and Obstetrics. Hospital Alcivar is located close to the commercial center of the city and is within ten minutes of the city’s airports.
Hospital Metropolitano de Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador
Hospital Metropolitano is the most famous hospital in Ecuador. Located in the capital city of Quito, it was founded in 1985 with support from American Medical International (AMI). It is arguably the most technologically and procedurally progressive hospital in the country.
In addition to its bevy of cutting-edge equipment for medical visualization, intensive procedures, and patient monitoring, it is well-known for performing the most difficult types of surgeries (open heart, spine, brain surgery, etc.) and frequently collaborates with well-recognized American medical institutions like the Mayo Clinic and Mount Sinai Hospital.
Hospital Metropolitano is a teaching hospital which trains a huge majority of the doctors of Ecuador as well as international students. It has one of the largest and most well-run emergency rooms in the city.
And in conjunction with the Metrofraternidad Foundation, Hospital Metropolitano is noted for its social work and has special programs which provide its already reasonably priced services as no-cost medical care for the city’s poor.
Grupo Hospitalario Kennedy Hospital/Clinica Kennedy, Guayaquil, Ecuador
Back in Guayaquil, you also have the choice of visiting the smaller Clinica Kennedy, one of the Grupo Hospitalario Kennedy’s many hospitals.
Founded in 1978, Clinica Kennedy is a university hospital with a special emphasis on medical visualization technologies and integrated digital medical record services, in addition to programs devoted to in-vitro fertilization, stem cell research, and molecular biology.
With a staff of over 250 staff medical specialists and only 125 hospital beds, the care offered in its emergency and trauma units, clinical laboratory, diagnostic center, intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care, and cardiopulmonary unit is personal and devoted.
Hospital de Niños Dr. Roberto Gilbert Elizalde, Guayaquil, Ecuador
The fourth highest ranked on our list is Ecuador’s premiere children’s hospital: the Hospital de Niños Roberto Gilbert Elizalde. Also a teaching hospital, it focuses in-depth on all aspects of pediatrics.
It provides medical care at several levels and possesses both regular facilities and specialized private facilities for the children of wealthier clients. The hospital uses the cost of their fancier areas to offset the cost of the cheaper but still nice general facilities.
With historic claims back to a nineteenth century clinic at a different site, the Hospital de Niños Roberto Gilbert Elizalde is arguably the oldest hospital on our list. However its current building was finished in 1999 and opened in 2000 to much acclaim.
Hospital Eugenio Espejo, Quito, Ecuador
With the best google reviews (all of our entries have over 4 stars, but at 4.5 this hospital has the populist vote), the fifth entry on our list is back in the capital of Quito.
Built in 1912 at the behest of the national government, Hospital Eugenio Espejo is the premiere national hospital of Ecuador and is the epicenter for the Ecuadorian national health policy and medical education. It features the most comprehensive array of general medical practices, including:
- Transplant services
- Service of infectious diseases
- Orthotic and prosthetic workshops
- A service unit of comprehensive care for the elderly
- Imaging services
- Clinical neurology
- Internal medicine
- Physical medicine and rehabilitation
- Clinical laboratory and pathology
- Hematology services
- Emergency services
- Epidemiology services
- Coloproctology services
Don’t Worry, Ecuador Has Quality Dental Care Too
Unlike the other entries on the list, Hospital Eugenio Espejo should be especially noted for offering dental services.
Contrary to conceptions of concern regarding dental service outside the United States, Ecuador is particularly well noted for its excellent dental services. Featuring highly trained dentists and dental hygienists, dental clinics in Ecuador are well reviewed for utilizing the most cutting edge dental technologies and their exceptional performance of procedures at a fraction of the cost of similar work in the United States.
There Are Many Hospitals to Choose from, Even If They Didn’t Make Our List
Also in Quito is the missionary general Hospital Voz Andes. A cozy 104-bed hospital, it was founded in 1955 by the Catholic Ecuadorian-founded enterprise HCJB Global Hands.
With a well-equipped twenty-four hour emergency room, it handles trauma cases, but it is particularly noted for the rehabilitative care of its physical, occupation, and speech therapy programs and its mental health counseling services.
Though none of Ecuador’s third largest city, Cuenca, made the top five list, there are several well deserved honorable mentions. And as medical tourism rises in the region, it is very likely that these already fine establishments will only continue to accrue further and further medical accolades and reviews.
Hospital Universitario del Rio
This hospital is Cuenca’s newest and fanciest hospital. Opened in 2009, it is a mixture of state-of-the-art technology, spacious rooms, and customer service. Located on the edge of Cuenca, it too, is a teaching hospital whose academic profile is rapidly climbing the ranks of the international medical community.
It features a clinical laboratory, microbiology laboratory, retail pharmacy, as well as units devoted to gastroenterology, adult intensive care, surgery, neonatal intensive care, and pediatric intensive care, among others.
Hospital Santa Inés
In the center of Cuenca is the Hospital Santa Inés (or St. Agnes). The Hospital of Santa Inés is a smaller hospital than the Hospital Universitario del Rio, but as it is located proximally to the University of Cuenca and the parts of town where the majority of expats live—it is much closer and easier to get to its emergency room.
Though smaller, Hospital Santa Inés still features seven floors filled with state-of-the-art medical equipment, well-trained staff, and a well-organized ambulance service.
Hospital Mt. Sinai
The oldest Cuenca hospital, the Hospital Mt. Sinai falls between its two sister medical facilities in the city—like the Hosptal Universitario del Rio it is large. In fact, it is based in several buildings, including several modern ones. But its emergency service department is smaller than that at Hospital Santa Inés.
Medical Tourism in Ecuador
In addition to Ecuador’s well reputed and affordable hospital services, the reasonably priced retirement facilities, rehabilitative training programs, and homeopathic medical communities contribute to Ecuador’s status as a medical tourism destination.
The Ecuadorian government seems committed to providing national healthcare at international standards to citizens and visitors alike, going so far as to recently raise its government health budget and to favorably handle recent debts incurred by private hospitals in the nation.
And with such an emphasis, it seems likely that Ecuador’s health system will only thrive further, extending its top-notch urban care out further into the countryside.
Before you settle down in Ecuador, research your current and speculative health needs thoroughly and make sure you are near to the kind of medical service you might require.
Editor’s Note: The rankings are determined by the Cybermetrics lab of the National Research Council in Spain (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) which is devoted to identifying the best international digital presences of world hospitals and augmented by expat opinions and reviews.
If you are in Ecuador, reading this, and currently experiencing a medical emergency, you can call an ambulance at 911, the Red Cross at 131, the local police at 101, and if in Quito, the Quito Fire Department at 102.