Tag Archives: ICONTEC

Colombia: Evolving from Regional to Global Medical Hub

Clinica Del Rosario - view of Medellin

Clinica Del Rosario - view of Medellin

Conventional wisdom dictates that more experience makes you a better doctor. If this axiom holds for medical tourism, Colombia is poised for a promising future. Colombia already serves as a regional medical hub for neighbors in the Caribbean, Central and South America. Intra-Latin American medical travel flourishes because regional health insurance plans (EPS) cover the cost of care in Colombia. For those living in less populated countries, such as Netherland Antilles, this provides superior medical care at a great value – a win-win for both the insurers and patients. With the prevalence of Multinational Corporations headquarters in Colombia, scores of expats receive medical care in Colombia, granting additional exposure to English-speaking Westerners.

Internationally-focused since inception, Colombian hospitals are accredited by international non-profit ICONTEC using International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) standards. ISQua subsequently accredits ICONTEC hospitals since standards are identical. The Medellin Healthcare Cluster sets additional guidelines focusing on quality of care outcomes. The global revolving door continues through international partnerships and training. Fundacion Cardioinfantil in Bogota partners with the Cleveland Clinic to train doctors and co-sponsors an annual cardiovascular clinic. Hospital Pablo Tobon Uribe in Medellin follows National Comprehensive Cancer Ontario Protocol (NCCN) guidelines and its Hematology specialists are Birmingham-trained.   At MediHelp in Cartagena de Indes, a US-trained doctor performs Deep Brain Stimulation Treatment for Parkinson’s disease and the clinic even performed gastric bypass for famed Argentinean soccer star Diego Armando Maradona.

Over the past decade, a dramatic transformation has taken place – spearheaded by popular President Uribe, elected in 2002 on a platform of restoring security to the country. Increasing political stability has grown the tourism sector with virtually limitless options – Bogota is a bustling big city with culture and gastronomical delights. Medellin, a mountain retreat rejuvenates your health with its temperate year-round climate. Cartagena de Indes, a breathtaking colonial enclave on the Caribbean transports you back in time and conjures up images of swashbuckling pirates fighting on the walls of fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The tourism board’s new promotional statement is “the only risk is wanting to stay” and believe me, you just may…

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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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