As Medical travel continues to grow globally, Accreditation will be a key differentiating factor, as creating “Trust” between the consumer and provider is becoming a defining factor differentiating the most successful hospitals from those struggling to grow their programs. Trust will become an even more important factor as the media picks up stories of bad patient experiences in Mexico, Turkey and other destinations, where consumers have chosen the wrong facilitators, hospitals or doctors and have a bad or less desirable outcome then they expected.
Healthcare providers who are market leaders or wish to be, need to separate themselves from the mediocre and poor healthcare providers. Just saying that you are better isn’t enough.
Accreditation involves third-party evaluation of a medical tourism program’s capacity to provide safe medical travel offerings and a key requirement of medical travel accreditation is underlying quality accreditation as a pre-requisite. Accreditation is one of the most important indices for gauging medical tourism destinations against key indicators, including quality, patient safety, and patient experience.
The Global Healthcare Accreditation, one of the leading authorities in medical travel accreditation, offers robust accreditation programs as well as training and certifications to assist healthcare providers up their game in their medical travel programs, and to improve their business outcomes and the satisfaction rates of international patients. Increased satisfaction rates equates to more patient testimonials, more patient referrals and higher profitability.
Achieving a global standard in the medical travel industry creates a level of trust beyond that of a local accreditation.
A 2023 Medical Tourism Moonshot Survey by the Medical Tourism Association examined the key pain points affecting medical tourism destinations and industry stakeholders across the globe and by region. One area the survey focused on was Accreditation, Certification and training.
The Survey, which examined more than 220+ respondents who were mainly healthcare providers, medical tourism facilitators, and other industry stakeholders, revealed that Accreditation was among the top 5 solutions medical tourism programs needed to facilitate growth and boost their market potential. Nearly 38% of the respondents identified Accreditation & Certification as a strong strategy to drive growth in their programs.
By region, 72% of respondents in South America revealed that accreditation was the major solution to increase their market growth and nearly 40% of North American respondents identified accreditation as a strong factor to achieve growth in the industry. Further, 34% of respondents in Asia chose Accreditation as a core strategy to boost their growth, while 24% of respondents in the Middle East chose Accreditation as a primary strategy to leap forward in the industry.
Accreditation has become essential currencies in medical travel, as the landscape of international patient care continues to evolve. Patients now want to see an objective demonstration of a medical tourism program’s capacity to meet their needs and expectations and provide a robust patient experience through the entire care continuum.
These are some of the benefits of Accreditation to your medical tourism program:
Improved Quality of Care
Global Health Accreditation, for example, evaluates medical travel programs and healthcare providers against key healthcare quality metrics in line with global best practices. These metrics assess the quality of service along each step of the care continuum to ensure that healthcare providers deliver care according to global standards.
These metrics encompass all aspects of care for the international patient, including quality improvement and patient safety, infection prevention and control, physical environment, communication and education, and telehealth services where applicable. Programs that comply with the indicators across all GHA Standards therefore demonstrate their knowledge of and integration of global standards of care into their offerings for international patients.
Accreditation by the GHA requires revalidation every three years, ensuring that quality of care is maintained and built upon constantly, and that medical tourism destinations remain complaint and updated on evolving international best practices on healthcare delivery.
Since the pandemic lost its grip two years ago, health consumers have become more cautious in their health-seeking behaviors and more intentional about their health choices. This anxiety has trickled down to their choices of a healthcare provider, more so across their borders.
The issue of trust has become a crucial driver in the new normal of medical travel, as patients, health payers, and plan sponsors are searching for objective validation of a healthcare provider’s capacity to deliver safe and quality healthcare. Health consumers are now relying less on anecdotes and hearsay, and more on validation by leading accreditors to drive their medical travel decisions.
Accreditation as well as certifications strongly demonstrates to health payers and buyers that a program has met requisite standards set by global authorities in healthcare and has been considered capable of delivering in line with those standards.
Delivering care in line with global standards requires understanding the complex landscape of medical travel, and this involves staff training on not only the core of clinical care, but also on the nuances of patient experience, including cultural sensitivity and competency, communication and education, business ethics, and risk management.
These nuances are the levers of patient experience and could make or mar the patient care journey. Patients flying in from the Middle East into a medical travel destination in the US, Europe or Asia, for example, want to rest assured that their cultural differences and religious considerations are acknowledged by the host destination and have been integrated into their care delivery.
Global Healthcare Accreditation provides that seal that demonstrates that a medical travel program has the requisite knowledge and skillset to provide care across various cultural lines. The training that comes with attaining the accreditation upskills healthcare providers and their staff with the requirements to meet the expectations of the international patient.
The survey also demonstrated that training was a key requirement by healthcare providers and other medical tourism stakeholders, being the second top answer (47.5%) that respondents gave when asked about other solutions they would like to see from the Medical Tourism Moonshot.
Training was also one of the biggest growth factors needed in North America (26.7%), Asia (25.4%), and the Middle East (18.8%).
Accreditation expands your brand and ranks you higher in the medical tourism ecosystem. Health buyers, health payers, insurers, and other healthcare providers are naturally drawn to medical tourism programs that have this objective, external validation of their competence and capacity.
Further, patients find accredited programs and destinations more reliable and are more likely to choose these destinations for their healthcare. Accreditation helps a medical tourism program to address all the touchpoints of care, from patient safety, cultural competency, to effective follow-up and post-discharge care.
For patients and health payers, the accreditation seal answers all the burning questions a medical traveler would have before they book a flight to a destination far away from home for care.
Learn more about Global Healthcare Accreditation here.