Tag Archives: medical tourism companies in USA

SURGICAL HOTELS: An Emerging Opportunity

With more and more patients seeking care away from home, there is an opportunity for the hotel and hospitality industry to offer customized services to patients recovering from surgery and treatments and their companions. Neither a hospital nor a hotel, a surgical hotel is a place designed to provide a level of care below that required in a hospital, but yet accommodates the healing needs of patients in a comfortable environment.

So, what does a surgical hotel offer?

How does a hotel providing services to a postoperative patients and their companions provide value and differentiate themselves?

A surgical hotel, part hospital-part hotel, would offer the following:

1. location convenient to healthcare facilities
2. transportation to facilities/airport/other
3. availability of emergency medical care
4. amenities
5. sensitivity to the needs of specific postop patients; connected rooms.
6. things to do for companions
7. information and communication technology links with providers
8. alternative/complementary services for postop patient
9. security
10. privacy/confidentiality in check in and exits
11. disability accommodations in architecture, transportation vehicles
12. medical concierge
13. accommodate in-room stay by nurse or companion
14. availability of equipment to take vital signs by medical professional
15. availability of wound management supplies
16. online medical education and postop care resources
17. nutrition counselor, special dietary restrictions
18. evacuation preferences
19. brand awareness and snob appeal
20. new design for bedding and furniture?
21. allergy free environment
22. medication reminder system (part of automatic wake-up call system?)
23. mini-kitchen facilities
24. real time patient feedback and request system
25. panic button
26. prevention of nosocomial (need a new word for hotel acquired) infections
27. modified housekeeping schedule
28. separate parking a minimal distance to room
29. wheelchair management
30. quiet
31. bathroom amenities (antibacterial soap, hand lotion, etc)
32. antibacterial surfaces on furniture
33. billing and collecting interface with medical insurance ?
34. disposable cell phones for companions
35. pet accommodations?

The global medical travel industry in rapidly growing and expected to reach $1B by 2012. Developers and the hospitality industry have an opportunity to participate and profit by offering differentiated, value added services to patients and their family members and companions that accompany them for care away from home.

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Medical Tourism Evolution

Medical tourism used to be tiny and only for the wealthy. Now it’s ‘Medical Travel’ and it’s growing, fast.

Leaving home for care is nothing new. People have been traveling around the world for treatment since the beginning of time. Now we call it medical tourism, and it is growing quickly.

Patients seek care away from home because it is cheaper, unavailable in their home location, can be accessed without waiting for a long time, can be combined with a travel experience and can be kept secret. Despite the talk of healthcare reform, patients and employers are paying more for care with no forseeable decreases and they are looking for safe, affordable alternatives to care in the US.

There are several serious barriers to adoption and penetration of the notion of leaving home for care. In fact, we’re not even sure what to call it these days. “Medical tourism” has morphed into global healthcare referral or medical travel, underlying the fact that we are talking about healthcare in a different place, not sipping Margueritas by the pool. The growth of the industry is being fueled by mostly medical outsiders who see the commercial potential of opportunities that have resulted from medical cost inflation, globalization and cheap information and communications technologies.

There are lots of opportunties for physicians in the medical travel industry. Substantial challenges to the traditional notions of face-to-face care, continuity of care, itinerant surgery and global healthcare information exchange are but a few of the issues that the medical provider establishment will have to confront as medical travel continues to grow around the world.

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Has Medical Tourism Gone Mainstream?

A new reality show entitled The Health and Wellness Travel Show takes men around the world to explore alternative treatments in a variety of exotic locations. The show will take a look at a variety of ancient and modern treatments from a variety of practitioners ranging from traditional doctors to shamans. This premise has been given the Hollywood spin and dramatized for television since medical tourism connects patients to accredited and highly-trained medical doctors. However, the fact that this show even exists makes the case that global healthcare has become mainstream and the concept of leaving home for a cure is becoming commonplace.

What do you think?

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Global Healthcare Is Not Just About The Cost

3 Million people spent $76B on care away from home in 2010.
A recent Frost and Sullivan research report on the medical travel business predicts that medical tourism will come a $100 B business by the end of 2012 and that hot spots to watch will be: the Middle East, Asia and Germany.
While most believe that cost is the main driver this is not true across the board. A McKinsey and Company 2008 report emphasizes that 40 per cent of medical travelers seek advanced technology, 32 per cent seek better healthcare, 15 per cent seek faster medical services and only 9 percent of travelers seek lower costs as their primary consideration. Click to view the full report.

As reimbursements for Medicaid and Medicare continue to decrease and increasing numbers of US doctors indicate they will cut back seeing patients insured by these government insurance plans, or stop seeing them altogether. This will fuel access, rather than cost, to the forefront of medical travel.
Inbound tourism is the flip side of the same coin – as US healthcare continues to get more expensive and more difficult to access, hospitals are looking for ways to fill the beds. Foreign patients are attractive market and also pay in cash.
As I””ve pointed out before, these market eruptions present entrepreneurs with big opportunities. Healthcare reform might change the rules, but I don””t think significantly, given the big picture patient demographic and manpower supply and demand challenges.
Global referral communications, coordination and care is a growth industry begging for talent and $100B is likely to get a lot of attention. It certainly got mine.

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medical tourism companies in usa

In a growing world of globalization, many and many medical tourism companies are emerging in Medical tourism industry outside U.S.A. It’s very important that one works with a medical tourism company based in U.S.A primarily due to some concerns listed below:

  • Hard to track and verify the credentials of the company. It could be just a pure website based company with no track or well maintained process/procedure in place.
  • Customer Reliablity programs such as Better Business Bureau doesnt track companies outside U.S.A and hence its very to understand the trustworthy of these organization.
  • Companies based outside U.S.A are NOT governed by and adhere to stringent U.S. privacy laws
  • Legal recourses outside in U.S.A might be limited to none.

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Three Things to Know about your Doctor

A recent Deloitte report on medical tourism predicted that outbound medical travel from the US could reach upwards of 1.6 million patients by 2012, with sustainable annual growth of 35 percent. If you are one of the many potential patients seeking high quality, affordable care outside of the US, you should know three things about your provider before boarding the plane: who they are, how and where they practice, and what are their results and outcomes.
The first question, who they are, probes the provider’s education, qualifications, experience and reputation. Most of this information is usually accessible on the doctor’s website and can be verified on accreditation organization websites or professional association resources. Check to see whether the practitioner is board certified by a reputable US or foreign specialty board and if they are a member of the national specialty society or association.

Secondly, ask how and where they practice. For example, plastic surgeons and dentists are likely to practice and operate in private clinics or ambulatory surgery facilities removed from a hospital setting. Some may even own the clinic and they should divulge that information to you. If something goes wrong during a procedure, make sure you understand how and where you would get emergency care, how you would be transported there, and who would pay for it. In addition, unlike more and more hospital facilities that are being accredited by the Joint Commission International, (click for a list of accredited hospitals) the organization responsible for making sure hospitals adhere to acceptable practices and procedures, independent, free-standing facilities frequently are not similarly examined or accredited.

Finally, and perhaps the most difficult information to find, is the outcome and results of a given procedure. Ask ” How many of these operations do you do in a week, a month or a year ?” Also, inquire about the number of cases that result in complications, the need for revision surgery or significant morbidity i.e. something that unexpectedly doesn’t work the way it should after surgery, or postoperative death. Most doctors, including those in the US, will be unable to give you an accurate answer because they don’t keep good records or have an unreliable system to keep track of results. Sometimes the best you can do is to talk to someone who has had a similar procedure.

Getting information about a doctor and his or her results in not easy, wherever they practice. The more information you know, however, the better you can determine whether surgery away from home makes sense.

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Healthcare Open Enrollment Period

It’s that time of year again… open enrollment for your health benefit plans. Most Americans are frustrated because their healthcare care bill is increasing… yet again… and this is exacerbated by the global recession and the confusion surrounding healthcare reform. Colorado is projected to see a healthcare increase of 14.4% in 2010 – slightly higher than other states due to the large number of small businesses in the state.

Large employers with 100 or more employees will often receive utilization and cost data and are in a much better position to manage their health care cost through aggressive plan management strategies and tactics. Small employers (and individuals) generally do not receive utilization and cost data plus often rely on the pooling of risk since they have a higher probability of costing the system more than the dollars they contribute through premium payments – since “everybody pays for a few”.

The misperception in healthcare is that cost and pricing for the same clinical procedure is relatively the same from provider to provider yet clinical costs vary significantly from zip code to zip code, state to state, and country to country.

Domestic and international medical tourism introduces transparency and helps to lower healthcare cost. There are scores of articles on lowering your out-of-pocket healthcare cost in 2011 that may help marginally.  However, MedVoy is in a position to help individuals, employers and employees save real money on healthcarecontact us for details.

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Testimonials in Global Healthcare

A few months ago, we blogged about finding a reputable medical tourism facilitator in How do I find the best medical tourism company?

Another important factor is… a patient testimonial. Does the medical tourism facilitator have reference from past customers who were delighted by both the service provided by the company AND the doctor?

If not, you may want to think twice….

Anne Marie from Virginia

Looking in the mirror I saw sagging cheeks and droopy eyelids and I knew it was time to do something to reverse the “old” look. I also knew I wanted to find a surgeon who was the best with no regard to where he or she was located.

After searching the world, I was lucky enough to find, with the help of MedVoy, Dr. Edmond Khoury. He specializes in only faces so I knew he was performing the kind of face procedures I needed daily, not monthly. My experience with Dr. Khoury was incredible. Minimum pain, little downtime, totally natural look and, best of all, no one knows I had anything done! Friends and family just know I look great. Thanks to MedVoy for helping me find this fine surgeon.


Anne M.

To read more, please visit: http://mycommunity.in/medvoy/testimonials.php

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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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Global Healthcare Speaking Engagement

Due to his expertise, experience and invaluable insight on medical tourism, Dr. Arlen Meyers, MedVoy’s Co-founder,  President, and Chief Medical Officer will be an invited speaker for the upcoming Medical Fusion Conference to be held in Las Vegas, NV, November 5th-8th 2010.

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