Tag Archives: Health Information for International Travel

Chat with MedVoy

The MedVoy website now has chat functionality enabled. Patients can now chat in real time with an expert which allows patients’ questions to be answered immediately and to deliver high quality customer service.

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American Culture in Global Healthcare

American Culture in Global Healthcare

Global medical tourism exists because medicine transcends borders and doctors around the world genuinely care about patients. Apart from medicine, Americans have some unique commonalities that MedVoy’s providers and successful overseas healthcare providers already understand. As a reminder, here are some uniquely American cultural differences that are important to recognize:

English is our Only Language
Unlike other countries, Americans generally do not learn another language as part of their primary education. Since we only speak English, Americans are hesitant to speak other languages and tend to prefer to travel to countries where the language barrier is not an issue. While this trend is shifting, if you want to attract Americans, there needs to be an English speaking staff.

Privacy Please
It’s a fact – Americans like their personal space. This is noticeable in any restaurant where solo diners sit alone at a table for two rather than at a communal table with strangers. Our puritanical roots have also instilled a deep sense of modesty, especially when dealing with medical issues. The bottom line is understanding the need for personal space when considering your US guest. We prefer single hospital rooms and private waiting rooms, ideally with an international department allocated just for us.

Aesthetics Count
USA is a young country and as such there is a perception that new is better. It’s true that you cannot judge a book by its cover and that décor has nothing to do with medical outcomes. However, never underestimate your first impression. If Americans are heading overseas for medical care, we want to go to a modern facility – your photos and your facilities need to reflect this.

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MedVoy launches the Jumpstart Program

MedVoy now offers the Jumpstart Program to quickly and easily launch our partners into the realm of medical tourism. Combining the three most necessary components – MedVoy Showcase Center, MedVoy Lead Services, and MedVoy Portal Access Services – raises visibility, channels leads and facilitates communication.

This program is designed to help consumers find the best medical travel for their needs by having the information in one-stop location. Through experience, we know providing information and enabling communication helps to mitigate against uncertainty, aids with continuity of care and improves the overall customer experience. This program is open to all types of providers in global healthcare. .

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Connecting to your Doctor through your Terminal

In our recent blog, (What’s Hot), one of our emergent trends was telemedicine. Innovations have made the world flatter and have helped with continuity of care, which is absolutely essential in global healthcare. By providing global information and communication technology networks, patients can now get a preoperative consultation and postoperative tele-care wherever and whenever they need it. While not always appropriate, in several instances, like cosmetic surgery/plastic surgery or procedures that involve mostly postoperative wound care, telemedicine image and data devices can be utilized to monitor wounds and healing while maintaining contact with the patients – regardless of location.

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Medical Tourism Terms

For the average patient seeking care, there is a confusing array of terms describing who participates in the healthcare referral process. Here are some terms and what they mean.

Medical tourism: Seeking care away from home, either in the same country (like across several state borders in the US and sometimes called domestic) , outside the home country (leaving the US to go to Mexico) or to a home country (coming from the Caribbean to get care in Florida). Many industry participants are trying to get away from the term “medical tourism” since it tends to minimize the serious medical issues and risks associated with getting care away from your home location or region. Evolving terms are global or international healthcare referrals or sourcing, global care or transnational care referral. Also, how does traveling a few miles from your home, even if it means crossing a state border or a country border (Canada or Mexico) for care differ from domestic medical tourism? This lack of specificity contributes to the confusion about how many people actually seek care in different regions and that leads to inflated numbers of “medical tourists”

Facilitators: Facilitators are those individuals or companies that help patients identify providers and make travel or care arrangements for a fee. They do not actually provide care. Facilitators can be country specific, regional or global and sometimes promote themselves as exclusive (the only company that represents care providers in a given country to inbound potential patients) or non-exclusive (multiple people or companies that can source providers in a given country).

Transnational providers: These are, usually, large domestic providers with brand recognition, like the Cleveland Clinic , Johns Hopkins and Harvard, that have affiliation arrangements with hospitals outside of the US, for example, Panama,Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

BOTTOM LINE: If you decide to seek care away from home, do your homework and understand the role of the different members of the chain of care.

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Vetting your Doctor

The term medical tourism is a bit of a misnomer as it downplays the serious nature of choosing a doctor – whether in your home country or abroad. The questions below, while not exhaustive, give you some guidance on choosing your doctor wisely.

What are your academic credentials?

Look for specialized training in the chosen field, such as plastic surgery / cosmetic surgery, bariatrics, orthopedics, fertility training, prosthodontics, etc. Many doctors have international training in the US and Europe and may be American-board certified which helps to put US patients at ease. High-quality doctors collaborate internationally and regionally so also, think twice before underestimating a surgeon if they have graduated from a reputable medical school overseas. If you’re not sure – ask MedVoy!

Are you accredited?

International accreditation for providers include: Joint Commission International JCI, Trent Accreditation Scheme (TAS) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO), while the International Board of Medicine and Surgery (IBMS) certifies physicians. Furthermore, many countries also have stringent national standards that follow international guidelines. One example is Colombia, where hospitals follow international non-profit ICONTEC standards that are identical to ISQua standards. Hence, all accredited hospitals in Colombia are subsequently accredited by ISQua. Malaysia also has the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) that acts as an independent, not-for-profit organization to ensure safety and quality.

How many of these surgeries have you performed?

Experience is one of the most important elements towards a successful outcome. Whether the doctor performs the surgery every day or a few times a year is significant! Do they specialize in a certain area? A cosmetic surgeon such as MedVoy’s partner Denver Cosmetic Surgery that specializes in the aging face is going to give you a better outcome than a dilettante. Find out how many of these surgeries the doctors has performed. Also, make sure that the actual surgeon will be performing the surgery and not a subordinate.

What materials do you use?

There is a wide range in quality in the materials used – so ask! Are they from a reputable company like Johnson and Johnson or Boston Scientific? Do they provide a guaranty? MedVoy’s partner Travel and Smile in Peru will uses German-made noble metal crowns and that are the standard in the US and Germany and gives a lifetime guarantee on quality. Make sure that you know this before you are actually there.

This list does not cover all the questions which is why it’s important to work with a well-established medical tourism company.

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Center for Disease Control’s 2010 travel health guide includes medical tourism

The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) 2010 travel health guide has a much-expanded section on medical tourism — the practice of going abroad for your medical care. U.S. citizens going overseas for medical or dental procedures often cite lower costs as their primary motivator.

The CDC updates its Health Information for International Travel (also called the “Yellow Book”) every two years. The latest edition discusses the pros and cons of medical tourism, and explains why the practice is on the rise.

“In recent years, standards have been rising in other parts of the world even faster than prices have surged in the U.S. Many physicians abroad trained in the U.S. and the Joint Commission International (JCI) applies strict standards to accreditation of offshore facilities. Those facilities use the same implants, supplies, and drugs as their U.S. counterparts. However, a heart bypass in Thailand costs $11,000 compared to as much as $130,000 in the U.S. Spinal fusion surgery in India at $5,500 compares to over $60,000 in the U.S.”

The CDC guide quotes the American Medical Associations tip for planning a surgery abroad:

–Patients should check to see if the medical facilities abroad have been accredited by recognized international accrediting bodies such as the Joint Commission International or the International Society for Quality in Health Care.

– Prior to travel, arrange local follow-up care to ensure continuity of care when you return from medical care outside the US

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