We are happy to introduce a new column in this issue of the Medical Tourism Magazine about Sustainability. As we make great strides into new programs for international healthcare development we need to take a look at whether these programs will last.
What effects will they have in the public sector and what economic effects will result over the long term in developing nations? This month's feature is about ldquo Going Green rdquo Sometimes we get caught up in the marketing and the business models and we lose sight of what medical tourism is really about ~ The Patient.
So in this issue our feature is on just that. From Customer Service on the hospital side and on the facilitator side to the greater underlying issues of Trust as a whole medical tourism offers significant opportunities for us to step back and take a look at our service offerings to patients.
Only then are we ready to create marketable and successful programs.And after doing so how do we judge our successes?Gallup one of the oldest and most respected research organizations in the United States recently released a survey on medical tourism on May 18th called &ldquoAmericans Consider Crossing Borders for Medical Care.&rdquo
The Gallup Poll on medical tourism was performed April 16-20 2009 and surveyed 5050 Americans. The survey found that a large portion of Americans (29% ) would consider engaging in medical tourism and traveling internationally for medical care such as hip or knee replacement plastic surgery heart bypass surgery cancer diagnosis and treatment or alternative medical care.
The survey reinforces the fact that the United States is one the largest emerging opportunities for medical tourism and that Americans are more open to traveling for treatment internationally than any other patient.Interestingly enough the poll found that &ldquoregion&rdquo played an important role in the survey and that Americans from certain regions in the United States are more likely to travel than other regions.
The survey found that Americans in the Midwest are less likely to travel outside the country for medical care than other Americans unless the surgery was an orthopedic procedure like a hip or knee replacement.
As healthcare costs continue to rise in the United States healthcare becomes more unaffordable to many Americans and I am sure the number of Americans willing to travel internationally for healthcare will only continue.
Renee-Marie Stephano is a Founder and COO of the Medical Tourism Association also known as MTA the first international non-profit trade association for the medical tourism industry. Ms. Stephano also serves as general counsel for the MTA and is Editor of the Medical Tourism Magazine.
Ms. Stephano received her Juris Doctorate degree in Law in Pennsylvania. She has a background in international marketing and health law and then went on to open her own law firm spending six years serving as general counsel for a US national healthcare administrator which was the first US healthcare administrator to implement medical tourism into both self-funded and fully insured health plans in the United States.
Ms. Stephano works full time for the Medical Tourism Association and is considered an expert in medical tourism. In her role at the Medical Tourism Association Ms. Stephano helps countries and hospitals create strategic marketing plans and helps identify target markets. She has helped many countries and hospitals achieve their goals of attracting foreign patients and international insurance companies.
Ms. Stephano works with global health care providers to maintain transparency with respect to quality of care as they increase their flow of patients and she also works with medical travel facilitators to establish best practices to ultimately ensure patient safety.