Tag Archives: medical tourism company

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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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 Travel is Maturing but Patients are Still Confused

The medical travel industry is maturing.  Researchers have created centers to study it, like the Center for Medical Tourism Research at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas (http://www.uistx.edu ) and doctors have created organizations to professionalize it , like the International Board of Medicine and Surgery (http://www.ibms.us ). Conferences, seminars and trade associations are sprouting up all over the world and medical travel bloggers litter the medical tourism landscape.

Despite it’s growth, I think patients are still confused  about the multiple products and services that all seem to be the same. If you are considering offering medical travel benefits to your employees or are  considering leaving home for care, here are three questions you should ask  that might help you separate the wheat from the chaff.

Who do you get connected to?

The traditional referral model is your doctor, someone you trust,  refers you to another doctor for  specialty care or consultation. In most instances in medical tourism, however,  a facilitator or other intermediary  connects you  to a hospital or ground agent partner in another country who connects you to a doctor on the medical staff of the overseas hospital. All those steps can be confusing, add middle-man costs, and create opportunities for errors.

How do you establish some kind of relationship with the consultant before leaving home?

Since it is impractical for you to see your foreign consultant preoperatively face to face, take advantage of facilitators, like Medvoy, that can help connect you to your doctor using telemedicine communications technologies.

What’s the difference between one facilitator and the other?

As the market matures, industry players are creating ways to differentiate themselves and break from the rest of the pack. In general, facilitators compete on price, access, service, experience and their product. Just as Hermes sells quality, Wal-Mart competes on price and Nordstrom’s is know for service. Decide what’s most important to you and pick a facilitator that will deliver.

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New Year – New You

Happy New Year! The New Year symbolizes a time of renewal as we reflect on 2010 and the ways to improve in 2011.

Some of us will turn inward and will seek ways to set goals and fit more into our ever hectic schedules. Many will be trying to fight the holiday bulge and race off the gym holding steadfastly to our resolutions. The holiday retail numbers were strong, economic indicators are improving and even the typically droll economists are optimistic about 2011.

  • Will 2011 be the year that you take care of those lagging health problems? One in five Americans put off going to the doctor due to the economic climate, so demand for procedures such as knee arthroscopy or a hip replacement is likely to increase.
  • Will this be the year that you finally get over the fear of the dentist? Prothodontists can help restore your smile through implants, bridges and fixtures, while Cosmetic Dentistry deliver an entire “smile makeovers”- filling in gaps, veneers, whitening teeth, etc.
  • Or will this be the year that you will finally has that cosmetic surgery procedure done? Newer methodology for facelifts and eye lifts (Blepharoplasty) utilizing a laser can significantly lower downtime and get you back to work looking refreshed in no time.

The year has just begun – what do you want to with it?

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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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MedVoy in Colorado Biz Magazine

MedVoy, a global medical tourism company based in Denver, is one of the first three companies in the world to be certified by the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) as a Medical Tourism Facilitator.

Medical Tourism is a growing industry which recognizes that manpower shortages, the need to leverage care, different health care delivery models, an expanding global market and utilization of new information technologies are enabling a shift of power to the consumer without the need of a medical professional playing middleman.

Essentially, this means that people from around the world can request medical procedures be done in foreign locations. Medical Tourism Facilitators are the intermediaries that can make it happen. They are the ones that coordinate the medical care of patients traveling from one country to another. They provide health care consumers with the information/services they need to access affordable, high quality health care procedures internationally.

The MTA is an international non-profit association made up of the top international hospitals, health care providers, medical travel facilitators, insurance companies and others with the common goal of promoting the highest level of quality health care to patients in a global environment. Their certification process is based on standards for best practices for medical procedures.

The goal is to encourage international “transparency” in the services offered to patients, regardless of where they are from or where the services are offered. For example, a US citizen can expect to receive the same quality of care with the same positive outcomes whether undergoing a procedure in Geneva or in Singapore.

Raj Joseph and Dr. Arlen Meyers co-founded MedVoy when they met at the Bard Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado, where Dr Meyers was an advisor to Raj. Raj wrote and presented a business plan for a medical tourism model, which the university recognized as the best international business plan.

His concept was born out of a personal experience involving an emergency evacuation, three countries, a nurse and a doctor, he and his parents, and hundreds of thousands of dollars. All this, and sadly, his father did not survive.

The whole experience caused him to reflect on how he could do something towards helping other patients/families so they would not have to endure the same hardships he’d gone through. After a thorough and careful study of the marketplace, MedVoy was established to help patients shop for affordable, high quality, accredited health care worldwide.

MedVoy connects patients with healthcare providers through a user-friendly online platform and assists patients in making arrangements with hospitals and care facilities. According to Dr. Meyers, “Health care, like everything else, has gone global. Medvoy helps patients find quality, affordable care throughout the US and the world from providers they can trust.”

MedVoy is one of the first three organizations to receive MTA certification. This international recognition provided a construct from “which to put processes and procedures in place, but also an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment towards patient safety and positive outcomes” says Raj, CEO of MedVoy. According to him the benefits of the certification include:

• Reducing the potential for logistical errors and medical problems for patients
• Increasing the chances of long-term positive patient outcomes
• Ensuring that procedures are in place to specifically help patients with cultural, religious, or other requirements when traveling for medical care
• Providing patients with a specialized area of expertise.

MedVoy was founded on the principle of providing customers with a premier consumer driven health care experience by connecting them with a choice of domestic/international service providers (e.g. hospitals, doctors, dentists, and wellness practitioners).

Raj stated “ All of our customers return from medical treatments abroad with surprise – a pleasant surprise – on the quality of the facilities and the professionalism of all the medical staffs that go beyond anyone’s expectations.”

As in any new industry, growth opportunities abound. Other medical tourism trends to watch for include:
• global healthcare information exchanges
• redefinition of professionalism and ethics
• healthcare insurance products designed to empower patients
• changes in the global healthcare workforce
• growth of programs offering MBA’s in medical tourism
• electronic markets offering unused healthcare capacity

So, what kind of implications does that have for you and your organizations? Think more jobs in global health care, a changing model for physician-patient interaction and new challenges in the legal, socioeconomic, regulatory, reimbursement, and professionalism arenas.

Original article can be found at http://www.cobizmag.com/articles/health-care-really-goes-global-with-medical-tourism/

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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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Best Medical Tourism Company

How do I find a best medical tourism company? How do I know if the company I work with is a trust worthy medical tourism company? This is one of the common questions that goes in patient’s mind. Here are some of the questions that you can ask yourself to judge:

  • Did you get a valid timely response for the inquiry submitted?
  • Did the case manager help with all your questions and logistics without doing a sales pitch?
  • Did you make the decision by yourself without any bias from the medical tourism company?
  • Did you verify if the company is properly incorporated and have a good standing?
  • Did you verify if they have no complaints using Better Business Bureau?
  • Did any third party non profit or certification parties verify their internal process?

If all the answers to the above questions are a big “YES”, then yes – you have a winner! The above questions are just a subset of questions that you could ask to judge a medical tourism company. Please treat this as just a guideline.

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Mommy Makeovers at MedVoy

You may be wondering… what exactly is a “mommy makeover”?

Pregnancy takes a toll of a woman’s figure and a mommy makeover is designed to help restore the pre-baby body. Women gain an average of 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy and unfortunately, there are changes to the body, such as stretching of the stomach and fatty tissues stored in the hips and abdomen which is difficult, if not impossible, to lose through diet and exercise alone. A mommy makeover combines a variety of cosmetic surgery, such as tummy tuck, butt lift, breast lift/augmentation, liposuction, cellulite removal and other treatments. As every woman is different, these are customized to each woman’s needs.

Medical Tourism helps to provide high quality services at an affordable prices, keeping the savings  for more important things (like sending your little one off to college).  Contact us for a complimentary quote.

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Five things will need to happen before medical travel gets real

Despite the research reports, eco-devo white papers, industry analyses and industry marketing hype, medical travel/medical tourism is still an early stage industry looking for the right formula for success.

In my view, five things will need to happen before medical tourism and global healthcare referrals get real traction: 1) the creation of a sustainable business model, 2)global healthcare IT connectivity and integration, 3) a physician generated global healthcare referral network, 4) a global regulatory, legal and socioeconomic ecosystem, and 5) patient awareness and acceptance.

The creation of a sustainable business model
Industry players including payors, providers, partners and facilitators are still looking for the the most successful way to make a profit and scale the business. With an eye towards what happened when Expedia disrupted the travel agency business, participants understand that margins for travel arrangement services are thin and that there is high price elasticity for global medical care. Few have found the magic key that fits the lock that opens the doors to profits. Payors and employers are hesitant to accept the value proposition without a better way to reduce their risk and demonstrate tangible, meaningful cost savings to their insureds and employees.

Global healthcare IT connectivity and integration

The US national healthcare information architecture is evolving. Eventually, the network will be a portal to the world and will allow for seemless, secure, confidential transfer of personal health information thus assuring some continuity of care and quality improvement. Similarly, it will take a while for health information systems to evolve in host countries that can talk to non-host systems. Short term solutions, like personal health records or mobile health applications, might fill the void temporarily.

A physician generated global healthcare referral network

Most medical tourism models connect patients to healthcare facilities, bypassing doctors in the initial stages. Doctors will get in the game when the model feels better, and they have the resources and ability to make referrals to consultants directly, like they do now. Since MedVoy was founded by an American doctor, MedVoy connects patients directly to doctors which is unlike other facilitators. Given the rise of international members, professional medical societies should be more proactive in building global referral networks, rather than seeing them as threats to existing domestic members.

A global regulatory, legal and socioeconomic ecosystem

The barriers to adoption and penetration of medical travel are many and include liability, reimbursement, quality assurance and impediments to continuity of care. As healthcare goes global, so will the rules and regulations that facilitate or obstruct its use. How about a World Trade Organization Treaty on Medical Travel?

Patient awareness and acceptance

According to the most recent polls, 50% of consumers understand the meaning of the term “medical tourism”, leaving home for care. Social network buzz and media stories find the medical travel story sexy, particularly given all the noise about escalating healthcare costs and consumers, employers and payors are hungry for more information. Moving patients from awareness to intention to decision to action, however, will take more time and use innovative marketing approaches directed towards granular market segments.

Global medical travel is projected to be a $1B industry by 2012. While the bones are in place, it will take more time to add the flesh. Until then, to quote Karl Mauldin, people won’t leave home without it.

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